`I was not involved in team selection’
- says outgoing coach Roger Harper by Clyde Pestano
Stabroek News
March 9, 2003

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West Indies coach Roger Harper is of the view that rain affected matches are definitely an area of concern and is calling for provision to be made for reserve days for future World Cup tournaments.

Harper was coach of the West Indies team which failed to advance to the Super Six stage of the World Cup after rain forced them to share two points with lowly ranked Bangladesh.

Had there been a reserve day, the West Indies would have been through to the Super Sixes.

Harper added that not only should there be reserve days but when the match is continued it should begin from where it stopped rather than restarting the innings that was affected.

According to Harper, in one-days games the objective is to give both teams similar playing conditions so that neither is at a disadvantage.

The coach said in most of the day/night matches in the World Cup the team batting second experienced vastly different conditions that the one that batted first and were always at a disadvantage.

According to him that is not the objective of one day cricket but rather, both teams should have similar playing conditions.

He feels that if reserve days are factored in when planning future World Cups then the controversial Duckworth Lewis System may not be needed.

Asked about Carl Hooper’s captaincy during the tournament said that Hooper did a good job under the circumstances.

And about Wavell Hinds as future captain and a genuine all-rounder, Harper said: “Yes he can develop into a genuine all-rounder.”

And as captain? Harper had this to say:”If the selectors see him as a future captain then he should be probably appointed as vice captain so he can get a feel of what it is like seeing that some grooming may be necessary.”

Quizzed about the selection/non selection of players the coach explained that in the matches that were played it was the selectors who made the choices for the final eleven and that the selection or non selection of a player was a decision made by the selectors.

Questioned about Ramnaresh Sarwan’s injury on the field in their crucial match against Sri Lanka when the West Indies lost by six runs Harper said the West Indies should have won even with Sarwan being injured.

According to Harper... “It was a gettable total and further, we had at least three more recognized batsmen to come.”

Harper said Hooper, who was out LBW first ball, may have been distracted by Sarwan’s injury when he came out to bat since he was already on the field when Sarwan was struck.

Harper also spoke about a possible replacement for West Indies vice captain and wicket keeper Ridley Jacobs.

He does not see any “stand out” keepers in the West Indies at the moment to replace Jacobs and feels that a prospective wicket keeper must not only be able to keep wicket but also bat well and that is what is lacking in the young keepers in the region who may replace him when he retires.

Harper feels that the batting of the West Indies let them down tremendously except for the first match against South Africa. The coach said that the West Indies had come off of good series wins in India and Bangladesh and it was felt that on the basis of that they would have come into the tournament with their batsmen in some semblance of good batting form.

Asked why the dependable Shivnarine Chanderpaul was not allowed to open the batting much earlier, Harper reiterated that the selectors made the choice of continuing with the regular openers and that Gayle and Hinds had performed creditably in the previous two series so it was felt that they would have clicked at some point hence the decision to continue with them.

Harper also spoke about why Jacobs came in ahead of Ricardo Powell in that must win match against Sri Lanka and he explained that the selectors felt that at that time the team needed a partnership and with Jacob’s experience it was felt that he would have been able to get the job done.

Harper is of the view that even though the West Indies were knocked out of the World Cup, they are still a good team and will do well in the future.

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