Barbados’ two most experienced fast bowlers have been ignored for the WICB Regional Four-Day final – and the snub has left Tino Best in shock.
The selectors yesterday announced an unchanged 13-man squad for the match against Trinidad and Tobago starting tomorrow at Kensington Oval and found no room for Best, 31, a veteran of 98 first-class matches, and fellow West Indies pacer Fidel Edwards, 31, who boasts 84 first-class appearances.
In defending the move, chairman of selectors Hendy Wallace said they were keeping faith with the players who had served them well this season but Best, who has recovered after spraining his ankle in the final preliminary match on April 10, could not hide his disappointment.
“I am shocked. I’m fully fit. I can’t really worry about it. I’ve just got to stay focused and concentrate on what is important,” Best told MIDWEEK SPORT.
“My next big tournament is the Champions Trophy in England. I need to go into the camp with the West Indies team, prepare and get my head in the right place. I’m disappointed about the final but I’m not going to harp on too much about it. It is a part of the game.
“As a ‘kid’, I remember when guys like Pedro Collins, Corey Collymore and other ‘big boys’ came home, other guys had to sit down. I guess things are done differently these days.”
In the absence of Best and Edwards, the attack will be spearheaded by fellow West Indies pacer Kemar Roach, who has been restricted to one match this season.
The other fast bowlers in the squad are rookie Miguel Cummins, one of the standouts for Barbados in the tournament with 26 wickets in seven matches, and Javon Searles, who took six wickets in three matches.
Neither Cummins nor Searles, however, bowled a ball in the semi-final match against Windward Islands in Dominca where off-spinner Ashley Nurse’s 14-wicket haul undermined the home team.
“It is a luxury to have Tino and Fidel available but the panel decided we were not going to change around the format of the side,” Wallace said.
“The bowling has done quite well. It was really about personnel. The temptation was there to play Roach and Best together but in the end, after some deliberation, we decided to stick with the same personnel after the sort of rhythm they had in the last two matches.”
Barbados marched into the final after a big innings victory inside two days over newly crowned Super50 champions Windward Islands and another impressive victory over Trinidad and Tobago in the final match of the preliminaries.
While Best, who practised with the squad yesterday and Monday, is unhappy over his non-selection, he is offering his full support to the team.
“It’s not about me. It is about Barbados. I don’t want the public to harp on it. I want them to support the guys,” he said.
“It is a big opportunity for Barbados – to win the Cup for the first time since 2007. I am disappointed I won’t be part of it, but I want to wish the guys the very best.”
Both Best and Edwards have hardly featured for Barbados this season because of other commitments.
Best, who has 199 wickets in first-class competitions for Barbados, was restricted to two four-day matches and one Super50 game, while Edwards, who travelled to India to join Rajasthan Royals for the Indian Premier League, appeared in a solitary limited-overs match.
Squad: Kirk Edwards (captain), Kraigg Brathwaite, Rashidi Boucher, Jonathan Carter, Kevin Stoute, Shane Dowrich, Ashley Nurse, Sulieman Benn, Javon Searles, Kemar Roach, Miguel Cummins, Roston Chase, Shai Hope. Officials: Hartley Reid (manager), Hendy Springer (coach), Jacqui King (physio), Shannon Lashley (trainer), Rodney Ashby (analyst).