Head coach of the Leeward Islands Hurricanes and former West Indies fast bowler, Winston Benjamin, said he was excluded from the process during the selection of the sub-region’s four-day training squad.
The Antiguan made the disclosure while speaking on the Good Morning Jojo Sports show, adding that although he was invited to the selection meeting, he was not allowed to vote or give his opinion on the players chosen.
“I was basically a spectator, so to speak, and having known the players and seeing what happened last year I thought that my contribution would have been part and parcel of the whole selection process, because as far as I know, I was a selector, but unfortunately in that meeting I didn’t understand what was going on as everything I said was objected to. At one point I just kept quiet,” he said.
Benjamin, who played 21 Tests and 85 One Day Internationals (ODI) for the senior regional squad, said he finds the policy “strange” adding that at the end of the day, it is his job on the line.
“Taking it up with them is not going to make it any different, if that is the policy of the board then that is the policy of the board. I just think that the policy is dictatorial, but who am I to do anything about that. It is said that it is the West Indies, CWI policy but if that is CWI policy I find it strange that you who’re on the ground have no say,” the coach said.
“What they are saying is that you sit in, you listen but you don’t have a vote and to me that didn’t really make any sense because if somebody doesn’t want to listen to what you’re saying then you are the one who is going to be in the firing line at the end of the day,” he added.
Legendary West Indies captain and a former Leeward Islands player, Sir Vivian Richards, labelled the practice an insult.
“Here you have Winston who was an accomplished Test match cricketer, an individual who would have played at the highest level and I guess that the guys who would have been sitting on that selection panel haven’t even maybe, played rubber ball cricket at some point, and I may be over-exaggerating here. It is sick man, and when you are going to tell me that it is the policy of the West Indies Cricket Board, that’s an insult to Winston,” he said.
The 15-member squad is yet to be released to the media, but it was said to have undergone a fitness test two weeks ago , and all 15 players failed to pass.