Fitness issues keep Hemraj, Rutherford out of West Indies contention

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By Akeem Greene

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Fitness issues continue to be the challenge for Guyanese pair Chandrapaul Hemraj and Sherfane Rutherford, preventing their return to the West Indies fold, despite creditable performances at this year’s Caribbean Premier League (CPL).

Jamaican opener Kennar Lewis, who excelled at this year’s CPL, was also not considered due to fitness issues.

Currently, achieving 40 on the Yo-Yo Test is the minimum fitness standard required by Cricket West Indies (CWI). Yo-Yo test is a maximal aerobic endurance fitness test, involving running between markers placed 20 meters apart, at increasing speeds, until exhaustion.

On Friday, CWI announced the white-ball squads for the tour of Pakistan in December, and eyebrows were raised over some omissions and inclusions.

A notable surprise recall was that of Brandon King, who after a prolific 2019 CPL, has since endured a lean run.

In May 2020, Lead Selector, Roger Harper, explained to News Room Sport, the panel is keen on looking at players’ current form when selecting squads.

“The current selection panel sees current performance as critical to selection as it is important to select players when they are in-form. However, the panel is also informed by the track record of the player,” Harped explained.

King, who averages 15.30 after 11 T20 internationals, has scored 305 runs at an average of 15.25 over the last two CPL seasons and has a strike rate of 110.91 and a best of 77.

Hemraj, his Guyana Amazon Warriors opening partner, has 394 runs at an average of 21.45 and a strike rate of 116.84 to go along with a best of a 105*, made at this year’s CPL.

Harper in a response to a question from News Room Sport, revealed Hemraj was a consideration for selection, but he did not meet the required fitness standards.

“Yes, Chandrapaul Hemraj did attract our attention, but of course our fitness policy is still in place, and based on that he was not eligible”, Harper stated.

Further questioned on when precisely Hemraj’s test was done, Harper deferred to CWI’s Director of Cricket, Jimmy Adams, who explained: “There is a six-month window in which players have to achieve [the standard] and within this window, Chandrapaul Hemraj has not met the standard required and therefore was not available for selection.”

Adams also clarified that a similar situation applied to Rutherford, who was not selected for the World T20, despite a splendid CPL.

Odean Smith, who failed to meet the fitness standards prior to World T20 selection, has now met them and gained a nod for the Pakistan series (Photo by Randy Brooks – CPL T20/Getty Images)

For Odean Smith, who too was left out of the World T20 squad for fitness, he “would have met the minimum standard within the last six months.”

The Director of Cricket could not definitively say when Smith would have met the minimum standard and highlighted tests that are done are recorded and sent to the medical panel, who then review and submit a list of persons who have met the standard and are available for selection.

DOOR NOT CLOSED

While some of these players are not in the actual set-up, Adams said in planning for the next World T20 scheduled for Australia in October-November 2022, they endeavour to include these players in a pool of hopefuls for that event.

“Part of that process going into that tournament is going to be the identification of a core group of players and I would see no reason why the players we are discussing here would not be in that core group of players who we would want to be looking at the process”, Adams revealed.

In the lead-up to this World T20, there are approximately 25 international matches, and “there are youngsters who we feel are very talented and we will want to see them involved in this process.”

Once the players are identified in the next couple of weeks, the plan is to have conversations with each player to address the issues preventing their selection, since CWI wants to “select from a pool wide as possible.”

“While they might not be selected for this tour, the plan is not to have them out of sight, out of mind, we want to have these players available, we want to have them ready for international cricket and we want to see them coming into the fore in terms of the next generation of T20 players”, the Director noted.

FULL SQUADS

One-Day Internationals: Kieron Pollard (Captain), Shai Hope (Vice-Captain), Darren Bravo, Shamarh Brooks, Roston Chase, Justin Greaves, Akeal Hosein, Alzarri Joseph, Gudakesh Motie, Anderson Phillip, Nicholas Pooran, Raymon Reifer, Romario Shepherd, Odean Smith and Hayden Walsh Jr.

T20 Internationals: Kieron Pollard (Captain), Nicholas Pooran (Vice-Captain), Darren Bravo, Roston Chase, Sheldon Cottrell, Dominic Drakes, Shai Hope, Akeal Hosein, Brandon King, Kyle Mayers, Gudakesh Motie, Romario Shepherd, Odean Smith, Oshane Thomas and Hayden Walsh Jr.

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