Allow me to respond to a letter penned by Mr Ricky Lowe which appeared in yesterday’s edition of the Kaieteur News accusing me of being ‘disrespectful’ to former West Indies Captain Guyanese Clive Lloyd, who is the only man to lead the West Indies to three successive World Cup finals; winning the first two in 1975 & 1979.
Mr Lloyd is a cricketing icon and I would never dream of being critical of his tremendous achievements as a one of the greatest players this Country has produced or of his work as an ICC official or West Indies team Manager.
My comments about Mr Lloyd were made solely in his capacity as Chairman of the West Indies Selectors. I fully agree with Mr Lowe that ‘Lloyd’s credentials (on the field and in the dressing room) speak for themselves’
I also agree with Mr Lowe that Mr Lloyd one of the most successful Test captains ever. He captained the West Indies between 1974 and 1985 and during his captaincy West Indies registered 27 consecutive Tests without defeat, which included 11 wins in succession (Viv Richards acted as captain for one of the 27 matches, against Australia at Port of Spain in 1983–84).
Lloyd was the first West Indian player to earn 100 international caps and yes I agree with you Mr Lowe, those accolades can never be tarnished.
However, as a Selector Mr Lloyd is helping to destroy the rapidly declining image of West Indies Cricket by not picking the best team for the ICC showpiece event which is held once every four years.
When Lloyd led a team to the Kerry Packer World series for better wages in 1978, the players who went to that series were all banned by the WICB. However, knowing that World Cup, watched by a global audience, was important to the image of West Indies cricket they rescinded the ban and picked their best team for the 1979 World Cup.
The team Lloyd has picked now is not our best team and even ICC Associate team Ireland, registered their first ever victory against the West Indies on Sunday night.
In my article I said when Lloyd replaced Dwayne Bravo as West Indies 50-over Skipper with 23-year-old Rookie Jason Holder for the One-Day series in South Africa and for ICC World Cup, that selection raised eyebrows.
Holder was appointed Captain because Lloyd feels he is a good leader although he never captained any team at any Regional contest before and had played just 21 ODIs without reaching 25 or claiming a five-wicket haul for the West Indies.
The 31-year-old Bravo has two centuries and 10 fifties from 164 ODIs in addition to taking 199 wickets with a best of 6-43. Andre Russell has four fifties and 53 wickets from 44 ODIs but was selected ahead of the T&T pair.
Michael Holding and Colin Croft, who were both part of Lloyd’s invincible team in the 1980s, both expressed the same view that Bravo should have been selected and that Holder’s appointment could destroy his career.
I also told the public that Pollard is 27 and has three tons and seven fifties and 44 wickets in his 91 ODIs and Lloyd’s justification of performances does not reflect a fair picture for the two cricketers (Pollard and Bravo), as they are fourth and fifth on the list of highest run-scorers for West Indies since the 2011 World Cup.
I added in my article that Lloyd maybe forgot he told the world that the West Indies is moving forward in a new direction with the emphasis on picking young players who has performed in West Indies cricket.
Yet 32-year-old Jamaican left-arm spinner Nikita Miller, who turns 33 in May, has replaced Sunil Narine in the World Cup squad ahead of Guyana’s Veerasammy Permaul whose 11 wickets is just one less than Narine, who finished as the top wicket-taker in the recent NAGICO Super50 competition in Trinidad & Tobago.
The 25-year-old Permaul bowls the same left-arm orthodox as Miller and is also the leading bowler in the Four-Day Franchise, while Miller is ninth on the list of Most Wickets with six. He is also six places behind Permaul in the four-day version, so Lloyd is contradicting what he says with what he does by picking Miller instead of Permaul.
So Mr Lowe I don’t see how I have disrespected Mr Lloyd’s contribution as a great West Indian player.
For those who feel that way I offer my profound apologies and as I explained my former Sports Editor at Stabroek News Donald Duff, who taught me a lot when I was a young cricket writer back in the 1990s, I was not attacking Lloyd as a player but just pointing his double standards and strange decisions as Chairman of the WICB Selectors.
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