Regional cricket commentator and analyst, Fazeer Mohammed, has rubbished claims that players who showed up to play for the ICC World Cup qualifiers should have been given preferential consideration when the final squad was selected by Cricket West Indies (CWI) on Tuesday.

Of the sixteen players who took part in the qualifier in Zimbabwe last year, which secured the team a place at next month’s World Cup, nine have been included in the final squad. 

Two-time T20 World Cup winner Marlon Samuels is the most notable absentee in a list that also includes Jason Mohammed, Devendra Bishoo, Nikita Miller, Keemo Paul, Rovman Powell and Kesrick Williams. 

 In this instance, scribbled on the final list submitted to the ICC on Tuesday, the most notable inclusion would perhaps be that of Andre Russell who turned down the chance to represent the region at the qualifiers, after stating that he had not sufficiently recovered from injury. 

The situation has sparked debate in some areas, particularly the exclusion of Samuels who had not played cricket for some time due to an injury but expected to be fit for the World Cup.  In an interview with the SportsMax Zone, however, Mohammed insisted cricketing reasons should be the only consideration in selecting the squad.

“This is a competitive sport. This is not about giving favours or doing people favours for long service or that sort of thing, or turning up when others didn’t turn up,” Mohammed told the SportsMax Zone.

“You remember in the days of the Kerry Packer era when the West Indies lost their Packer players for a period and the likes of Alvin Kallicharan and even Malcolm Marshal and so on came into the West Indies squad. From the moment that was sorted out and the World Cup came up in 1979 all the top players were back,” Mohammed added.

“There is no room for sentiment in competitive sport.  I understand the recognizing the roles played but are we selecting a squad as a favour for turning up or are we selecting a squad to be competitive or even get to the winning stage of the World Cup.

Windies cricket analyst Fazeer Mohammed insists it would be difficult to argue against recently recalled batsman Darren Bravo’s spot in the squad, based on merit, due to the lack of quality options available to the regional selectors.

The 29-year old batsman has been called to the team ahead of the Test series against England, his first inclusion in a regional team for the game’s longest format in two years. 

Having been out of the game for an extended period, Bravo, who boasts a Test average of 40, would hardly have had a recent record of form to recommend him to the squad, having only played one match in the ongoing West Indies Championship. 

Following a disastrous tour of Asia, however, a board of selectors looking for changes and experience could hardly be expected to pass over the talented batsman.    

“He has justified it on reputation not performance, as far as first-class cricket is concerned,” Mohammed told the SportsMax Zone.

“If you use the yardstick of having played a lot of first-class cricket to confirm your spot it would be difficult as he has only played the one match for the Trinidad and Tobago Red Force the previous weekend,” he added.

“The fact of the matter is that the cupboard is pretty much bare when it comes to West Indies cricket at the moment and therefore you would have expected changes following the embarrassment in India and Bangladesh.”

Bravo ran afoul of the regional body in 2016 after calling Cricket West Indies boss Dave Cameron a ‘big idiot’ in a tweet.

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