By Neto Baptiste
Former West Indies and Leeward Islands fast bowler Kenneth Benjamin, believes that rather than omitting players over situations that could be easily resolved, Cricket West Indies’ (CWI) lead selector Roger Harper and his team should find reasons to select players rather than to omit them.
The Antiguan, who claimed 92 wickets in 26 Tests, made the disclosure while condemning the manner in which Harper handled the omission of Nevisian and Leeward Islands batsman Kieran Powell from the team set to tour Bangladesh starting this month.
“Powell could have been selected based on the fitness results because of the situation with so many guys dropping out and I have always said that as a coach or a selector that you must find a reason to select a guy and not one why you should not select him and in this instance, Roger Harper found a reason not to select Powell. If you believe Powell deserves his place in the team then select the guy because the team is still here and say that based on his fitness he will be part of the team so they could have done that and let him do the test because this is nonsensical,” he said.
Powell was surprisingly left out of a team even after 12 first team players including Test captain Jason Holder, declined to take part in the upcoming tour of Bangladesh due to health concerns.
The omission of the opening batsman comes even after being the highest runs scorer in the previous season of the Cricket West Indies Super50 tournament when he chalked up 524 runs with a high score of 121 not out. He also had two 50s and two 100s.
Benjamin said he does not buy into the reasoning given by Harper for Powell’s omission.
“A guy did a fitness test a year ago and you haven’t tested him since then and you’re now saying that he hasn’t been selected [because of fitness]. This is 2021 and I am hoping that people are going to be more straightforward and stop running around the whole thing,” he said.
The tour of Bangladesh is set for January 10 to February 11.