Jimmy Adams is the new Director of Cricket (DC) for Cricket West Indies (CWI). He was appointed in January 2017 so he can be termed relatively new! Adams’ credentials make him most suitable for the position as he is a former Test player and captain, and has been a successful coach of Kent County Cricket Club. He also coached and played provincial cricket in South Africa, and travelled the world while playing for the West Indies. Adams is a gentleman of all-round capabilities.
It is so important to have someone like this as the DC because players and officials will have a certain respect for Adams with his background, unlike the unfortunate choice of his predecessor Richard Pybus who had nothing going for him.
Jimmy has already started making waves by ensuring a few positive changes are made to our selection policies, albeit temporary according to the Board of CWI. Cricketers no longer have to play in domestic competitions of CWI to be eligible for selection.
Essentially what it means is that a cricketer who is unavailable for the regional 50-over tournament because of franchise cricket participation in other countries, may still be considered for selection for One Day Internationals (ODIs). And the same with the local four-day competition, that if it is missed because of an alternative cricket commitment, the player could still be chosen for the Test match team.
There are no cricket fans in the Caribbean who would have agreed with this policy in the first place except probably the directors of CWI, as it robbed our region of its best players for no real reasons bar spite and vindictiveness. After all, the rules should always be made for the progress of WI cricket and for no other reason.
Adams has to tackle selection policy which is currently stifling WI cricket. Chairman of selectors, Courtney Browne and his panel are lacking foresight and proper planning. Their narrow views are stunting growth.
Browne does not appear to follow his own logic. A dictum which he repeats regularly is that players would be chosen based on performance only. A statement such as this exposes limited thinking. Point to note: why is Jason Holder still captain then?
The other matter about Browne is his obvious bowing to Board officials and to the previous DC in selections. Any self-respecting selector would not accept ‘outside’ interference but would understand that the selectors must feel free to choose whoever they believe constitutes the best team to represent the WI.
If the Board has banned a player for disciplinary purposes or otherwise then the selectors ought to be informed that the player concerned is not to be considered; but it must be a Board decision given in writing on a letterhead and not verbally by any official. This is what Phil Simmons was up against last year when Pybus was interfering with selections, actually picking teams himself and when Simmons objected and criticised he was fired!
I’m putting forward to Jimmy that he ought to consider using Stuart Law, the new Head Coach from Australia, as the lone selector. As coach, he’s responsible for the performance of the team, which would ensure that he chooses the best and most balanced team.
Once more in the West Indies, insularity has raised its ugly head and it’s no coincidence that a Barbadian is the chairman of selectors, the captain is a Barbadian and nine selections out of 15 for the tour of England are from Barbados. We have been transported right back to the earlier days of Windies cricket when it was rampant. The coach though, would not be able to indulge favouritism as his job depends on performance. He must pick his best team!
Law has two assistants with him who would help him choose his teams. When he and his staff are away on tour then Jimmy would identify one reliable and knowledgeable person in each territory to observe and study the local cricket and report to the DC who would plan the viewing of these players for future reference.
However, the coach must make the final decision on what team he wants as he’s the one responsible in the long run for their achievements, not unlike the professional football manager.
Imagine Browne, Lockhart Sebastian, Eldine Baptiste and Travis Dowlin choosing a team, then say to the coach ‘go ahead and do your best with what we have given you’. Is that fair? In this day of highly paid professional cricketers and coaches I can’t see the justification in maintaining this system. It is now archaic. In days of old there weren’t even coaches, and many players were not even paid!
Kerry Packer changed the financial outlook for cricketers in 1977 which introduced WI invincibility but there were still no coaches. After becoming habitual losers in Tests & ODIs, it’s time to experiment and introduce a brand new system of selection.
It’s just an idea for Jimmy. I’m sure he’ll know best!