Wednesday, April 10, 2013




By Andre E Baptiste




                       ---- SINS OF OMMISSION IN CRICKET ----




There is little doubt that the job of a selector in any sport, is a tedious ad unforgiving role, with many in disagreement with the selectors’ choices, particularly when with hindsight, the choices prove to be wrong. As a result, the three West Indians who selected the 30 member preliminary squad for the ICC Champions Trophy in England from June were always going to annoy more than satisfy.
However , there are some decisions that are inexcusable , whatever the sport, and in this case , there are two names missing from this CRICKET squad list , that should cause many to shake their collective heads and say “ No ! No !”. 
Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Shane Shillingford are without doubt, two quality players in the region who are automatic choices for the test team. But strangely both have been omitted from this squad and that makes no logical choice, even if logic and selection are not worthy bedfellows.
Shillingford continues to demonstrate his variety and quiet confidence in his bowling, and when you watch him bowl against Zimbabwe and also in the regional four day series, there is clear evidence that he is at the top of his game. While it may be acceptable to dismiss Shillingford’s claim for a place on a Regional T 20 squad, there is little doubt that 10 overs from Shillingford in a 50 over match will be a different perspective. And whether or not, he was to be selected in the final 15 is another discussion, but there is absolutely no way that Veerasammy Permaul should be selected ahead of Shillingford in the 30 member squad. While Permaul may be younger, and a long term investment, he has looked incapable of control and class in the shorter version of the game. All of this cannot be good for Shillingford’s confidence, unless the Chairman of the selectors Clyde Butts spoke to him on the matter. If this was not done, then this is just more of the despicable tendency that exists in West Indies cricket.
Chanderpaul,  should be on merit selected on any squad of 30 for limited overs, his pedigree and experience must mean something rather than nothing and I find it particularly disturbing that men such as Butts, Robert Haynes and Courtney Browne who should know better, have allowed themselves to look like fools yet again in regards to Chanderpaul’s non selection. History has shown that Limited overs cricket requires a period of consolidation and patience in many instances. The dates of swashbuckling hitting from the start in the 50 overs game was extinguished with the birth and growth of T20 cricket over six years ago.  Therefore it seems a sin and one that has to have been well calculated if not efficiently manipulated by those empowered with the responsibility of selectors for the Caribbean.
I would hope and pray that there was no other person influencing the thought process of the three selectors. Perhaps, it has been stated by some that Chanderpaul’s documented differences with West Indies coach Otis Gibson has finally returned to bite this loyal lefthander. Recently on Isports on i95.5fm, none of the cricketing guests, Former West Indies player Rajindra Dhanraj and Former Trinidad and Tobago player Andre Lawrence was lost for words as regards the omission of Shillingford and Chanderpaul. The problem is they were not alone, because when the telephone lines were opened, none of the forty odd callers could explain this sinful omission either.
Therefore, it would appear that the election of Dave Cameron to the post of President of the West Indies Cricket Board will have no effect on transparency and accountability if such idle selection thoughts can be allowed to continue without questioning. If Cameron was his own man, he would ensure that through his Chief Executive Officer Michael Muirhead that the selectors face the media and explain their penchant for errors in judgement.
Even as many shake their collective heads, Shillingford continues to capture wickets in the regional 50 over series, adding six more leeward Islands batsmen to his growing haul of wickets on Sunday for his team the Windward Islands.
Our selectors must attempt to stop deciding on the career paths for our cricketers without giving them a fair and honest trial. It is these tribulations that lead many youngsters to become fed up with sports. In a year, when there will most likely be only two tests matches for the West Indies between November 2012 to November 2013, are we saying to both Shillingford and Chanderpaul, that is it for you, that will be your only income, while less talented and perhaps less dedicated players are allowed to achieve greater financial wealth through 50 overs and T20 cricket. Something has to be wrong with this thinking, but the question is can we trust –Dave Cameron – to find a solution, or will he just turn a blind eye. Let us watch and observe Cameron carefully, as I am not very confident for the future.
:: AB

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