The Windies selectors continue to prove that they are clueless in choosing teams to represent the once proud region in their ongoing cricket exploits. Once more in their choice of the same Test team that visited England last summer, to visit Zimbabwe for a two-Test series later this month, exposes a lack of knowledge of cricket lore and understanding of the game.
It seems to me that Courtney Browne as chairman and his fellow selectors Eldine Baptiste, Lockhart Sebastian and Travis Dowling reveal an absence of analytical evaluation which is the number one attribute of a competent selector.
If one chooses the very same team that just completed an unsuccessful tour it is for two reasons. Firstly, they (the selectors) are completely happy with the achievement of the present team and therefore have no hesitation to keep the squad together. There is a popular adage which states ‘never change a winning team’; the Windies selectors believe it means never change a losing team that has won at least one Test match regardless!
Secondly, there are absolutely no available replacements. Now this is incomprehensible. How could a region, throwing out annually over 100 cricketers in the four-day first-class competition, not find a single alternate for some very dreadful failures?
These gentlemen are not thinking or have not been examining the cricket and its players with a sound eye of assessment required, of skills and ability, motivation and enthusiasm in order to appraise and calculate the value of the cricketers involved so that they will be penned into their notebook for future reference.
Hence, after that loss in England, they would observe the performances of Kieran Powell, Kyle Hope, Shane Dowrich, Jerome Taylor, Dudley Nurse, Devindra Bishoo and Miguel Cummins. The last named only played one Test so he can be given another turn and Raymon Reifer never played at all ergo he remains.
But surely out of the other six non-performers it must be possible to have sufficient players playing first-class cricket in the region to satisfy the selection committee to include at least a couple of them for the brief two Test tour, if only to encourage them!
One should always bear in mind that Browne’s policy, which he repeated many times, was that team players would be judged strictly on their performances and nothing else! I remember disagreeing with the chairman at the time, stating that there are times when a selector has to be able to judge a cricketer on his skill and the potential to perform which could be one game away.
However, one has to have a certain wisdom to understand this, and what is more, to psychologically weigh the different situations. Furthermore a hard and fast rule, like what Browne was espousing, did not always work out for the best in a team.
Nevertheless Browne has not stuck to his policy as he continues to choose those who are not producing! He ought to be informing the fans whether he has changed his thoughts; though I believe he would be too embarrassed to admit this flaw.
He never replaced his captain Jason Holder although he’s been a tremendous failure in this role. Holder is a good man to have on the team to bat at seven or eight and to use as a utility bowler, but they have strangled his potential with the weight of the captaincy.
It often makes me wonder if they know what they’re doing. I ask myself, who interviews these selectors? What are the questions they have to answer? What are their qualifications, one wonders, for instance their background in coaching, their successful experiences in selections at the first-class level, academic education, ability in psychological evaluation, personality, leadership qualities etc.
I am very aware that for the past few years the president of what is now Cricket West Indies (CWI) ‘Dave’ Cameron, controlled these matters when Clive Lloyd was named the chairman of selectors. Yet he was removed because he was a failure and the Windies teams were deteriorating rapidly; he was then replaced by Browne!
The main problem is the most lucrative fees that are paid to selectors so no selector is going to resign through failure. The other good reason is the CWI directors don’t have a clue of what is required to establish a decent team and just assume that the selectors know more than them, which they do, so they stick by their side.
There’s a relatively new CEO, an Englishman Johnny Grave who seems to have a sound cricketing background and is more of a players’ man as he was an administrative member of the players’ Union in England. Then there’s the new Director of Cricket, former West Indies captain Jimmy Adams, and a brand new coach in the Australian Stuart Law.
All fairly new, hopefully they recognise the need for new selectors or a fresh system for choosing teams. Browne and company have made a mess of the existing one.