Harper cites fitness, lack of matches for Hetmyer’s contract snub

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By Akeem Greene

Cricket West Indies (CWI) Chairman of Selectors, Roger Harper, has indicated that fitness issues and a lack of matches at the international level were factors that led to the non-renewal of Shimron Hetmyer’s central retainer contract.

CWI announced on Wednesday 18 men retainer contracts, and one of the notable omissions was that of the promising Guyanese batsman.

According to CWI, the evaluation period for the 2021-22 contracts covered performances and statistics from April 1, 2020 to April 1, 2021 (this was also supported by statistics from the previous 2019-2020 evaluation period).

During the main elevation period, Hetmyer only played two Twenty20 Internationals and had scores of 0 and 25. He played no One-Day Internationals or Tests during that period.

From April 1, 2019 to April 1, 2020, he had 18 ODI innings, scoring 531 runs at an average of 31.23. He managed two fifties and a best of 139 against India in Chennai.

In T20I, he made 241 runs from 12 innings at an average of 26.77 and an average strike (over 12 innings) of 107.29, while in Tests, he had scores of 35, 1, 34, 1 and 13.

According to Harper, a batsman would need to average a minimum of 30 in Tests or ODIs or have a Batsman Average and Strike Rate combined (BASR) of 150, and play at least 50% of the matches during the evaluation period.

Shimron Hetmyer of West Indies hits a six during the second ODI between West Indies and England at Kensington Oval, Bridgetown, Barbados, on February 22, 2019. (Photo by Randy Brooks/AFP)

Hetmyer opted out of two tours (England and Bangladesh), was not selected for the Sri Lanka home series due to fitness, and was injured during the T20 leg of the New Zealand tour.

CWI had stated the decision of players to opt out of tours due to COVID-19 concerns, will not be held against them.

“In Hetmyer’s case, Hetmyer had the opportunity to play the required number of games, but his fitness issues did not allow him,” Harper said in response to a question posed by the News Room Sport.

Within a year (2020-2021), the 24-year-old Hetmyer had failed two CWI fitness.

Harper clarified that the primary evaluation is based on the immediate year, prior to the rewarding of contracts and if the players’ stats do not meet the criteria, they then look at it over a two-year period “in an attempt to assist the player.”

“We have to appreciate as well that these are performance-based contracts during the evaluation period as well as the selection panel must feel that the players will play a major role or form the nucleus of the various teams going forward,” the lead selector expressed.

“The players who were not awarded contracts, their performances over the period did not meet the necessary criteria and you had new players who came to the fore and performed well, so they were offered contracts.”

CWI had revealed that all players who are no longer on International retainer contracts are offered an A* grade Regional Franchise Contract for the following year.

Harper added that for West Indies to become a more competitive force, players must earn their “stripes”.

“Going forward, if we want to see our team progress, if we want to compete with the best in the world, we have to be more conscious of the fact that we have to earn our stripes and we have to perform consistently, and I think our retainer contracts are given on that basis.”

More focused

While Hetmyer has not been awarded a contract, he would still be up for selection, and Harper said they would hope to see a more focused player.

“I still think that Shimron has the ability to be a world-class player in every sense going forward, but I still think that needs a particular kind of focus and that’s what we want to see from Shimron…and try to maximise the skill he has been blessed with as well as he could.”

Leg-spinner Hayden Walsh Jr.

Special circumstances

The lead selector was questioned on leg-spinner Hayden Walsh Jr. being awarded a contract and he explained that it was granted on a special basis.

“We have treated Hayden as a special case. One of the things that the selection panel and coaches have spoken about, is the need and desire to have a potent leg-spinner in each of our teams. Hayden is the only leg-spinner within the white-ball set up and he suffered on the tour to Bangladesh due to him becoming ill [with COVID-19], he was not able to play.”

Since making his debut for West Indies in November 2019, Walsh Jr. last played in ODI on March 1, 2020, in Sri Lanka, while his last T20I was November 2020 in New Zealand.

He was dropped for the recent home series against Sri Lanka after a below-par Super50, but was still with the squad and took the field as a substitute.

“Even though he has been out of the team, he has been training, we have seen him put in the work, we have seen some improvements and we still think that leg-spin has a real significant role to play in our teams.”

“So, we look at Hayden because he is a special case, because he is a leg-spinner, because they don’t seem to be any others around so to speak and we want to work with him so he can be at his best so he can be a force for the team.”

West Indies next focus will be a home tour against South Africa, which is expected to start in early June.

Contracts 

WEST INDIES MEN INTERNATIONAL RETAINER CONTRACTS 2021-2022

All-Format Contracts: Jason Holder.

Red Ball Contracts: Kraigg Brathwaite, Jermaine Blackwood, Nkrumah Bonner*, Rahkeem Cornwall, Joshua Da Silva*, Shannon Gabriel, Kyle Mayers* and Kemar Roach.

White Ball Contracts: Kieron Pollard, Fabien Allen, Darren Bravo, Shai Hope, Akeal Hosein*, Evin Lewis, Alzarri Joseph, Nicholas Pooran and Hayden Walsh Jr. (*Players offered contracts for the first time in 2021-2022)

Players who are no longer receiving international retainer contracts are:

All Format Contracts: Roston Chase.

Red Ball Contracts: Shamarh Brooks and Shane Dowrich.

White Ball Contracts: Sunil Ambris, Sheldon Cottrell, Shimron Hetmyer, Brandon King, Keemo Paul, Rovman Powell, Romario Shepherd and Oshane Thomas.

All players who are no longer on International retainer contracts are offered an A* grade Regional Franchise Contract for the following year.

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