Sep 12, 2021 Sports
CWI’s fitness criteria is flawed…
By Sean Devers
When CWI’s lead selector Roger Harper said Shimron Hetmyer was not given a performance contract and was not selected for the Test series against South Africa I agreed that performance and fitness were key ingredients for success.
But all of a sudden, recent performance no longer matter to Harper, who ‘was not a great off-spinner and a little more than adequate hard hitting batsman’ as described by cricinfo.
Harper’s Test average is 18.4 and averages 16.3 in ODIs with the bat and 28.6 in Tests and 34.1 in ODIs with the ball.
There was no fitness test done after the International T20 series against South Africa, Australia and Pakistan so it appears that the fitness test done almost five months ago was used to assess the players’ fitness level for the T20 World Cup.
The CWI’s fitness Test is flawed because players should be judged on their present fitness ahead of any major tournament since their careers are in hands of the selectors who should treat them fairly.
When contacted Sherfane Rutherford, who last represented the Guyana National team in 2018 and played the last of his six T20Is in January last year, confirmed he was never asked to do any fittest Test by CWI since he returned from Abu Dhabi and that he would have been willing do so.
Rutherford, one of only four batsmen to reach 200 runs in the CPL (before yesterday’s match) looks superbly fit and is among the top fielders in this tournament and it’s very confusing for Harper (a brilliant fielder when he played) to say Rutherford is not fit.
It is more astonishing that Harper feels Odean Smith, who consistently bowls at 140k, hits big sixes and is a sharp fielder is not fitter than Ravi Rampaul.
Rampaul is the leading wicket-taker (before yesterday’s game) and deserves to be in the World Cup squad.
However, it’s amazing that Harper feels that Rampaul, who turns 37 next month, is fitter than Smith and Rutherford.
It makes one wonder if Harper was watching the same CPL that the others were watching.
The same Harper who left out Hetymer because of a lack of performance now selects Gayle who turns 42 on September 21 and has only passed 20 twice in his last 10 T20 matches with 42 being his highest score.
In his last eight T20 matches, Jason Holder has scored 66 runs with a highest score of 22 with ducks against Jamaica Tallawahs and TKR in his last innings and has just managed four wickets (before yesterday’s match).
If being in the squad is so important to West Indies successfully defending the title they won in 2016 then CWI could have appointed Gayle as a batting mentor as India did with MS Dhoni.
However, Harper again conveniently discards performance when he selected Holder ahead of Romario Shepherd who has 14 wickets despite missing two games in the CPL.
Shepherd has shown he is an excellent death bowler as he demonstrated in the only super over of the CPL so far and has also shown his ability with the bat.
Daren Bravo has been rewarded with a tour to the UEA after just 50 runs from five matches in the CPL with highest score of 19 and an Average of 16.6. So much for performance counts Mr Harper.
For Harper to suggest that Sunil Narine was not selected due to not being fit is almost laughable for those who has been following his career and are aware of his repeated issues with his ‘illegal’ bowling action.
In his recent press conferences, the utterances of the 58-year-old Harper continues to befuddle cricket fans and its time CWI gives someone else an opportunity to head their selection panel since it is unlikely that they could do a worse job.
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