Harper refutes 'team selection' report
Stabroek News
March 10, 2003

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West Indies coach Roger Harper is refuting a Stabroek News story which suggested that he was not involved in team selection during the 2003 World Cup cricket competition now underway in South Africa.

The story under the headline `I was not involved in team selection' with a strapline - Says outgoing coach Roger Harper - appeared in Sunday's issue of Stabroek News.

Stating emphatically that he was a part of the tour selection, Harper disclosed that the tour selectors comprised himself, Sir Vivian Richards, West Indies captain Carl Hooper and vice-captain Ridley Jacobs.

Harper stated that the headline was misleading in that it gave the impression that he was not involved in the selection of teams for the West Indies' preliminary games of the 2003 World Cup competition which he said is untrue.

"What I said was on tour we had Sir Vivian Richards, chairman of the West Indies selectors who chaired the selection committee meetings on tour. The selectors decided on what they thought was the best eleven for each game," Harper said.

Harper said he never stated or implied that he was not a part of the tour selection process.

He pointed out that as West Indies team coach, he "was involved in every selection decision made on the tour and prior to that."

Harper also clarified other parts of the story which he felt were unclear if not misleading.

The former West Indies all-rounder had advocated in the interview, that for future World Cup tournaments the organisers should set aside reserve days for matches affected by the weather.

Should those reserve days be used then Harper is suggesting that the match should be continued from where it was adjourned rather than be restarted.

On the question of Wavell Hinds' suitability as a future West Indies captain Harper said what he in fact said was: "That is something that will have to be looked at."

And on the question of Sarwan's injury in the game against Sri Lanka Harper refuted saying: "It was a gettable total and further, we had at least three more recognisable batsmen at the crease."

What he actually said was: "We had adequate batting to get the job done."

Harper also refuted the statement which said that Hooper was already on the field when Sarwan was struck.

He said what he did say was that: "Hooper went out to the middle about three minutes before Sarwan was actually removed from the field and as such may have been distracted."

On the question why wicketkeeper Ridley Jacobs was sent before Ricardo Powell, Harper said what he did say was: "It was felt at the time that the team needed a partnership and that Jacobs, with his experience was chosen to provide it."

He also declared that he never said anything about the retirement of Jacobs only that.... "wicketkeepers must not only be able to keep wicket but to bat well and that was what is lacking in the young wicketkeepers in the region."

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