By Neto Baptiste
Cricket West Indies (CWI) lead selector Roger Harper has come under fire from three former legendary West Indies cricketers, following statements regarding the recent selections heading into the senior men’s tour of Bangladesh slated to start this month.
Harper, in seeking to justify a number of the selections for both the ODI and Test squads, used the terminology of “horses for courses” as he sought to explain why some players were considered and others were not.
Former successful fast bowler Sir Curtly Ambrose who claimed 405 wickets in 98 Tests, believes the situation presented an opportunity for young fast bowlers to benefit from the experience of having to bowl in adverse conditions while questioning the need to laden the team with spinners that are similar in nature.
“You’ve got at least three or four spinners where, apart from [Rahkeem] Cornwall, you have [Veerasammy] Permaul, you’ve got Kavem Hodge and you’ve got [Jomel] Warrican and all three of them are left-arm spinners. They left out Chemar Holder which, to me, doesn’t make any sense and according to lead selector Roger Harper, he said something about horses for courses and that I can’t agree with,” he said.
“Now, if you’re going to tell me that when you go to certain nations to play and because of certain conditions you are going to select certain players, then how are these young guys to develop and become better bowlers? You have to learn to bowl in any condition anywhere across the globe,” he added.
Sir Curtly received support from another former fast bowler and the first Antiguan to feature for the regional squad Sir Andy Roberts, who called on Harper to explain his statement.
“He would have to come and explain what he means by that because you have to play under any condition and you just cannot say it is going to take spin in Bangladesh because I think the last time West Indies had success there that Tino Best and I think Fidel Edwards bowled Bangladesh out, so you laden your team with left-armers and you are leaving out the young fast bowlers. If you are going to pick horses for courses then Kemar Roach should not have gone to Bangladesh; you pick the youngster who will doing the bulk of the bowling and who has a little more pace than Kemar Roach,” the former player said.
Former captain and legendary batsman Sir Vivian Richards supported the former fast bowlers, stating that a number of those selected have been tried and tested.
“Permaul, he has been tried and tested so many times now and it is so clear what Curtly would have said and Andy in connection with the wickets in these parts of the world where these guys now and not just depending on spinners, but they are looking now to beef up their pace attack so they are looking for wickets that could be conducive to that sort of attack. So it is a foolish thought in my opinion to say these sort of stuff. We took people like young Malcolm Marshall to India and these guys were successful,” he said.
Twelve players, including Test captain Jason Holder, declined to take part in the upcoming tour of Bangladesh due to health concerns.
Joining Holder in making themselves unavailable for the tour are vice-captain Roston Chase, T20 captain Kieron Pollard, Darren Bravo, Shamarh Brooks, Sheldon Cottrell, Evin Lewis, Shai Hope, Shimron Hetmyer, and Nicholas Pooran. Fabian Allen and Shane Dowrich will be unavailable because of personal reasons.
The tour is set for January 10 to February 11.
Test Squad: Kraigg Brathwaite (captain), Jermaine Blackwood (vice-captain), Nkrumah Bonner, John Campbell, Rahkeem Cornwall, Joshua Da Silva, Shannon Gabriel, Kavem Hodge, Alzarri Joseph, Kyle Mayers, Shayne Moseley, Veerasammy Permaul, Kemar Roach, Raymon Reifer and Jomel Warrican
ODI Squad: Jason Mohammed (captain), Sunil Ambris (vice-captain), Nkrumah Bonner, Joshua Da Silva, Jahmar Hamilton, Chemar Holder, Akeal Hosein, Alzarri Joseph, Kyle Mayers, Andre McCarthy, Kjorn Ottley, Rovman Powell, Raymon Reifer, Romario Shepherd and Hayden Walsh Jr.