Selectors come under microscope
By Tony Cozier
June 18, 2004
THE selection panel, headed by former Test captain Sir Viv Richards, comes under the microscope at the annual general meeting of the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) in Georgetown, Guyana, this weekend.
West Indies Players Association (WIPA) president Dinanath Ramnarine, who will represent the WIPA at the meeting, said yesterday he will further raise protests from some of its members against what they alleged were "threats, victimisation and unfair treatment" by Richards and fellow selectors Joey Carew and Gordon Greenidge.
The concerns had already been lodged in letters to WICB president Teddy Griffith, Ramnarine disclosed.
This is on top of an open disagreement between captain Brian Lara and the other three selectors over the team chosen for the first Test against Bangladesh in St.Lucia three weeks ago.
"The selection process is a democratic one," Lara wrote in his regular newspaper column after the exclusion of a specialist spinner that was his preference.
"This should be taken advantage of and hence more thought should be given by those contributing to the selection process."
Some WICB members are also known to be unhappy that Richards and Greenidge played in an international masters' match in Grenada during the recent England tour rather than attend simultaneous matches between England and the Carib Beer XI and the Carib Beer Series final between Barbados and Jamaica in Barbados.
Richards, Carew and Greenidge were appointed for a two-year term in 2002. All three have been nominated for re-election at the Georgetown meeting along with other reported contenders Clyde Butts, who has been nominated by the Guyana board, and Derek Parry, put forward by the Leeward Islands. Both are former West Indies off-spinners.
Ramnarine said the WIPA had been contacted "several times" by at least six players during the recent series against England and Bangladesh "with specific instances when they were verbally belittled and threatened in public by selectors". He added that some players reported that they were told they wouldn't ever be chosen again once the relevant selector was on the panel.
"We are not, in any way at all, dealing with the right of the selectors to drop a player for lack of performance, fitness or any other cricketing reason," he stated. "We understand they have a job to do and, as former Test players, we respect their judgement," he said. "But our members who have kept our phones busy spoke of outright intimidation by selectors. They felt that it could adversely affect their performance and that of the team."
Ramnarine revealed that players were concerned that the presence of selectors in the dressing room throughout a day's play and, sometimes, even throughout a match created undue pressure.
"They have asked for our support and guidance in this matter and, as their representatives, it is our responsibility to take it up with the board," Ramnarine said. "We consider it a very serious matter and will fight to ensure that the board does something about it," he added. "After all, the players' livelihoods are affected."
The former Trinidad and Tobago and West Indies leg-spinner retired last year to commit himself to the WIPA that he has headed for the past two years. "We are of the view that selection should be based on fair play and trust not on whim, caprice and a blatant miscue of authority," Ramnarine said.