JEFF BROOMES: Guidelines for selectors
IN ALL areas of collective decision making, trust and confidentiality must be highly respected. This is so in areas where a choice must be made between two competing but equally deserving options as well as in the selection of any team of skilled persons.
Today, in my informed but non-enforceable way, I will seek to highlight the absolute necessity of respect for these principles. I will do this by performing the role of a supremo sitting with a panel of selectors to choose a cricket team to represent Barbados in the 2015-2016 four-day tournament.
After first ascertaining the approved availability of a cadre of players (suspensions and other disciplinary reasons included as well as the unavailability of Gary Sobers and Malcolm Marshall), self-imposed guiding principles are established. These would include current form, player performance records and team chemistry.
With the defining policy positions settled, the team structure may now be tackled. How many batsmen vis-a-vis bowlers? Is there a need for an established all-rounder? Do the conditions favour a slant towards pace or should the balance lean towards spin? Obviously, this is fertile ground for much disagreement! As supremo, I calmed heads and unilaterally decided on five batsmen, an all-rounder, a wicketkeeper and four frontline bowlers.
The debate now shifts to individual selections. Things start smoothly with everyone agreeing on Kraigg Brathwaite to open. For his partner, one selector suggests Shai Hope who recently opened for the West Indies; another says Rashidi Boucher, another says Kyle Corbin who has been allowing centuries to speak for him; but another introduces the name of Kemar Brathwaite who looks a good player and scored a century in trials. The cut and thrust is heated but, again as supremo, I ended it by deciding on Kyle Corbin.
At this point, the selectors each take a glass of water to cool their heads before easily agreeing on the next three picks, Shai Hope, Jonathan Carter and the classy Shamar Brooks. I smiled and nodded my head in full approval. I then suggested Shane Dowrich as the wicketkeeper, which was supported by all.
The all-rounder position is introduced and the debate heats up again. Should Jason Holder be played in that role or Carlos Brathwaite or Ashley Nurse? Should we have a batting or bowling all-rounder? If bowling, should he be a spinner or quick bowler? It seemed as though this discussion would go on for hours, so the supremo intervened again. I had to settle my personal debate between Roston Chase and Kevin Stoute. Finally, and because of the four-day nature of the tournament, I settled on Roston Chase.
The first three of the next four players were straight forward and agreement was reached on Jason Holder, Carlos Brathwaite and Kemar Roach. I totally concurred. The final selection was another source of disagreement. Should it be another fast bowler, seeing that Roston Chase could bowl spin? Should this fast bowler be Tino Best who has done so well for Barbados over the years or should it be the young and upcoming Miguel Cummins who is a member of the West Indies A team? Or should it be one of the young successes from trials?
If a spinner, should it be Ashley Nurse with his all-round ability, Suleiman Benn, who was recently Test cricketer of the year, or Jomel Warrican, the current West Indies selectee? None of the options if selected, either of pace or spin, could be faulted, so the discussion was strong and even loud. Up stepped the supremo and decided on Jomel Warrican.
These are the battles that selectors fight, and none should be betrayed by way of public vilification or exposure for criticism with claims of anything but clean, intellectual and tactical differences.
• Jeff Broomes is an experienced educator, principal and community organiser who also served as a vice-president of the BCA and director of the WICB. Email: [email protected]