May 17, 2021 Sports
Kaieteur News –
By Sean Devers
I am among those who supported CWI for not granting Guyanese left-hander Shimron Hetmyer a performance contract after he failed to reach their performance criteria.
The Berbician from Cumberland in Canje has played 16 Tests since making his debut in 2017. He has batted 30 times scored 838 with a highest score of 93 at an Ave of 27.93.
The 24-year-old has five fifties at Test level but in the 2019 season he played just two Tests, scored 71 from his four innings and Averaged 17.75, while in the 2019/ 2020 season his only Test was against Afghanistan when he made 13 in his only innings. This was during the performance criteria period.
The trio of Darren Bravo, Shimron Hetmyer and Keemo Paul opted out of the England tour in July 2020, while Hetmyer were among those who decided not to participate in the Bangladesh tour due to safety reasons last January.
Two failed fitness Tests resulted in Hetmyer missing the Test Series at home against Sri Lanka.
However, after it was disclosed the Hetmyer was available for the entire home series it was most surprising that he was not selected in a 30-man Test squad for a camp in St Lucia preceding the Test series against South Africa.
It was very surprising to see 27-year-old Jamaican John Campbell who has played 15 Tests, batted 30 times, scored 640 runs at an average 23.70 and rookie, 29-year-old Jamaican Paul Palmer who has a First Class Average of 23.85 in 40 matches, included ahead of the pugnacious Southpaw. They are both older than Hetmyer.
In 2019, Campbell played six Tests and made 298 runs at an Average of 29.80, while in 2020 he played five Tests, scoring 194 runs at an Average of 21.55.
Although Hetymers Test Average of 27.93 is unacceptable after four years at this level, Campbells 23.70 is even worse.
It is hard to believe that Hetmyer is not among the best 30 Red ball players in the West Indies.
Chairman of the CWI selection panel, Roger Harper explained on the last Sean Devers Sports Watch on Kaieteur Radio that Campbell was given a long run (despite his mediocre performances), because there are no other opening batsmen to replace him at the top of the order to partner Skipper Kraigg Braithwaite.
That statement in itself is a massive indictment in the quality of the First Class game in the West Indies.
However, in much the same way that Guyana Captain, Leon Johnson, was sacrificed as an opener when he batted all of his career in the middle order, Hetmyer could be asked to open the batting in Test cricket.
This would be nothing new to the left-hander who was an opening batsman for his Young Warriors club in Berbice division one cricket and who opened for Berbice and Guyana teams at U-19 level.
Hetmyer, who played in two U-19 World Cups for the West Indies; winning the 2016 version as Captain, also opened the batting for the West Indies U-19 World Cup Team.
Hetmyer made his first class debut against Trinidad & Tobago at Providence on April 10, 2014, batted at number three with Trevon Griffith and Tagenarine Chanderpaul opening the batting before he and Chanderpaul opened together in the 2014 U-19 World Cup.
In 39 First-Class matches since then, the former West Indies U-19 captain has batted 70 times, scored 2125, with a highest score of 107 (only ton) at an Average 31.71.
Hetymers Test record:
In 2017 he played five Tests, batted 10 times scored 218 with a highest score of 66 at an Ave of 21.80. Three of those matches were against Pakistan in the West Indies, while the other two were against host New Zealand whom he scored his maiden fifty against.
In 2018, his best year, he played five Tests, batted 10 times, scored 376, made his highest Test score of 93 and Averaged 37.60. Hetmyer scored three half centuries, slamming 86 against Bangladesh in Jamaica.
He made 63 and 93 against the home team Bangladesh in two Tests after an ordinary two Tests in India.
In 2019 the pugnacious batsman played six Tests batted 10 times scored 244 with his highest score being 81 against England in Barbados at an Average of 24.40. He played three Tests against England in the West Indies, two against India in the West Indies and two against Afghanistan in India.
Hetmyer has scored 326 runs from three Tests at an Average of 54.33 against Bangladesh, 122 at an Average of 30.5 against New Zealand from two Tests, 121 against India at an Average of 15.2 from two matches, 160 at an average 32.00 from three matches, 96 against Pakistan from three matches at an Average of 16.00 and 13 against Afghanistan in one Test in November 2019.
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