Cricket West Indies missed a Golden Opportunity

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—welcome back Ronsford Beaton

The West Indies selectors and Cricket West Indies have selected Nicholas Pooran as the replacement for retired captain, Kieron Pollard. Pooran had been Pollard’s deputy, so his selection did not come as a great surprise.

He is not a reluctant captain; he had made it quite obvious that he wanted the job. While he is not a great tactician, he has shown a willingness to learn on the job. We wish him well in what is always a challenging undertaking. His first order of business is to motivate the team to start producing the goods more consistently. In short, he has to start by doing what none of the captains since Darren Sammy has done—get the players to play as a team.

That task would be made less daunting if the selectors give him a squad to work with. The selectors have to decide whether they are going to select the best available squad or will be sidetracked by the controversial fitness criterion and other non-cricketing factors. They also have to decide whether they are going to continue to select players who clearly do not want to play for their country. Finally, they have to dispense with the foolhardy practice of confining players to one format or the other.

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For example, Obed McCoy, Rovman Powell and Alzari Joseph should be playing both ODIs and T20s and Jayden Seales and Jermaine Blackwood should be playing the shorter formats. And, of course, Hetmyer and Rutherford ought to be given their rightful places in the squads.

Having said the above, we still feel that Cricket West Indies missed a golden opportunity to take our cricket in another direction. In choosing Pooran, the have conservatively opted for more of the same. After three decades of doing the same thing over and over with the same results, it is time to think outside the box. It is for that reason that we preferred Hetmyer.

Despite his obvious rough edges, he appears more than the others to be a student of the game. That quality coupled with his aggression make him the almost ideal leader for the moment. For those who wonder about his immaturity, just look at how being part of his IPL franchise’s Think Tank has lifted his game.

On another note, the Guyana selectors have announced the squad for the last three rounds of the regional First-Class competition. It is heartening to see Ronsford Beaton and Kevin Sinclair back in the fray. Beaton last played for Guyana six years ago when he was sidelined for a suspect action. It was a cruel interruption to a promising career—he was then one of the best fast bowlers in the region. It is understood that he was cleared since 2018, but obviously the powers that be showed no faith in him. Let us hope that he resumes from where he left off—at age 30, he is still a young man.

Kevin Sinclair is a serious young cricketer who was given a bad deal by Cricket West Indies. After playing a few matches for the West Indies, he was mysteriously banished. Clearly the decision-makers took a conscious decision to invest in Akeal Hosein and did not want any competition around. We feel the Guyanese selectors also erred in not selecting him for the first two rounds of the current competition.

While the squad is fairly well balanced, Christopher Barnwell must feel hard done. It was hoped that Chairman Seeram would have overturned the decision by Sarwan to retire Barnwell from First Class cricket. It was and is a premature decision—he is still one of the country’s best batters and he is producing. Finally, we hope that Hemraj and Paul perform well and force their way back into the West Indies setup



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