Selectoral inconsistency at its best
by Colin Croft
May 23, 2000
A quick review of the West Indies cricket team selected for the tour of the United Kingdom in the English summer would suggest some confusion and perhaps not a continuing progression from the selectors for some recently tried players.
The newly re-appointed selection team of Michael Findlay, "Joey" Carew and Joel Garner, supposedly aided and abetted by the team's coach, Roger Harper and even the captain, Jimmy Adams, while perhaps trying to introduce even more new names and players, have confounded many with some of their selections.
Lest you forget, those selected for that long tour of the United Kingdom are:
Jimmy Adams (captain), Sherwin Campbell, Adrian Griffith, Brian Lara, Wavell Hinds, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Chris Gayle, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Ridley Jacobs, Curtly Ambrose, Courtney Walsh, Reon King, Franklyn Rose, Nixon McLean, Corey Collymore and Mahendra Nagamootoo.
As this article is being written, there is also rampant rumour that the original 16 man squad could be extended by as many as three additional players, with Merv Dillon, Ricardo Powell or Sylvester Joseph, and perhaps Courtney Brown, Wayne Phillips or Vishal Nagamootoo, these last three being wicket-keepers, being mentioned.
A quick look at those already selected would suggest that this team already has one absolutely obvious deficiency. So far, only one wicket-keeper, Ridley Jacobs, has been selected.
With his present less than even average form with the bat, while still rather competent with the gloves, there is no doubt that help will be required for Jacobs during that long tour.
The West Indies will play eight three-day games and two practice one-day games outside of the five five-day Tests and at least six one-day internationals on this tour.
To compound this absolute folly on the part of the selectors for such a long tour, they, in the guise of their chairman, Michael Findlay, have suggested that "if needed", Jimmy Adams, with his bad knees, the knees which have to be iced now every other day or so just so he can run and bat a bit, will be used as the second 'keeper.
Further, these "wise men" have added that "if Adams is not able to do the job" (of course he cannot!!), then Wavell Hinds, who has never kept for his home team, Jamaica, will be used. I have heard some garbage in West Indies cricket, but it gets worse every day!!
I even have a further suggestion along these lines. Since we are being foolish, then perhaps we can use Shivnarine Chanderpaul to open the bowling in Tests and use Reon King as the No. 3 batsman. That should go nicely along the lines of the thoughts of these selectors. They have absolutely no foresight.
Now, another situation or two. In 1998, the West Indies took leg-spinner Dinanath Ramnarine to South Africa. When it was found early in that tour that he was not fit enough and should not have even boarded the airplane at Piarco, another supposed leg-spinner, Rawl Lewis, was called up from India to take his place. At least he was fit, but he too was useless.
For the 1999 tour of New Zealand, Ramnarine, now supposedly fit and ready, did contribute well enough, but was dropped. So, now, we take a third leg-spinner, Mahendra Nagamootoo, to the United Kingdom. Yet everyone wonders why is it that a "genuinely good" spinner has not been developed by the West Indies recently. If I have to explain that to you, stop reading now.
Finally, Ricardo Powell, who was described by the selectors and especially Findlay, as "one of our young bright stars of the future," has not been selected for this tour where he really could have learned how to bat properly. Many cricketing educators would suggest that a tour of the United Kingdom, which would entail so much cricket, is the absolutely best place and period to upgrade anyone's cricket, especially a young man with so much potential.
At least, Ramnaresh Sarwan has been selected, and he has already shown that he is ready. We also wait to see if Brian Lara would be really ready.
Maybe I am mad, but if some of this is not inconsistency at its best, then I am not me.