GCB was obligated to name Sarwan captain
Living Cricket
By Imran Khan
Stabroek News
September 25, 2003

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In a recent article for this newspaper I had selected a 14-man squad which in my estimation was the best combination to represent Guyana at this year’s Red Stripe Bowl starting in Antigua next month. The Guyana selectors named 13 of the 14 players I had put together.

Instead of the Berbice all rounder Damodar Dasrat, the selectors opted to continue with the floundering Travis Dowlin.

The argument may very well be that Dowlin is a more experienced player and Dasrat has not done much to demand selection. Fair enough, as Dasrat could have virtually selected himself if he had dominated in the El Dorado Inter-County Championship. But one would have thought that at least two or three trial matches would have been played among the top performers to test them away from the rigors and pressures of the win-at-all-costs Inter County.

Whatever the reason for not having national trial matches, it is a pity that they were not held.

Neither Dowlin, nor the selectors, can point to any recent performances which can enhance his case for a Guyana selection. Let us hope that it is not politics being played as the Berbicians and Essequibians already know that they have to do twice as much as a Demerara player to get into the national squad.

However, this gaffe is not the headliner on the sports pages. It is the fact that Shiv Chanderpaul has been named Guyana captain when the world thought that his junior, but West Indies Vice Captain Ronnie Sarwan was a shoo-in for the job.

Cricket commentator and journalist Sean Devers has come under fire for making it public that his sources told him that Sarwan was nominated for the captaincy by the Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) selection committee. Devers claims that the recommendation was not ratified by the GCB and Chanderpaul was chosen to lead instead.

The GCB subsequently claimed that Devers’ information was false. I am fairly confident that Devers must have been absolutely convinced that whatever information he received was credible. Perhaps Devers was misinformed or duped, as I seriously doubt that he would deliberately fabricate such a story just to see Sarwan named captain.

As a result of the GCB declaration, there is no worthy information to suggest that the selection panel of Joe Solomon, Lennox Hunte and Alfred Maycock did not in fact submit Chanderpaul’s name. Since that appears to be the case, then the selection panel has clearly blundered given the prevailing circumstances.

Sarwan, under the new and refreshed guard of Brian Lara has been named vice captain. Unlike what the GCB would want us to believe, it is not another frivolous decision as was the case previously with others appointed to the position.

This is what the West Indies Cricket Board said of their decision to appoint Sarwan.

“Sarwan’s performances on and off the field should ensure him a long future in West Indies cricket and this appointment is viewed as developmental with an eye to the future. The WICB feels very confident about this appointment and Sarwan will be exposed to a leadership training to assist him in his new role”

“WITH AN EYE TO THE FUTURE.” Those are strong words of commitment towards a long term engagement. Both Ridley Jacobs and Wavell Hinds, with whom the GCB would like to equate Sarwan’s appointment, were made on the basis of series-to-series. This is not the case with Sarwan, he is in as vice captain for the long haul and there is no question about it.

Commenting on his new appointment, Sarwan was at pains to point out that he is woefully lacking in experience as a captain. He made it clear that he needs to gain the invaluable experience of being Guyana captain before he moves to the next level.

While Ridley Jacobs is on his last lap in the senior team and Wavell Hinds does not yet command a firm place in the squad, Sarwan is a fixture in the middle order. It is specifically because of this that he has leapfrogged the other contenders to the second in command of the West Indies team.

Our nationalistic pride will always cause us to want our respective countries to prevail in the regional competitions but above all else the greater good and the ultimate cause is West Indies cricket. Therefore, as a result, the Guyana selectors and the GCB, given the WICB’s long term investment in Sarwan were obligated to name him Guyana captain.

The GCB’s argument of Chanderpaul’s ascendancy being a natural progression from being long time vice captain is of no consequence when Sarwan is now, and from all indications for a long time to come, the West Indies second in command.

One must pity Chanderpaul though, for he continues to get the short end of the leadership stick at all levels. But that is the way the dice rolls for some people. Perhaps it is a myth but from watching Chanderpaul in the field one just gets the impression that he prefers to bypass the pains and strategizing of captaincy and just bat, bat and bat some more.