Twenty-five Windians for the immediate future

by Colin Croft
Stabroek News
February 23, 2000

In just under a month's time, on March 16, to be exact, Zimbabwe start their historic first Test series against the West Indies with the 1st Test at the Queen's Park Oval, in Trinidad & Tobago.

Before that could happen, though, a West Indies cricket team, the first for a Test in the new millennium, must be selected.

The chairman of West Indies team selectors, Michael Findlay, has suggested that he and his committee has been given "the green light" to select 20 players, a squad, if you like, to participate in a short but ultra intensive camp just before that series begins.

This squad is supposed to contain the nucleus, if not the entire team, to oppose Zimbabwe in that first Test match. While woefully inadequate as a preparation situation, it is something of a start, so no real complaints here.

Complaints, though, could, probably would, come from everywhere when it comes to the composition of the 20 players. Of course, I have some suggestions. Some of these will probably be selected on present form and production, while others will be selected on potential. Yet others will be selected on proven experience, expertise and production, and a few, even on emotion. Expect some surprises, especially from the selectors. Shake-ups are necessary and expected.

Here, then, are those who should be considered.

Guyana - Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Reon King, Mahendra Nagamootoo, Vishal Nagamootoo and Ramnarace Sarwan (5)

Jamaica - Chris Gayle, Wavell Hinds, Ricardo Powell, Laurie Williams, Franklyn Rose and Courtney Walsh (6)

Trinidad and Tobago - Merv Dillon and Brian Lara (2)

The Leeward Islands - Curtly Ambrose, Wilden Cornwall, Ridley Jacobs, Kerry Jeremy, Sylvester Joseph and Runako Morton (6)

The Windward Islands - Nixon McLean (1)

Barbados - Sherwin Campbell, Adrian Griffith, Ryan Hinds, Dave Marshall and Philo Wallace (5)

If my mathematics is correct, that is a total of 25 players. There are two wicket-keepers, two leg-spinners, five opening batsmen, six fast bowlers and at least three genuine all-rounders, among this selection. The WICBselectors could do much worse than these.

You would notice that there is quite a removal from some of the tried, tested and failed names of the recent past. The time is ripe for some new names, some new blood. There are also some relics still retained, but this will be their last effort and opportunities, for varying reasons.

By the time you read this, the manager and coach could also have been selected.

My favourite for the manager's position is Tony King, the former Barbadian batsman. He has experience as a manager of Barbados, a victorious West Indies youth team in 1988 to the Youth World Cup in Australia, incidentally captained by Brian Lara, and has been an assistant manager to Clive Lloyd on a senior team tour.

The coach's position is easier to select, as only one person, Roger Harper of Guyana, really qualifies in my mind, though William Bourne, the coach of Barbados could also have a creditable mention. Harper has been the steady, regular and successful coach of the West Indies "A" team over the last several years. Add to that his thoughts on psychology and Harper will be a shoo-in for the selection as coach.

Brian Lara will be the captain, by default, despite his inability to gain any success so far with his team. There simply is no-one else.

The noises about the selections could now begin!!