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If only I was a selector


Ezra Stuart

If only I was a selector

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I know I could never be a West Indies cricket selector nor a Barbados one for that matter.
Why? My criteria for selection would be simple. Performance would matter more than potential. Runs, wickets and catches – especially when playing against quality opposition – would be major factors.
I won’t have any favourites. There won’t be any preferential treatment. Everyone would be judged by the same yardstick.
Players would have to merit selection regardless of nationality and no one could accuse me of being insular.
Once I receive the guidelines which govern the selection policy, I won’t be dictated to thereafter by any board president, CEO or director, as my remit would be to select the best possible side.
Any time my selection or recommendation for captaincy, isn’t ratified, that would be the end of my innings.
Moreso, I would have a statistical data base on all the Under-15, Under-19, “A” team, Test and women’s cricketers I have to choose from to keep account of their performances.
It won’t be a guessing game when I sit down to pick a team. I would be able to say with authority why a player should be selected over another.
There won’t be any trading of players with me so none of my fellow selectors can sway me by saying they gave me my man so I must give them their man, like how it was alleged to happen with some panels.
If there are five, six, seven or more players worthy of selection from one country or, in the case of the Barbados team, from one club or parish, then all of them would be selected.
Of course, I would demand a certain level of fitness and discipline from the senior players in particular, as well as an apology for insulting and disparaging remarks about the coach or captain on any radio programme.
But team unity, camaraderie and balance will be needed, so my captain must be worthy of his place in the side before I recommend his appointment for such an important leadership position.
Hence, the critics won’t say the captain is keeping out other cricketers from playing in the side.
Then, I would gladly welcome any constructive criticism from the media as I won’t want anyone in midwicket to defend my actions.  
I won’t select my Test teams based on Twenty20 cricket or any other limited-overs form of the game.
Never mind Barbados’ excellent start to this year’s Caribbean T20, I would defend why the experienced free-scoring 35-year-old Dale Richards was chosen in the first place even if he can’t find a place in the starting 11.
That’s why I’m not a selector, as it won’t be a case of accommodating anyone, and the dashing Dwayne Smith and Richards would be my opening combination, especially in those first six Power Play overs.
But I wouldn’t be able to answer the pundits when they question why another experienced batsman, Ryan Hinds, was relegated down the order to No. 8 and others with no proven record as batsmen in the T20 format, promoted ahead of him.
Certainly, I would have to justify why batting all-rounder Kevin Stoute was selected if he can’t bat any higher than No. 9, especially when he is not bowling.
It would also be difficult for me to explain why my fastest and most experienced bowler Fidel Edwards, after resting because of jet lag, couldn’t find a place in the starting line-up to partner the fiery Tino Best, after his exploits in the Australian Big Bash.
Also I would be at pains to point out that Javon Searles, who was Barbados’ leading wicket-taker in the last Caribbean T20 and had the best average (8.71) and economy rate (4.69), went off the boil before a ball was bowled, so no place can be found for him.
Whatever, the batting order, the Bajan boys have played with passion, pride and purpose. The team spirit and body language is excellent, exemplified by their audacious approach.
Finally, when it comes to inviting players to national trials, I would admit that I made a quick dash and didn’t properly check before I invited a 33-year-old Upper Intermediate batsman with just one half-century during the past season.
And how on earth could I justify inviting as many as 56 trialists?
But as a West Indies selector, I would confess there is no way Hinds should not have played another ODI since he was part of the 2004 Champions Trophy-winning team and that I gave Smith a raw deal by selecting Danza Hyatt ahead of him over the past year.

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