Jan 14, 2021 Sports
By Sean Devers
Kaieteur News – Sir Anderson Montgomery Everton Roberts said he does not like the make of the West Indies team sent to Bangladesh for the two-Test and three ODIs series which starts with the first ODI next Wednesday.
“I don’t like the like the make-up of the team. Over the last week or so I have been hearing some things and I just cannot believe those words were uttered by the Chairman of the selectors (Roger Harper) saying they are picking horses for courses.
Can you tell me which of those horses have ran before and how have they placed?
I think that’s because they are taking three spinners and a batsman who can bowl spin,” said the Antiguan who turns 70 on January 29, while speaking on the Mason & Guest Radio programme in Barbados.
“I cannot just say the fast bowlers will not do well in Bangladesh because the last time West Indies toured Bangladesh we won the Test match with pace.
Pace beats anything despite where you are because the ball does not come off the pitch quicker than it is delivered.
If we look back to days of West Indies cricket and the days of Wes Hall, he got 30 wickets in India.
I got 32 wickets in India and 12 in Pakistan and the last time I went to India Malcolm Marshall and Michael Holding both took over 30 wickets, so fast bowlers could do well in the sub-continent.
I am very disappointed that we left young (Chemar) Holder out of the Test squad. We could have taken Holder and leave home veteran (Kemar)
Roach,’’ said Roberts who became a West Indies selector in July 2006.
Roberts who took 202 wickets from 47 Tests including 11-five-wicket hauls and twice captured 10 wickets in a match, still thinks Roach is the best pacer in the West Indies but reasoned that if you are picking horses for courses and you need to make space for the 22-year-old Holder then he would pick the fresher horse.
Asked to make a prediction and the result of the series, the father figure in the fearsome quartet which included Holding, Garner and Croft said he won’t say West Indies will win or lose because cricket is a game of glorious uncertainty but believed if the guys play to the best of their ability they stand a chance.
“I won’t be surprised if they lose nor I won’t be surprised if they win. Maybe, just maybe… one or two of these guys might play above expectations,” said Roberts who played 56 ODIs and captured 889 wickets from 228 First-Class matches between 1970 and 1984.
Roberts, who along with Richie Richardson and Curtly Ambrose were knighted on February 28, 2014, said he is disappointed with the state of West Indies cricket.
Asked if he thinks that we can do better, Roberts said that the players will have to work harder for us to do better and that is where our problem lies.
“Everybody keeps saying about this abundance of talent that we have in the Region and has been the saying from 1995 up to today.
We have an abundance of talent but the rest of the world talent has moved upwards, while our talent has remained stagnant.
There must be something the rest of the world is doing that we in the Caribbean are not doing,” continued Roberts, who became the first Antiguan to play Test when he made his debut against England in March 1974 in Barbados.
Roberts, who played for West Indies, Combined Islands, Hampshire, Leeward Islands, Leicestershire and New South Wales, was very harsh in his assessment of Jason Holder’s Captaincy.
“First I would like to know how we judge a Captain. Is it his win/loss record; is it his performance on the field or how good he is at interviews? Well I think Jason Holder on the field is lost. I don’t think he is aware of what’s happening on the field.
You win the toss on a green top pitch and before Lunch I have a man on the point boundary …then I am lost. His field placement has a lot to be desired and I believe the time should come when he takes instructions from the Coach who is outside and can see the game better than he can,” posited Roberts.
“I am very disappointed in this current Administration as far as the cricket is concerned. I don’t think they are doing enough to help the cricket to develop; they are not focused enough on the development of the cricket.
It takes a lot for players to develop their cricket themselves and you need guidance from the top.
We have a director of cricket who we don’t hear from and I think that is where we should be looking for him to come with plans and say this is where we need to go.
I think at the beginning of their programme they went ahead to develop Governance while leaving the cricket and the Territories to their own development.
I don’t think the Territories have monies to develop the cricket and that is where the CWI chip in and help with the development of the cricket,” continued the former quickie.
“I am not in favour of the professional set up…everything seems to be focused on the 15 players that these Franchises employ. What happens to the rest of the cricket?
The money is going to these 15 players and there is nothing going to the hundreds or the thousands of cricketers around the Region. We have to be fair and try to develop everybody and not just 15 players.
I am very disappointed that we don’t see we have two or three players coming out of the Franchise that could go straight into the West Indies team and perform well on the International circuit… I can’t see that.
I think what they should do is employ four, five, six or seven of your top players and the rest of the money go into a pool to help the remainder but not just 15 players.
And what you do is still turn around and pay others to play and some prefer the pay to play than to be in the Franchise set-up. This needs to be looked at from a holistic point of view where everybody is going to be involved with the cricket and not just 15,” concluded Roberts who worked with Bangladesh’s fast bowlers in 2001 and again in 2005 and also helped coach India’s seam bowling all-rounder Irfan Pathan in 2006.
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