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Sir Clive tells embattled Hetmyer to score big runs


Sir Clive tells embattled Hetmyer to score big runs
Shimron Hetmyer (FILE)

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Legendary captain Sir Clive Lloyd urged under-fire stroke-maker Shimron Hetmyer to “produce the runs” and remove any debate over his eligibility for a central retainer contract.

The left-handed Hetmyer was one of eight players snubbed by Cricket West Indies (CWI) for white-ball contracts earlier this month, while the Test pair of Shamarh Brooks and Shane Dowrich also lost their red-ball contracts and all-rounder Roston Chase, his all-formats deal.

Debate has subsequently raged – especially in his native Guyana – over the decision by selectors not to award Hetmyer a central contract, but Sir Clive contended the 24-year-old simply needed to start scoring runs consistently at international level.

“It’s simple,” Sir Clive said. “The guy’s got ability – we know that. All he needs to do is produce the runs and there should be no problem.

“It is obvious that they’re talking about his fitness…We will find out how good he is and how long he bats and so on, and it’s a situation as a batsman, you put some scores up there.”

He added: “The guy’s got talent and I’m sure it will come to fruition quite soon. He knows that people are talking about him, and they want him to do well – we all want him to do well.

“And it’s not like anybody dislikes him. They want to know that you can get to that level where you can produce the runs that [people] expect.”

Hetmyer played only two international matches during the contract assessment period between April 1 last year and April 1 this year, scoring 25 runs from two Twenty20 Internationals in New Zealand.

The former ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup-winning captain has not played a Test – where he averages a little under 28 – since November 2019. He opted out of last year’s Tour of England and the Tour of Bangladesh earlier this year because of COVID-19 concerns.

He was ruled out of the white-ball series against Sri Lanka earlier this year after failing to meet the minimum fitness standards established by CWI. Chase, along with fast bowlers Oshane Thomas and Sheldon Cottrell, also failed to meet the fitness standards.

Sir Clive, who was responsible for the near invincible West Indies side of the 1970s and 1980s, said his advice to Hetmyer, along with all young West Indies players would be to focus on reaching the required fitness and attaining high performance levels.

“I would tell him try and get to that fitness level that they’re talking about,” Sir Clive said on the Mason and Guest radio talk show on VOB 92.9 FM.

“I know he’s earning good money – that’s great. Any cricketer who is earning I am happy with because we were always bridesmaids where the monetary side is concerned. So now, if you produce the goods, you will be paid well – money is a subsidiary of success.”

Sir Clive said: “I would like to say to all the young people – Mr. Hetmyer and the rest of them, ‘Gentlemen, they’re asking you to be fit.’ They want you to produce the goods because if you do well, we would have a world-beating team.”

Hetmyer averages 27 from 16 Tests without a hundred, averages nearly 37 from 45 One-day Internationals with five hundreds and averages a shade under 19 from 27 T20Is, which have yielded a strike rate of 116.

Sir Clive, who finished his career with over 7,000 runs from 110 Tests and an average of 46, said it was up to players to “produce the goods”.

“We all know (Nicholas) Pooran, Hetmyer – they are talented guys,” he said. “But that talent must come out in runs. If you’re a bowler, it’s [taking] wickets, like (Kemar) Roach is doing at Surrey, producing the stuff.

“When you pick teams, people are always worried about why ‘X’ isn’t playing or why ‘Y’ isn’t playing. The point is once you produce the goods, you get rid of that.

“The last two tours we haven’t lost, so I want people to give our young players credit. The Hetmyers and all these guys, the world is their oyster. It’s up to them to produce the goods, then we wouldn’t have this conversation.”