By Neto Baptiste
A restructuring of the policy governing how players are selected for the various West Indies cricket teams will not improve the standard of the game and players across the region.
This was the candid assessment of former Antiguan, Combined Islands and West Indies fast bowler, Sir Andy Roberts, who opined that an improved selection policy will mean nothing if players are not good enough to perform at an elite level.
“When this administration came on board their first effort was to tackle the problem of selection but I am adamant that selection is not the problem. We need to have players to select and that is our biggest problem. We don’t have quality players at the moment and players have to develop themselves to become International players,” he said.
“No, it’s not going to make a difference because we are going to be arguing over the same things like who from Barbados should play, who from Trinidad should play or who from Guyana should play. If we have good players who pick themselves then you won’t have that problem,” he added.
Sir Andy, who claimed 202 wickets in 47 Tests and an additional 87 in 56 One Day International matches, believes the focus should be on development and ensuring that all territories within the region conduct programmes strictly monitored by Cricket West Indies.
“They need to have a programme that is carried out in Guyana, in Jamaica, St. Martin, in Dominica and everywhere the same policy should be carried out. The same standard of development, the same method of development should apply to each territory and that is what is required. I don’t think we have ever sat down and come up with a development plan that is going to be carried out throughout. If they do have one then let them raise their hands and say that yes, we do have one,” the former player said.
West Indies has had a dismal start to their title defense in the ICC T20 World Cup ongoing in the UAE and Oman, losing their first two matches in Group 1 before rebounding to beat Bangladesh in their third fixture.
Sir Andy said our players are too one dimensional and have not evolved with the game.
“Our players are not adopting to T20 cricket by trying to rotate the strike like most other teams do. We depend purely on power hitting and that is not carrying us through. Adaptation plays a very big role in cricket and especially in batting because you have to adapt to the surface you’re paying on and you have to know when it’s time to hit and when it’s time to work the ball,” he said.
West Indies selectors came under pressure following the announcement of the T20 squad in September with pundits and fans questioning the selection of some veteran players.