Zone Blitz: Did West Indies get it right in squad selection for the T20s?

By George Davis, Mariah Ramharack& Lance Whittaker July 23, 2019

By all accounts, the Windies selection panel got things right in their T20 squad selection ahead of the India tour.

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  • Sir Viv backs Walsh Jr to be more successful than Badree Sir Viv backs Walsh Jr to be more successful than Badree

    Former West Indies captain and legendary batsman, Sir Vivian Richards, believes Hayden Walsh Jr, can reap more success than did the world’s foremost T20 bowler at one time,Samuel Badree.

    Badree, once known as the number-one leg spinner in T20 cricket, came into the West Indies line-up in similar fashion to Walsh Jr.

    Walsh claimed 22 wickets in the recently concluded Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL), to lead all wickettakers and earn a debut callup to the West Indies.

    Sir Viv, just like Walsh Jr is from Antigua and believes the achievement, especially coming from one of the smaller islands, is remarkable, saying he wished the Leeward Islands had picked him more often.

    “I think at that particular point, that particular achievement of him getting the most wickets as a spinner and to be coming from these parts, I am wondering what would have happened earlier for him not to have been utilized by the Leewards a little bit more,” Sir Viv pondered.

    Walsh Jr’s limited selection in the Leeward Islands side is something Sir Viv believes begs bigger questions about the way the team is selected and their ability to spot talent.

    “And so, all these questions need to be asked but I think that certainly, he has thrown his hands in the ring for the next T20 World Cup. I personally believe that he has done well enough to be considered and to be part of that particular unit,” Sir Viv had said before Walsh Jr’s selection to te West Indies’ white ball squads.

    Making the comparison to Badree, Sir Viv said:

    “And especially with this last performance in terms of being on the winning team with the most wickets, this is how I think Samuel Badree came into contention for the West Indies … I think he came in and he had some success … I don’t think he was as successful as what Hayden Walsh would have [been].”

    According to Sir Viv, Walsh Jr can offer more to the West Indies than did Badree because he has other attributes.

    To be fair as well, too, he brings so much as well, especially as a spinner; his athleticism in the field. Everything is so brilliant about him, you need some sort of an individual like that for those sort of tournaments,” he said.

    Few would have heard of the 27-year-old Antiguan-American before the start of this season but it's safe to say his whirlwind leg break bowling took the competition by storm.  His 22 wickets in 9 matches representing a tournament-high that earned him the Hero Player of the Tournament award.

    Twice this season the spinner proved completely unplayable for the opposition, claiming five wickets against the Trinbago Knight Riders and four against the St Lucia Zouks to help catapult the then-struggling team into the playoffs. 

    Eventually, it set the stage for one of the biggest upsets in the competition's history with a win over the previously unbeaten Guyana Amazon Warriors in the final.  

    Perhaps even fewer would remember the bowler’s forgettable CPL debut season for St Kitts and Nevis Patriots in 2018 where his two overs in just two matches went for a costly 54, with no wickets to show. 

    For Walsh, the gentle placing of the CPL crown on a head once plagued with uneasiness, surely once again proved the old adage, the price of success is hard work.

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  • Windies chief selector Harper believes Walsh Jr could be solution to wicket-taking woes Windies chief selector Harper believes Walsh Jr could be solution to wicket-taking woes

    Windies chairman of selectors Roger Harper believes newly drafted spinner Hayden Walsh Jr’s ability to take wickets could be a missing component for the regional team.

    The Windies ineffectiveness with the ball during the middle overs of One Day Internationals has been an issue that has come to the fore in recent years.  The problem was recently laid bare at the ICC World Cup. 

    Making good use of pace bowlers to open the innings, the team often managed to prise out openers with quick deliveries and variable bounce.  The Windies would often lose any early momentum, however, with an inability to keep taking wickets. 

    On the back of a successful CPL campaign, where he claimed 22 wickets with crafty spin bowling, Harper believes the bowler could eventually make a big difference.  

    “During CPL he excited everyone with his performances and given the direction white-ball cricket has gone, we realize the need for bowlers capable of taking wickets,” Harper said.

    “Walsh has proven he is a wicket-taker and I think he will have a great impact on the team, especially in middle overs so that we won’t be drifting through but can keep control of games.”

    The Antiguan-American Walsh previously represented the United States but is now clear to represent the West Indies.

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