Shame about Shillingford!
ROSEAU – Former Windward Islands manager Tom Lafond says he is stunned by the omission of off-spinner Shane Shillingford from the West Indies 15-man squad for next month’s tour of Bangladesh, and believes insularity is creeping back into regional selection policy.
West Indies selectors announced the squad last week, with Guyana left-arm spinner Veerasammy Permaul as the only new cap.
According to the outspoken Lafond, the non-inclusion of Shillingford cannot be justified.
“I am definitely very surprised. I am really flabbergasted. I got flabbergasted when I heard the team,” he said.
“I could not believe that the selectors could leave out Shane Shiillingford from a tour of Bangladesh or even Sri Lanka, for that matter, since that is the kind of bowler that you need on these kinds of wickets.
“To have selected Permaul ahead of Shane to me is a travesty. Additionally, when I look at the team and I see that Kirk Edwards is recalled, it leaves me to believe that we are going back to the days of insularity, and that is one of the concerns that I have.”
The 29-year-old Shillingford has emerged as the regional side’s front line spinner in recent times, getting ahead of Guyanese leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo and Barbadian left-arm spinner Sulieman Benn in the pecking order.
Following a near two-year hiatus to reorder his bowling action, Shillingford returned to international cricket with success earlier this year against the touring Australians, picking up 14 wickets in two Tests.
This included a ten-wicket match haul before his home crowd in Dominica in the third and final Test, which West Indies lost by 75 runs.
“I cannot believe that the selectors would have the nerve in this day and age to leave Shane out of the team after he performed so admirably against the Australians,” Lafond continued.
“Picking up ten wickets in a match against Australia is a feat in itself. One would like to think that Shane Shillingford would have been on the front burner of West Indies selection and I cannot really comprehend why Shane Shillingford was left out of the team for the tour of Bangladesh.”
Lafond, a well respected cricket commentator in Dominica, believed that insularity was creeping in regional cricket once again.
“One may say that Permaul is a younger player [but], Permaul cannot compare to Shane Shillingford,” Lafond argued.
Shillingford, 29, has taken 290 wickets in 74 first class matches at an average of 25.82 and 29 in eight Tests at 44.79 apiece, while Permaul, 23, has captured 152 wickets in 45 first class matches at 24.59.
“Shane has proven himself. It is really a major disappointment not seeing Shane Shillingford on that team. I cannot find words to describe it.”
“To me, it is abominable and I tend to believe that an ugly face is showing itself again.
“That ugly face of insularity is really taking root in West Indies cricket because for some reason, like they did to (Darren) Sammy some years ago when he took seven wickets in his first Test match against England and he was forgotten after that.
“That is what is happening. Shane Shillingford has been forgotten. It appears to me that he no longer exists on the minds of the selectors and I think that it is time that people do something about it.”
Shillingford last played for West Indies on the recent wretched tour of England, turning out in the second Test at Nottingham and claiming just one wicket.
He picked up a five-wicket haul in a three-day match against the touring New Zealanders in July but missed out on selection. (CMC)