Sharpened Knives Now Drawn And Pointed At West Indies’ Harper Led Selections Panel

By By Reds Perreira and Tony McWatt September 20, 2021

(This column was originally published in the Stabroek News newspaper)

“Knives for Roger Harper and his hallucinating band of selectors, aren't yet drawn. But surely, they are being sharpened!"

Those were the words of the seasoned Jamaican cricket journalist Ray Ford, in reaction to the storm of controversy that has been created as a result of the choices made by Selections’ Chair Roger Harper and his Panel for the West Indies official squad of 15 plus four reserves to participate in the forthcoming ICC 2021 T20 World Cup. The 2021 ICC T20 World Cup will be held in the UAE from October 17 – November 13.

Further revelations from the most recent episodes of the West Indies World Cup Squad “selections fiasco,” would now suggest that the sharpened knives have since not only been drawn but that it is now only a matter of time before they are used to pierce the tenure of Roger Harper, Miles Bascome and Head Coach Phil Simmons as members of the West Indies Selections Panel with terminal effect!

The Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) was among the first to publicly question the Panel’s competence. Angered by the Selections Panel’s omission of Sherfayne Rutherford on the grounds of his not having met the established fitness criteria, the GCB suggested that Cricket West Indies (CWI) should advise the Caribbean cricket public regarding the standard and schedule for fitness tests for regional cricketers.

Stating that the Selections Panel has disappointed both Guyana and the Caribbean at large, while referring to its decisions as a “selection fiasco,” the GCB called for the Panel to be made accountable to all cricket institutions and stakeholders in the region and to justify its choices.
“Failure to do so, the GCB calls on CWI to dismiss the Selections Panel and to replace it with a more competent one which will represent the best interests of West Indies cricket!”
In addition to the GCB’s issued statement, several Caribbean Heads of States have also weighed in with their own criticisms of the selected squad. The respective Prime Ministers of Barbados and St Vincent, the Honorable Mia Mottley and Dr Ralph Gonsalves, as well as Guyana’s President Irfaan Ali, have all expressed their profound disappointment and disagreement with some of the Harper-led Selections Panel’s choices.

Further, the former West Indies fast bowling legendary great, Sir Andy Roberts, referred to the Selections Panel’s non-inclusion of Barbadian Jason Holder, within the final squad of fifteen and his relegation to the status of a mere reserve as “embarrassing!”

Holder holds the current ICC ranking as international cricket’s best all-rounder. He is also the Cricket West Indies’ only all formats, Tests, ODIs and T20s, contracted player.

Holder’s relegations as a reserve, the medical exemptions provided to Chris Gayle and Ravi Rampaul, as well as the reported non-consideration of Odean Smith and Sherfayne Rutherford as a result of their respective failures to meet the established fitness criteria for West Indies selection. These are uppermost among the far too many highly questionable World Cup Squad decisions made by Harper and his Panel.

It can now arguably be said that never before in Caribbean cricket’s illustrious history has a selected West Indies squad caused such controversy. The very centre of which appears to be the glaringly apparent inconsistencies surrounding the fitness standards that were applied to determine selection, or conversely non-selection, of certain players to the squad.

Where is the consistency between the medical exemptions granted to Chris Gayle and Ravi Rampaul and the non-consideration of Smith and Rutherford for not having met the established fitness criteria? That is the very simple question now being asked of Harper and his Panel. Shouldn’t “what’s good for the goose, also be granted to the gander?”

Furthermore, as Sir Andy Roberts has also correctly reasoned as important a tournament as the T20 World Cup is, coupled with the fact that we are the reigning Champions seeking to defend our title, why are we even considering, let alone actually including players who are in need of medical exemptions?

The former West Indies opening batsman, Bryan Davis’ reaction to the fitness-related decisions of Harper and his Panel was even more damning.

“This is dangerous territory we’re entering and the precedent being set for future selectors by the disqualification of young promising players while giving past successful players a medical exemption is a sign of dishonesty in selection policy. One is either fit enough to take his place in the team or he’s not. Every international cricketer walking out on that field to represent WI must deserve his place on the team by his performances and by extension his fitness. Equal status for all.”

Harper himself has also attracted the ire of former West Indies opening batsman Philo Wallace. The outspoken Wallace has highly criticized Harper’s self-admitted decision as Selection Chairman to leave the determination of Obed McCoy’s fitness readiness for the World Cup in the hands of Cricket West Indies’ Medical Committee.

As one of the designated death bowlers and hence a vital member of the West Indies’ World Cup bowling attack, McCoy has reportedly been suffering from recurring shin splints for some time now. His appearances in actual matches of late, including both those in the recent West Indies T2o Series against Australia and Pakistan as well as this year’s recently concluded CPL, can only be best described as having been sporadic.

Harper having left the determination of McCoy’s fitness to the Medical Committee would, therefore, appear to be an abdication of his responsibilities as Selections Chair. Moreover, it also now means that in addition to already being the most aged of the 2021 T20 World Cup’s 16 participating teams, as well as arguably the most unfit, the West Indies could also well be the only squad containing an injury affected player even before the tournament’s commencement!

As a member of Cricket West Indies’ recently structured Committee to develop a new policy for the governance of the selection of West Indies teams, Wallace has also indicated that fitness was identified as the most basic fundamental requirement of its submitted recommendations. The Committee’s recommendations were subsequently wholly endorsed by Cricket West Indies’ Board of Directors. As such, in the light of the Word Cup selections decisions that have been made by Harper and Company, Wallace has suggested that the Committee’s recommendations are now seemingly being ignored.

“When does this current Panel’s tenure end?”

That was the question posed by Philo Wallace as one of the panellists on the recent September 14, 2021 broadcast of the highly popular Barbados-based Mason & Guest Programme. Mason & Guests is hosted weekly by the noted West Indies cricket Radio Commentator, Andrew Mason.

If Wallace’s question is not now surely a sign of knives not only having actually been drawn but also being pointed squarely in the direction of Roger Harper and his Cricket West Indies Selections Panel, then “the Pope isn’t Catholic!”

 

Related items

  • West Indies 'A' set for August clashes with Bangladesh 'A' West Indies 'A' set for August clashes with Bangladesh 'A'

    Cricket West Indies (CWI) and the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) on Wednesday announced the match schedule for the West Indies Men’s “A” Team series against Bangladesh Men’s “A” Team in August.

    The series will be played at the Daren Sammy Cricket Ground in Saint Lucia and will feature two four-day first-class matches and three 50-over matches from 4 to 20 August.

    This will be the first West Indies Men’s “A” Team series since 2020.

    The COVID-19 pandemic restricted opportunities and the resumption of West Indies Men’s “A” team matches sees the return of a key development opportunity for players pushing for selection to the West Indies senior team and for emerging players to build their First-Class International experience.

    Roland Holder, CWI’s Senior Operations Manager said the series will provide exposure for a number of players and noted it was part of CWI’s commitment to continually developing talent for the international level.

    “We are pleased to have confirmed the itinerary for the Men’s ‘A’ Team series with the BCB and we are excited to host Bangladesh in the region again,” Holder said.

    “This is a vital part of the development of our players in the pathway toward full international selection, and no doubt this upcoming series of matches in Saint Lucia will provide a platform for further exposure and progress.”

    He added that CWI and BCB are also in the planning stages for a reciprocal tour by West Indies “A” to Bangladesh in 2023.

     BCB CEO Nizam Uddin Chowdhury said the “A” Series provides an excellent opportunity for players of both teams to prepare for international commitments.

     “The international schedule is getting busier by the season and therefore it is very important for the cricketers to keep themselves ready through good competitive cricket. We thank CWI for accommodating the A tour. The four-day ‘Tests’ and the One-Day matches will be an invaluable experience for the players,” he noted.

    “The BCB and CWI share a warm longstanding relationship and have worked tirelessly to make this tour happen. I hope we will see more reciprocal programmes between the two boards in the future.”

    Match schedule:

    Daren Sammy Cricket Ground

    4-7: August: 1st Four-day “Test” – local start time 10 am (9 am Jamaica)

    10-13 August: 2nd Four-Day “Test” – local start time 10 am (9 am Jamaica)

    16 August: 1st 50-over match – local start time 9:30 am (8:30 am Jamaica)

    18 August: 2nd 50-over match – local start time 9:30 am (8:30 am Jamaica)

    20 August: 3rd 50-over match – local start time 9:30 am (8:30 am)

  • Jamaica Tallawahs sign Mohammad Amir, bring back Lamichhane for 2022 CPL season Jamaica Tallawahs sign Mohammad Amir, bring back Lamichhane for 2022 CPL season

    The Jamaica Tallawahs have announced their overseas signings for the 2022 Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) which gets underway on 31 August.

    Left-arm seamer Mohammad Amir will be joining the Tallawahs for the first time having represented the Barbados Royals last season, claiming 11 wickets at an average of 13.54.

    The other four overseas players have all had experience with the Tallawahs in the past. Nepalese leg-spinner Sandeep Lamichhane was with the franchise in 2020 where he took 12 wickets and went at an economy rate of just 5.27 runs an over.

    Imad Wasim, Chris Green and Miguel Pretorius were all with the Tallawahs in 2021 and will return this season as overseas signings. Brandon King and Fabian Allen have also been signed by the two-time champions.

    Power hitter Rovman Powell has been retained by the franchise along with Kennar Lewis and Shamarh Brooks.

    The Tallawahs will have seven more spots to fill at the Hero CPL draft with details of these picks released during the draft show which will be broadcast this Thursday – 7 July – at 9am Eastern Caribbean Time.

  • De Kock to make CPL debut with Barbados Royals. David Miller also joins the 2019 champions De Kock to make CPL debut with Barbados Royals. David Miller also joins the 2019 champions

    The Barbados Royals have announced their overseas signings for the 2022 Hero Caribbean Premier League which gets underway on August 31.

    Quinton de Kock will appear at Hero CPL for the first time, bringing with him a huge amount of experience. De Kock has played more than 250 T20 matches for South Africa and franchises around the world.

    He will be joined by fellow South African David Miller who will be playing for his third Hero CPL team having previously appeared for the Jamaican and Saint Lucian franchises. Miller has more than 8000 T20 runs at a strike rate of 138.

    Pakistani batter Azam Khan is returning to the Royals for a second successive season having made his Hero CPL debut in 2021.

    Afghan spinner Mujeeb ur Rahman will be with the Royals in 2022 having previously played for the Jamaica Tallawahs. Mujeeb has raced to almost 200 T20 wickets and has become a sought-after bowler around the world.

    The final overseas spot will be filled by South African all-rounder Corbin Bosch who recently joined the Rajasthan Royals at the India Premier League.

    Expressing his thoughts on the team’s overseas signings, Head Coach Trevor Penney said: “We are delighted to have signed some of the best overseas players of the T20 format, who we feel will complement our retentions perfectly.

    “Quinton is a proven match winner who has delivered for both his country and all the franchises he’s played for around the world, and we are delighted that he’s chosen the Royals as the team to start his CPL journey at. On the other hand, having worked closely with David Miller and Corbin Bosch at the Rajasthan Royals, we know exactly what they bring to the table and at the same time, they also understand the philosophy of the Royals perfectly.

    “We are also happy to have the energy and excitement that Azam Khan can bring to the group, having seen him perform for us last season. While Mujeeb ur Rahman is a world-class spinner who has made his name plying his trade in T20s globally and is a quality and potentially effective addition to our spin department. From my perspective, these signings are an indication of the kind of cricket we want to play here at Barbados, and I’m confident going into the drafts that we’re building a talented and dynamic squad to vie for the title this season,” added the 54-year-old Penney.

    The Royals will have five more spots to fill at the Hero CPL draft with details of these picks released during the draft show which will be broadcast on July 7 at 9 am ECT.

     Barbados Royals players signed: Quinton de Kock, David Miler, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Obed McCoy, Devon Thomas and Corbin Bosch.

    Retained players: Jason Holder, Kyle Mayers, Azam Khan, Oshane Thomas, Nyeem Young.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.