‘Hetmyer did not refuse Guyana Harpy Eagles contract’- GCB President
By Akeem Greene
Reports have surfaced that Shimron Hetmyer was not on the contracted list of 15 players by Guyana Harpy Eagles for the coming year after the Cricket West Indies (CWI) Professional Player draft on June 17.
High-placed sources indicated to News Room Sport that Hetmyer opted out of contract, but Guyana Cricket Board President (GCB) and CWI Director, Bissoondyal Singh, indicated that is not the case, but rather “there was a mutual agreement.”
“He has never refused a contract. I would prefer you to speak with Mr. Hetmyer. In our conversation it was mutual. Hetmyer will play for Guyana once available, but as it relates to contract, it was an agreement between the GCB and Shimron himself,” Singh told News Room Sport on the sidelines of an event on Tuesday.
Efforts to contact Hetmyer for a comment on Tuesday afternoon proved futile.
Over the last contractual period, July 2021 to July 2022, the talented batsman held a Harpy Eagles contract after he was not retained for a CWI international contract.
The GCB had issued a strong statement condemning CWI for not issuing any Guyanese international retainer contracts and called for the publication of the selection criteria.
During that contractual period, Hetmyer played just two matches in the First-Class season as he missed the final three rounds due to commitments in the Indian Premier League.
Romario Shepherd is another top player not on the list, but it is understood he will be named as part of CWI’s international white-ball retainer contracts, an elevation from his Regional contract.
Guyana Harpy Eagles contracts
Despite CWI has not officially released the names of the contracted players for all territories for 2022-23, the source did confirm the list News Room Sport is in receipt of is the correct one.
Those players are Tagenarine Chanderpaul, Gudakesh Motie, Keemo Paul, Veerasammy Permaul, Chandrapaul Hemraj, Tevin Imlach, Akshaya Persaud, Nial Smith, Demetri Cameron, Anthony Bramble, Kevin Sinclair, Leon Johnson, Ronsford Beaton, Vishaul Singh and Antony Adams.
Strangely, Vishaul Singh was not on the initial 13 ‘Protected Players’ list.
Protected players are those who are selected prior to the draft, which rules them out from being drafted by another franchise.
Antony Adams was the other player who was not ‘protected’ and got his first Harpy Eagles contract.
Singh, who is one of Guyana’s leading batsmen since the inception of the Professional Cricket League in 2014, ended as the Eagles’ second-leading runscorer this season with 262 runs at an average of 52.40 from his six innings. The highlight was an unbeaten 100 from 85 balls against Jamaica Scorpions.
Additionally, Christopher Barnwell, who was “phased out” from the red-ball set-up due to the then Chairman of Selectors, Ramanresh Sarwan, opting for younger players, was not given a contract.
However, Sarwan had assured he would be part of the white-ball group.
At the last Super50 in February 2021, Barnwell got a maiden List A ton and it was his eighth score of 50 or more over the last four tournaments, leading the team’s batting with a healthy average in the mid-40s.
During the Four-day season prior, which was curtailed to eight rounds, he was the team’s second-leading run-scorer with 435 runs at an average of 33.46 with a best of 107, along with two fifties.
It must be noted that a player not having a contract does not rule them out from selection, but it means they would earn on a ‘Pay for Play’ basis.
Contracted players have different salary scales and are paid on monthly basis for the contractual period, in addition to match fees and per diems.
In March 2022, former national player and Head coach, Rabindranauth Seeram, was named Chairman of Selectors due to Sarwan’s ascension to CWI selection panel. Sarwan later resigned from the CWI post in May 2022.
The GCB President was questioned on the criteria the Board would have implemented in the selection of the contracted players.
“The total selection and all this that went on with the selection panel as it relates to the criteria and the direction of the Harpy Eagles, I guess you listen to former Chairman of Selectors Ramnaresh Sarwan, and you can take your cue off from that; nothing has changed from then.”
He added, “The only thing changed is that the chairman of selectors changed because of Mr. Sarwan ascension to West Indies. So, all you heard Mr. Sarwan said remained in place, and that is really it, nothing else.”
In December 2021, when the GCB last held a formal media interaction with the media, Sarwan spoke virtually, stating that the panel is putting systems in place to form a more balanced unit, one which is picked on performances.
Assisting Sarwan on the Senior Selection Panel were Albert Smith, Peter Persaud and Otto Christiani, who has since been replaced by Elroy Stephaney.
In the quest for better results, the former Guyana and West Indies captain asserted there will be no complete overhaul of the current structure, but rather a smooth transition.
“We don’t want to find ourselves in a position where we are making an overhaul of Guyana’s cricket or the batting department. There are opportunities that will be given to young players and we also try to have a smooth transition where we have youth and experience together.”
Sarwan said the batsmen are averaging between 25 and 35 and ideally, they would want to pick a team on performances, but because of such numbers, they are forced to pick teams based on experience.