Azeemul Haniff should have been included in the Guyana side
Stabroek News
October 11, 2001

Dear Editor,

The National Cricket Selectors met recently and called a squad of about 30 players for trials for the Red Stripe limited overs competition. This squad was further reduced to eighteen. Having done this, it is reasonable to assume that minus the test players, the rest of the side would be selected according to their performances in the two trial matches that followed. This also means that all of the players had an even chance of getting into the squad, based on their performances in the trial matches. Azeemul Haniff proved to be the best batsman in the two matches. With scores of 71 and 84 not out, it meant that he scored the most runs and had the highest average. What are the reasons for leaving him out of the squad?

When the selectors reduced the squad to eighteen players they knew that these players were preparing to play in a limited overs tournament, so it is absolute nonsense to put a player in the eighteen, knowing he is not fit for limited overs cricket. According to reports, this is the only reason for leaving out Haniff. Himself and Hooper put together a partnership of 188 runs at L.B.I. ground in the final trial match. Hooper's contribution was about 107, which meant that Haniff contribution was a very good effort. Hooper can outscore the best batsman in the world in his day, much less Haniff.

It's been a long time since the Guyanese selectors felt he is not good enough for limited overs cricket. The West Indies selectors felt the opposite. The WI selectors selected him to open against the touring Indian 'A' side in the Caribbean for a limited overs series and he proved to be the best batsman in the side. He also played for the WI under 19 team against a WI all stars team while included the likes of Sherwin Campbell and Ian Bishop and others, at the Everest ground. This was a limited overs encounter and Haniff duly responded by copping the "Man of the match award". They must bear in mind that Haniff recently toured with a WI Senior Team for a limited overs series in Kenya. If the selectors feel that certain players are not good for certain type of cricket, why call them to trials.

It is also felt that performances at trials are being taken into account when selecting the team. No one will say that it is so because Haniff would have been in the side.

In the Stabroek News issue of October 31st 1997 I wrote a letter about Haniff Sarwan and Gonsalves. Sarwan is presently playing for the West Indies, Haniff made a tour with the WI and I did say that Gonsalves did not have the technique to be an opening batsman. He may even get a century when we go to Jamaica but I will maintain he is playing the wrong sport. Our selectors need to change their policy and I would like to see more cricket writers in Guyana express their view on this omission of Haniff.

Yours faithfully,

Supeharran Rampersaud