Harper wants more competition for places on WI team

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By Akeem Greene

Eyebrows were raised when Rovman Powell and Oshane Thomas retained their spots in the West Indies T20 squad following their lacklustre performances at this year’s Caribbean Premier League.

However, Cricket West Indies’ Chief Selector, Roger Harper, indicated they have not been exceptional performances by competitors to displace the Jamaica Tallawahs duo.

Powell averaged 11.77 and had a strike rate of 86.88 for the 106 runs he made in 11 matches. He also produced one of the most expensive spells during the season with 0-48 from four overs.

The express Thomas was erratic and just played three matches where he leaked 78 runs in seven overs and got one wicket.

A look at the batting charts would see most of the top-performing batmen earned a spot on the squad, but their numbers are from being first-choice picks.

Apart from Roston Chase, who made 226 runs at an average just under 38 and took nine wickets, there was hardly any new all-rounder who stood out.

The top three wicket-takers were overseas players and the best West Indian was Kesrick Williams (13 wickets), who is in the squad, and the next best by a West Indian pacer was Rayad Emrit (11 wickets).

“Persons competing for those places did not do much better and what we looked was that those guys were in the squad from the previous tour. So I think the guys who are pushing for a space would definitely have to outperform them and I am afraid that during this CPL as well you didn’t have any terrific persons and I think the batting left a bit to be desired in some cases,” the Chief Selector explained.

“So guys competing for spaces didn’t outperform them when they were in the squad so we have given them another opportunity to showcase their skill,” he added.

In one innings on the Sri Lanka tour, Powell made a run-a-ball 17 and produced a spell of 2-31, which aided Man-of-the-Match Thomas, who took 5-28.

Thomas ended the series with six wickets and a decent economy rate of 7.42 in the 2-0 series triumph for West Indies.

Given that was West Indies last international T20 series prior to the tour to New Zealand, Harper said such performances is what has kept them in the squad.

“Current form counts for a lot but at the same time if I am going to leave my right hand out, my left hand has to be doing a lot better to clearly say you are more deserving, and that certainly was not the case.”

“In Sri Lanka, Oshane Thomas performed extremely well in the T20 games he played while Powell did not get much of an opportunity with the bat in Sri Lanka, but I think he bowled a crucial spell which helped us to win a game. They deserve another opportunity considering they weren’t great performances challenging for those places in the CPL.”

New Zealand will host the West Indies for three T20s from November 27 -30.

T20I Squad: Kieron Pollard (captain), Fabian Allen, Dwayne Bravo, Sheldon Cottrell, Andre Fletcher, Shimron Hetmyer, Brandon King, Kyle Mayers, Rovman Powell, Keemo Paul, Nicholas Pooran, Oshane Thomas, Hayden Walsh Jr and Kesrick Williams.

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