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They’ve got it wrong again!

Haydn Gill

They’ve got it wrong again!

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IN RECENT times, there always seems to be a hue and cry over the selection of West Indies cricket teams.
The latest instance appears to be on justifiable grounds.
I respect the choices of Clyde Butts and his fellow selectors for the coming matches in the Digicel Series against Pakistan. I can’t say, however, that I agree.
A host of observers have had their say on the omissions of former captains Chris Gayle, Ramnaresh Sarwan and Shivnarine Chanderpaul.
Not many, though, have raised concerns on the balance of the squads for both the one-off Twenty20 International and the first two One-Day Internationals.
I’ll touch on a bit of both.
I am at a loss as to why the selectors would put out a side of almost exclusively under-30s.
While I am all for exposing new talent, there has to be a mix of experience and youth.
I am also strongly opposed to dropping players at the age of 31 and 30 when they are supposed to be at the peak of their game.
Consistent performers
I could very well understand if they were repeated failures, but the players in question have been consistent performers for the better part of the last decade.
The selection of any team in any sport is usually a subjective process, but the general expectation is that solid returns will lead to retention of one’s place in the team.
It is for that reason that Gayle, Sarwan and Chanderpaul can feel aggrieved that they have been bypassed. It is accepted that they didn’t deliver at the World Cup but each has an outstanding record in the 50-over game that should count for something.
In case you didn’t know, many of our former players played long after they passed 35. Among them were Clive Lloyd (40), Sir Vivian Richards (39), Gordon Greenidge (39), Desmond Haynes (38), Courtney Walsh (38) and Brian Lara (37).
I haven’t heard any criticism of the balance of the two squads. In my view, however, the selectors have repeated past mistakes.
When the names are presented in alphabetical order, it is very easy to miss it but when they are jotted down in a possible batting order, it is clear that the squads are a batsman short.
The Twenty20 line-up could look like this – Lendl Simmons and Danza Hyatt as openers, a middle order comprising (in any order) Darren Bravo, Marlon Samuels, Andre Fletcher (wicket keeper) and Christopher Barnwell, Darren Sammy at No. 7 to be followed by fast bowlers Andre Russell, Kemar Roach, Ravi Rampaul and leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo. The two likely reserves will be bowlers – Ashley Nurse and Krishmar Santokie.
For the ODIs, a possible order looks to be Simmons and Devon Smith at the top, a middle with Darren Bravo, Samuels, Kirk Edwards and Dwayne Bravo, wicketkeeper Carlton Baugh at No. 7 to be followed by Sammy, Russell, Roach and Bishoo. The likely reserves are again two bowlers – Rampaul and uncapped leg-spinner Anthony Martin.
There is nothing wrong with the balance of the assumed starting XIs, although some might feel Sammy is out of place at No. 7. It is the batting cover on both fronts that is short.
In each case, we simply cannot afford someone such as Samuels picking up an injury in the warm-ups.
Perhaps if it happens, only then will our selectors realize that something is wrong.