Selectors keep Ramdin, Fletcher
by EZRA STUARTA SHOW of faith by the West Indies selectors!In spite of below-par displays in the just ended World Twenty20, both Denesh Ramdin and Andre Fletcher have been retained for the pair of Twenty20 and One-Day International matches against South Africa in Antigua.And there is still no recall for Dwayne Smith, Carlton Baugh or Lendl Simmons, while the big-hitting under-achiever Kieron Pollard gets another chance to replicate his Indian Premier League form in West Indian colours.The only casualty from the unsuccessful World T20 squad, which lost two of three matches in the Super Eights round and failed to reach the semi-finals, is veteran left-handed batsman Wavell Hinds.The two T20s will be played tomorrow and Thursday, while the first two ODIs are on Saturday and Monday at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in North Sound, outside of St John’s. The matches were shifted to Antigua because of general elections in Trinidad and Tobago.Despite the shortcomings of Ramdin and Fletcher, the selectors continue to bypass Jamaican wicketkeeper Baugh, who made two in his only T20 international against New Zealand in 2008. That match ended in a tie before the Windies triumphed in the “super over”. Ramdin has a batting average of 16.84 in 22 T20s, while Fletcher, who is seen primarily as a top-order batsman, is averaging 13.30 after 12 T20 internationals. In 76 ODIs, Ramdin averages 19.65 and Fletcher 18.07 in his 14 matches. The last of Baugh’s 30 ODIs in which he has averaged 14.86, was in Abu Dhabi in 2008.Smith, still only 27 years old, was made the scapegoat for the Windies’ defeat against Zimbabwe in his last ODI in Guyana when he was discarded after he was bowled, essaying a cross-batted shot in the final over.Smith, who wasn’t selected in the World T20 squad, has only played in eight T20 matches for the West Indies and was unfortunately run out in his first three innings.A three-dimensional player, Smith’s useful medium pace swing bowling and outstanding fielding are often overlooked while his lower order batting and method of dismissal, repeatedly come under scrutiny.A case in point was in only his second T20 against England in 2007.After being run out for six, Smith significantly ran out both Kevin Pietersen and Paul Collingwood and had the impressive figures of 3-0-24-3, taking the wickets of openers Alaistair Cook and Matt Prior, as well as Owais Shah to help the West Indies win by 15 runs at The Oval.His best score is 29 off just seven balls when he went to the crease in the 18th over and smashed four sixes and a four off Bangladesh before he was out off the final ball.On the West Indies’ One-Day tour of Australia last year, Smith performed creditably with scores of 7, 43, 59 not out and 21. He also performed capably with the ball, so much so that he has 56 ODI wickets at an economy rate of 4.92. While Smith has been cast aside, Darren Sammy has seized his opportunity, while vice-captain Dwayne Bravo, despite lean times in recent series and in the World T20 when he made 18, 23, 1 and 6, is regarded as the No.1 all-rounder in a team, which also includes Pollard, whose World Cup T20 returns were 8, 0, 9, 17 and 13, keeping his overall T20 average in 18 matches at 11.61. In 25 ODIs, Pollard’s average is 18.36.Maybe, Smith, Baugh and the Jamaican all-rounder David Bernard, who has taken 14 wickets at an economy rate of 4.95 in his 18 ODIs and has only been given a solitary T20 international, will get their chances on the Dominica leg.SQUAD: Chris Gayle (captain), Dwayne Bravo (vice-captain), Sulieman Benn, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Narsingh Deonarine, Andre Fletcher, Nikita Miller, Kieron Pollard, Denesh Ramdin, Ravi Rampaul, Kemar Roach, Darren Sammy, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Jerome Taylor.