Bishoo not best pick
NATION Associate Editor (Sports) Haydn Gill assesses the West Indies’ selectors choice to replace the injured Dwayne Bravo at the World Cup
THERE are occasions when the West Indies selectors do things that puzzle us.
Some might argue that everything they do is baffling.
That maybe stretching it, but the choice of replacement for the injured Dwayne Bravo at the World Cup is bound to raise more than a few eyebrows.
Devendra Bishoo is a promising leg-spinner who has potential to go all the way.
At the age of 25, he has quietly won many admirers since making his debut for Guyana three years ago.
His biggest impression was created at the inaugural Caribbean Twenty20 last July when he was named Player-of-the-Tournament and helped Guyana win the competition.
He continued to advertise his talent in the regional 50-overs competition a few months later and is off to another commendable start in four-day competition.
Not bad credentials.
So why do I have concerns over the choice?
In the circumstances, I would have figured that the replacement would have been close as possible to a like-for-like.
Bravo is an all-rounder, primarily a No. 6 batsman and third or fourth seamer, whose value is enhanced by his brilliance in the field.
Bishoo is a leg-spinner who bats mainly at No. 10 or 11.
The only similarity between Bravo and Bishoo that they bowl with their right arm.
Bishoo’s call-up weakens the batting but more significantly alters the balance of the original squad.
The only explanation for it is probably an admission that the balance in the beginning was not what it should be. It is not a view I share.
Of the 15 that were available for the West Indies’ first match against South Africa, the players omitted were a batsman (Kirk Edwards) and three bowlers (Nikita Miller, Ravi Rampaul and Andre Russell).
To my mind, that’s an imbalance.
Miller came into the 11 as Bravo’s replacement for the second match against Netherlands and if West Indies maintain the same team for the next match by the time Bishoo gets to the sub-continent, the reserves will still number one batsman and three bowlers.
In other words, our bowling cover significantly outweighs our batting cover.
It is also the first time in a very long time that I can remember the West Indies having a touring party with three special spinners in addition to Chris Gayle, who could be regarded as more than a part-timer in the shorter forms of the game.
Having said all of that, the replacement should have been a batting all-rounder and the closest person to Bravo in that regard would have been Dave Bernard Jr, who bats at No. 6 or 7 for Jamaica and comes on as first-change bowler.
If the selectors, however, felt that a spin option would have been better than seam, the choice should have been Ryan Hinds, a batsman whose left-arm spin is more than handy in any version of the sport.
This isn’t the first time that a West Indies World Cup replacement has puzzled some of us and it would not be the last. You might recall that at the 1996 World Cup, an injured Carl Hooper, like Bravo, a batting all-rounder, was replaced by Cameron Cuffy, a fast bowler.
Sometimes, it just doesn’t make sense trying to figure it out.