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THORNY ISSUE: Time for heads to roll


ANDI THORNHILL

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When there is consistent failure in any sporting discipline it usually signals that there is time for change and for some to be relieved of their posts.The West Indies latest failure in the just concluded T20 World Cup was yet another reflection of sustained inconsistency, but it also brought into focus that we didn’t select our best team.The selectors should be made to answer. Even before the ink was dried on the paper they wrote the names of the  15 to represent the West Indies. It was evident that the absence of Dwayne Smith and Lendl Simmons was a wrong move.The subsequent reason given by coach Ottis Gibson for the exclusion  of Smith was widely questioned and might haunt him for a long  time to come. If Smith was targeted for not being able to handle pressure in certain situations the World Cup proved that there were quite a few of his colleagues who also fitted into this category, but still made the team. Simmons, like Smith,  is multi-skilled and his inclusion should have been automatic. He was also missing from the ‘A’ team’s tour of Bangladesh, so there could be more in the mortar than the pestle.I honestly believe  there is a need for  frank disclosure by the authorities in matters such as these so that the public can make a clearer assessment of the situation instead  of having to speculate.For argument sake, if you have to juxtapose the exclusion of Smith and Simmons against the inclusion of Wavell Hinds then there is even greater reason for the selectors  to be held accountable.Hinds looked lost when he got his chance, but he didn’t pick himself. Some suggest he may have been the captain’s pick, but if there was a preference  for another Jamaican in the squad it should have been Carlton Baugh  who could do no worse than Denesh Ramdin  or Andre Fletcher as a wicketkeeper-batsman.There is nothing wrong in having horses for courses and in a case where his immediate rivals were found wanting in recent competition. Baugh would have been the better choice  in my opinion.But for Barbados’ baffling handling of Patrick Browne in the past two seasons there could have been a role for him too. I don’t think there  is a role for Chanderpaul or Sarwan in this form  of cricket, but we tend  to go with the traditional in all things. Surely, based on who we have, the two will be first options in the game’s longer versions but T20 appears to be a bit too rushed for their style.  Overall, we still seem a little short of commitment on the field and unless individuals find a goal on which to focus I think we will continue to struggle. For me, the biggest motivation has to be the defence of our rich cricketing legacy. No amount of money can buy that – only a knowledge of history and  a dedicated responsibility to defend what has been achieved by their predecessors, will make  a major difference in the way West Indies perform in the future.Nevertheless, congratulations to the respective winners England in the men and Australia in the women. For all we know they may have gotten their selection right to begin with!• Andi Thornhill is sports editor of the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation.

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