Assessing how Guyanese players have gotten a raw deal by Chairman of Selectors Clive Lloyd
Dear Sports Editor,
Ever since the India tour pull-out the talk of the Caribbean has been the obvious victimization towards Trinidad & Tobago players Dwayne Bravo & Kieron who were left out the World Cup squad and their recent non-selection in one-day squad for Sri Lanka tour due to “outside influences” as coach Simmons termed it, further solidified this belief.
Add the spurious reasons Denesh Ramdin was removed as test captain prematurely for Jason Holder & cricket fans of the twin-island republic have every reasons to feel that non-cricketing reasons are behind the WICBs and selectors treatment towards the trio.
However, Guyana has many reasons to feel that its players have also got a raw deal namely: Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Veerasammy Permaul, Leon Johnson and Rajendra Chandrika.
When Clyde Butts was chairman of selectors alongside Jamaican Robert Hayne, the common viewpoint among cricket analysts was that since they were not great cricketers – it comprised his ability to be a competent selector.
Sadly though, ever since the aforementioned India tour despite having Clive Lloyd and Courtney Walsh as new selectors whose cricketing background doesn’t need explaining – things have become equally bad.
Let us begin with Chanderpaul. Admittedly at the time I was in favour of Chanderpaul not being selected for the Australia tour for two reasons: Firstly his form in series versus South Africa and England looked bad enough to suggest giving him a farewell two test against a very strong Australian pace attack would have been a bad idea.
Also around the time coach Simmons had began to have conversations with Windies IPL stars who under the previous selection panel were not always picked for the longer format, to clarify their availability for tests.
We now know Simmons noble gesture and vision to want the best players playing for West Indies across all formats isn’t in sync with the selectors’ strange thinking. Therefore if before the Australia tour it was clear players like Chris Gayle, Dwayne Bravo, Sunil Narine, Kieron Pollard, Andre Russell and Lendl Simmons were not going to be available – then giving Chanderpaul his farewell tests was deserved.
This would have been more logical than picking Shane Dorwich who bats at number six as a wicket-keeper batsman for Barbados, to bat at number four in a test match against Australia. Madness.
Who knows maybe the “Tiger” could have defied his bad form and made runs and he could have been involved in the Sri Lanka series.
Leon Johnson also must wonder what he did wrong. On the South Africa tour he averaged 33.60 – only Marlon Samuels and Kraigg Brathwaite were better. Before that in one test versus Bangladesh as a make-shift opener he averaged 53. How he has not played a test after that is foolishness.
This brings me to poor Chandrika.
West Indies have a big problem now finding a steady opening partner for Brathwaite because Gayle has not played a test match since last September due to persistent back problems. Currently Shai Hope who impressed as a middle-order batsman last season is being wasted as an opener by the selectors.
Why was Chandrika, who never scored a first-class century, given a test debut? Then why after making a double-duck on debut was he not playing in the first test in Sri Lanka after Clive Lloyd and co chose to ridiculously retain him? This is one of the most crazy West Indies selectors in recent history and it’s unfortunate that Chandrika is being pushed into international cricket when he clearly is not good enough.
Finally Permaul. He was the leading wicket-taker in the 2014/15 domestic season and in the two test this year, his bowling was instrumental in helping West Indies to beat England in Barbados, while he had a poor tests versus Australia in Jamaica.
With Sunil Narine stating he is not 100% ready to play test cricket yet with his remodeled action, Permaul clearly was the most deserving spinner to tour Sri Lanka as replacement.
The situations highlight a major problem with Lloyd and the current selection panel. It is well known that the West Indies 4-day competition is crap, one season of the new Professional cricket league won’t change that.
When picking West Indies teams one can’t just judge domestic performances statistically only – we need selectors who can think out the box and identify players who look like they have the required acumen for international cricket.
Not because spinners take a ridiculous amount of wickets every season mean all of them are international standard. Bajan Jomel Warrican who was chosen ahead of Permaul is no different to Nikita Miller or Suliemann Benn – average left-arm spinners who don’t turn the ball. Lloyd also defended Warrican’s selection, so why then not play him in first test?
It’s illogical to tour Sri Lanka on spinner friendly surfaces and play one spinner in a five-man attack.
Whether he realizes or not, Lloyd his doing a great disservice to his countrymen as chairman of selectors and from a larger West Indies perspective, his tenure is disconcertingly resembling that of former successful England captain Ray Illingworth – who when he was England selector in the 1990s failed miserably on the job.
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