West Indies leadership pool affected by cramped schedule, says Chief Selector
By Akeem Greene
Convenor of selectors, Roger Harper, has indicated the packed international schedule, which often clashes with Regional cricket, is affecting how they can nurture future leaders for West Indies cricket.
At the moment, Kieron Pollard is the limited-overs (50-over and T20) captain and Jason Holder the Test captain for West Indies, but at this point there is no clear idea who are their possible successors.
Pollard, who was overlooked for World Cup selection, took over the captaincy from Holder after the team’s dismal showing at the global event in England last year.
There are two upcoming World T20s (over the next two years) and the next 50-over World Cup is until 2023 in India, by which time Pollard would be 36.
Who will take up his role after then is the burning question.
Shai Hope (ODI) and Nicholas Pooran (T20I) have deputised in the limited-overs versions, while Kraigg Brathwaite is the Test deputy.
With the exception of Brathwaite, who captains Barbados Pride on a regular basis, the other two lack captaincy exposure at a domestic level.
“It is something we are still looking at,” Harper told News Room Sport on Friday.
“One of the challenges from my observation, and this is a personal view, a number of our players in the West Indies team do not have much of an opportunity to captain their territorial team because they are on tour with West Indies when regional tournaments are going on.”
He added, “Kraigg Brathwaite has had that opportunity [to captain Barbados Pride], John Campbell has captained Jamaica [Scorpions], but a number of other players have not had that opportunity and that is something which is a bit of a concern because players need exposure to captaincy and get some experience doing the job, but it is something we are thinking about and we are certainly looking at.”
Many have called for Shimron Hetmyer to be groomed for the senior West Indies captaincy, given his winning exploits at the 2016 Youth World Cup.
However, as Holder admitted earlier this year, he himself hardly finds time to play for the home franchise, Barbados Pride.
Hetmyer has only appeared in 18 Four-Day matches out of a possible 60 for Guyana Jaguars since the Professional Cricket League started in 2014. His most in any season was eight matches during the 2016-17 season, the same year he made his Test debut against Pakistan.
Since Cricket West Indies lacks the bargaining power like the big three- India, England and Australia- to lobby for better series scheduling, their international players’ presence will be limited in regional tournaments.
According to Harper, it means they have to find different ways of exposing players to leadership opportunities for a solid succession plan.
“If they are not getting it at the territorial level, then when [other] opportunities arise, but you see these days you don’t even have much tour matches, but certainly, there will be President’s XI games and other opportunities. We have to create opportunities so we can see players in that role.”
Harper has stated that the 28-year-old Holder will continue to lead the Test side ahead of the tour to New Zealand despite the recent struggles of the Caribbean side.
West Indies have won just seven of their last 20 Tests and currently languish eighth in the ICC Test rankings, only above Bangladesh and Zimbabwe.