By Neto Baptiste
Former West Indies and Antiguan fast bowler, Winston Benjamin, is calling for better management and a more technical approach regarding the utilisation of spinner Hayden Walsh Jr.
Speaking on the Good Morning Jojo Sports Show, Benjamin who made similar statements regarding the way former captain, Jason Holder had managed fast bowler Alzarri Joseph in the past, believes that the Antiguan spinner is not being given enough time to settle with the ball before he is replaced by captain, Kieron Pollard.
“My little knowledge of the cricket that I have played professionally for over 10 years tells me that a leg spinner likes to get into a groove. They are not going to come on in one over and hit the spot and then come off [for a long period] and on again and bowl a good over and I think that it is unfair to Hayden because it can mess with your psyche and we all know that once you’re not there mentally, you’re going to be a hit and miss as you go along,” he said.
“Hayden, in terms of cricket at that level, is young. He might not be so young in age but at that level in cricket he is young. Alzarri, in that scenario, is both young in age and cricket at that level, so I would want to see the powers that be, in terms of the technical people, to look at what is on and make some amendments to the handling of these youngsters,” he added.
The normally outspoken Benjamin has however commended Walsh for what he has labelled “tremendous improvements” in his game over the past year.
“Hayden has developed tremendously, not only skill wise but mentally, and that, to me, was Hayden’s weakness in the past. Mentally, I think he has grown and I would just say to Hayden, continue to work hard on your game and continue to work on your batting as well, think more about rotating the ball instead of everything has to be power,” the former Leeward Islands coach said.
Benjamin, who claimed 61 wickets in 21 Tests for the West Indies between 1987 and 1995, also drew reference to how Guyanese batsman, Shimron Hetmyer, is being handled.
“I am just now sorry for Hetmyer in the way in which he is being handled. Jason Mohammed from Trinidad who is a part time spinner and Mohammed is bowling before Hayden. I look at these things from a professional and not a national standpoint so that is why I can mention Hetmyer and the way he is being handled. I don’t know the reason for that but he is one of our more talented players and if I was to say anything to Hetmyer it would be that it is not every ball that you are supposed to try and hit for four,” he said.
Walsh was named Man of the Series for his haul of 12 wickets across the five matches during the recent T20 series against Australia. The Antiguan also had a five-wicket haul when he featured in the first ODI against the visitors in Barbados.