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A THORNY ISSUE: Board going in right direction

Andi Thornhill

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WHEN THE selection committee of the West Indies Cricket Board didn’t offer Ramnaresh Sarwan a central retainer contract many of us were shocked.Shocked because the authorities don’t normally treat the shareholders like that, irrespective of form or fitness.In the past I got the impression that some of the senior players did as they pleased knowing full well that those in charge of the decision-making process didn’t possess the guts to ruffle their feathers.I must congratulate the board on this occasion for their stance against Sarwan, but hope that this policy will be consistent.Turning new pageIf we propose to turn a new page in West Indies cricket, discipline must be instilled in all departments. Administrators and players at all levels shouldn’t be exempted from playing by the rules set down by the governing body.Accountability is a must as we attempt to have more sunshine than gloom in our game.I believe that at 30 years old, Sarwan still has a vital role to play in our cricket. In fact, he and others like Chris Gayle and Shivnarine Chanderpaul should see themselves as mentors for the younger and inexperienced players in the team.However, they would need to set an example in the area of professionalism and commitment to their duties.We are creatures of our environment and when we look up to others we like to see them practising what they preach. There is nothing more inspiring as we go about our respective tasks.Selection committeeTherefore, we should take note that the selection committee thought that Sarwan’s fitness was unsatisfactory.Their statement said further: “The team management, selection committee and the WICB are concerned about Sarwan’s extremely indifferent attitude and sporadic approach towards fitness, particularly in recent years.”The inference, in my opinion, is that those who monitored Sarwan’s progress is that if he had worked harder to be fit then it is likely that he would have played a Test since last year apart from the four ODIs and seven Twenty20s that he participated in this year.This seemed to be the yardstick used to deny him the privilege of a central contract. It was also applied to the cases of Jerome Taylor and Narsingh Deonarine.DisappointedThe WICB said it was “disappointed with Taylor’s lack of commitment to his own rehabilitation following injuries sustained in Australia in 2009 and in the ICC World Twenty20, 2010.”In Deonarine’s case they reported that “team management has pleaded with, beseeched and cajoled Narsingh to improve his overall fitness, but to no avail”.What I would wish now is for the selectors to be just as rigid in terms of evaluating batting and bowling performances. They must be bold enough to wield the axe whenever the shareholders  consistently come up short. It will be one way of making it competitive for a play, but most importantly showing the players that they have to earn their keep.And there is not a thing wrong with that.• Andi Thornhill is the sports editor at the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation and can be reached [email protected] 

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