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Ravi’s record

Ezra Stuart

Ravi’s record

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REBUILDING of the regional cricket team and a desire to give some players a sustained run, counted heavily in the selection of the West Indies’ World Cup squad.
This was pointed out by selector Robert Haynes as the Clyde Butts-chaired selection panel fielded questions at a press conference at Kensington Oval last Wednesday after the 15-man squad was named.
In defending the selection of Trinidadian new ball bowler Ravi Rampaul, after it was mentioned that he performed poorly in the West Indies’ last limited-overs series against South Africa when he took three wickets at an average of 69 and economy rate of 5.59, Haynes countered by saying he was the West Indies’ top one-day bowler last year.
“When you look at Rampaul’s performance over the last year for the West Indies, apart from those four games against South Africa, he has been our top one-day bowler and we believe that as selectors, it would be good to give him a chance again to prove himself in the World Cup,” Haynes said.
Rampaul captured 19 wickets in 14 ODIs last year at an average of 32.63 and an economy rate of 5.21 runs an over while his compatriot Kieron Pollard was the next most successful West Indian bowler with 18 wickets in 15 ODIs at an average of 27.61 and economy rate of 5.14 runs an over.
Another batting allrounder Dwayne Bravo took 15 wickets in just eight matches at an average of 22.60 and his economy rate was 4.75 runs an over while captain Darren Sammy bagged 15 wickets in 14 ODIs at 28.46 apiece and an economy rate of 4.27.
Some reckoned that Barbadian speedster Tino Best, who had bowled impressively in the regional 50-over tournament in Jamaica, should have been selected.
“We all agree that Tino Best has improved tremendously [and] has been bowling really well but we believe as selectors, and we have been saying this from the first time that we came on board, we always believe in giving players a run,” Haynes said.
“Rampaul did not have the best of series against the South Africans [but] he is still good enough to go to India and perform for us in the World Cup so we gave him the run,” added Haynes.
“West Indies’ cricket is also a rebuilding process.
It is not just about picking who we think should play. We have to look down the road as well. It is very important for us as selectors, to make sure that we identify players because we have things in mind in terms of looking to go on a long term process, probably towards the next World Cup,” he contended. “So we want to have a team where we could win the World Cup and to look at other players coming through,” he added.
Fellow selector Courtney Browne also explained the omission of seasoned Barbados’ opener Dale Richards, who was not even named in the 30-man provisional squad.
Richards had scores of 51, 28, 59 and 19 in four ODIs when called up at the last minute for last year’s One-Day home series against South Africa.
 “When you look at West Indies’ cricket and the rebuilding, we have some very young players and we are trying our best to think ahead and look down the road at West Indies cricket,” Browne said.
Browne referred to talented Trinidadian opener Adrian Barath as a case in point.
 “We obviously have to give these guys the opportunity. These guys have a bright future (and) we are hoping that they will develop into international cricketers and performers. So when you look at Dale, although he had some scores, there were not hundreds and we think that we need to blood some of the young openers now to move forward in West Indies cricket,” Browne asserted.
Haynes also sought to justified the inclusion of the third opener Devon Smith in the squad.
 “It is never going to be easy but we have to sit down and try to come up with the best possible team for the tournament we felt that Devon Smith was the one in form, coming out of the “A” Team cricket.  He played in one Test match (recently versus Sri Lanka) and did fairly well and we believe that we should give him a chance again,” Haynes said.