Had Marva Holder been alive she would have been a very proud grandmother.

On Wednesday, her grandson, Chemar Holder, received a call from Cricket West Indies for his first tour with the men’s senior team that will play three Tests in England starting July 8.

For Holder, the leading pace bowler in the West Indies Championships that concluded in March, it was a dream come true.

“It was a good feeling yesterday (Wednesday) when I got the call to know that I was included in the 15. It was something that I was always looking forward to and now I have got the opportunity to represent my country,” he said.

Holder, 22, took 36 wickets at a healthy average of 18.91 during the championships that was ended with two rounds to go because of the Coronavirus pandemic, leaving him just four wickets shy of the target he had set at the start of the season.

Nonetheless, the West Indies selectors rewarded him with a place in the senior squad that is set to play the ‘bio-secure’ Tests series.

“Chemar Holder is an exciting young fast bowling talent who is coming off an excellent domestic First-Class season. He should enjoy bowling in English conditions. He could prove a real asset to the team in England,” said Roger Harper, Cricket West Indies Chief Selector.

Coming from a cricket-loving family, Holder has always enjoyed their support.

“If things are not going well, they all talk to me, tell me to keep my head up, everything is not going to be the same,” he said. “So I always get support from them, especially my grandmother, who passed away. She was always my big supporter.

“She stayed up all night and watched me during the U19 World Cup. Every time I play I remember her so she would be happy to find out this news if she was alive today.”

Marva Holder passed away in 2016 at the age of 72.

 

 

As was reported by Sportsmax.TV on Tuesday, Cricket West Indies' (CWI) selection panel named a 14-man Test squad for the proposed Sandals Tour of England 2020 that features newcomers Chemar Holder and Nkrumah Bonner.

The selectors have also named 11 reserves for the tour that includes fast bowlers Shannon Gabriel and Oshane Thomas.

The 22-year-old Holder – who is not related to captain Jason Holder – was the leading fast bowler in the West Indies Championship with 36 wickets in eight matches at 18.91 each, and was one of the successful ICC U-19 World Cup-winning side in 2016.

Bonner, 31, will be making his Test squad debut after being one of the leading batsmen in the 2020 West Indies Championship with 523 runs in seven matches at an average of 58.11.  He has previously represented the West Indies when he played two T20 Internationals back in 2011 and 2012.

Subject to the final approval of the UK Government, the West Indies will defend the Wisden Trophy in three back-to-back Test matches to be played behind closed doors,  starting on July 8.   The touring party that will all be tested for COVID-19 this week, is scheduled to fly to England on private charters on June 8.

According to CWI, the West Indies squad will live, train and play in a “bio-secure” environment during the seven weeks of the tour, as part of the comprehensive medical and operations plans to ensure player and staff safety.

The bio-secure protocols will restrict movement in and out of the venues, so the selection panel has also named a list of reserve players who will travel to train and help prepare the Test squad and ensure replacements are available in case of any injury.

Chief selector Roger Harper explained that the squad will have the time to get accustomed to the new norm in the UK but feels that they have selected a competitive squad.

“The new cricketing environment will take some getting used to. However, being in England and working together for four weeks before the first Test will give the squad the opportunity to get acclimatized and hopefully, mentally and technically adjusted to the demands of the new environment. Playing in July could be a blessing as the weather is likely to be warmer which will allow the squad more of an opportunity to play its best cricket,” he said.

“I think we have a squad that will be very competitive. More than half of the squad were involved in the victorious Test series against England in the Caribbean last year so they will bring that experience, that knowledge and belief with them and marry it to the enthusiasm and vitality of the newcomers.

“The experience of the players who toured England before in 2017 will also benefit the squad greatly. I expect that the bowling unit will once again provide a serious challenge for England and our batting will have to deliver. England is a tough team when playing in home conditions, however, I think the West Indies has a good chance of retaining the Wisden Trophy. We will have to bat consistently well to do so.”

Harper believes newcomers Holder and Bonner will benefit greatly from the tour.

“Chemar Holder is an exciting young fast bowling talent who is coming off an excellent domestic First-Class season. He should enjoy bowling in English conditions. He could prove a real asset to the team in England,” Harper said.

 “Nkrumah Bonner is an unflappable character. His ability to hold the innings together and bat through tight situations could serve the team very well.

“Jermaine Blackwood returns by sheer weight of performance in the domestic First-Class season. His patience and application were evident and that resulted in much greater consistency which I look forward to him taking back into the Test arena. His experience of playing Test cricket in England should stand him in good stead.”  

The chief selector also shed light on the inclusion of allrounder Raymon Reifer and Shannon Gabriel who is returning after undergoing surgery.

“Raymon Reifer has been around for a while and has proved to be a real competitor with both bat and ball – qualities that will add great value to the team. Shannon Gabriel is working his way back to full match fitness after his ankle operation last year.

“The four weeks leading up to the first Test will be of tremendous benefit to him. A fully fit and firing Shannon adds great potency to the bowling attack, so it is important to have him back at his best.”

West Indies are scheduled to arrive in Manchester on June 9 and will be based in Manchester for a three-week period before moving to Southampton for the first Test at the Ageas Bowl. They will then return to Manchester for the second and third matches at Emirates Old Trafford.  All these matches will be played behind closed doors and are still subject to UK Government approval.

The West Indies are scheduled to play the first Test at Ageas Bowl in Southampton from July 8-12.

The action will then move to the Emirates Old Trafford in Manchester for the second Test from July 16-20 as well as the third Test from July 24-28.

WEST INDIES TEST SQUAD: Jason Holder (Captain), Jermaine Blackwood, Nkrumah Bonner, Kraigg Brathwaite, Shamarh Brooks, John Campbell, Roston Chase, Rahkeem Cornwall, Shane Dowrich, Chemar Holder, Shai Hope, Alzarri Joseph, Raymon Reifer, and Kemar Roach.

RESERVE PLAYERS: Sunil Ambris, Joshua Da Silva, Shannon Gabriel, Keon Harding, Kyle Mayers, Preston McSween, Marquino Mindley, Shane Moseley, Anderson Phillip, Oshane Thomas, and Jomel Warrican.

 

 

 

A country blessed with elegant batsmen, picking an all-time best Guyana line-up has been the most difficult of all the countries to date.

While many of the other territories in our all-time West Indies Championship have been blessed with talent throughout, no other country, it seems, has as many talented batsmen on equal footing at the First-Class level.

That is a good problem for a coach to have and if you were coaching this Guyana outfit, it is hardly likely that you come up against a team who could manage a total your line-up could not overhaul.

As usual, we welcome your feedback on whether or not we got this Best XI right. Tell us who we should have kept or who we should not have included, leave a comment under the story on Facebook and we can have a good old-fashioned debate.

 

Guyana’s Best XI

 

 

Roy Fredericks

Roy Fredericks significant ability made him a mainstay in the West Indies side, batting first with another Guyanese opener in Steve Camacho before joining forces with Gordon Greenidge. At the First-Class level, Fredericks was a powerful batsman, relishing the challenge of attacking the most fearsome of pace bowlers of which the West Indies had many. Fredericks, a master of the cut and hook shots, was known at the international level for scoring quick 50s but not converting them to centuries. At the First-Class level, this wasn’t true as Fredericks slammed 40 centuries to his 80 half-centuries on his way to 16,384 career runs at a more-than-respectable average of 45.89. Fredericks would play two more innings after announcing his retirement in 1983, slamming 103 against Trinidad and 217 against Jamaica.

 

First-class career: 1963-1983

Mat    Inns    NO     Runs    HS     Ave       100s    50s    6s      Ct   

223     391      34     16384   250    45.89       40      80      177     0

 

 

Rohan Kanhai (wicketkeeping opener)

With such a dearth of batting in an all-time Guyana line-up, it is interesting that Rohan Kanhai, a lifelong number-three batsman, would be asked to open and wicketkeep, but a stacked middle-order which could take the batting down to eight or nine without much of a shift in quality means Kanhai gets to face the new ball with Fredericks. At the first-class level, Khanai was absolutely brilliant, scoring 86 centuries and 120 half-centuries in a 23-year-long career. Kanhai’s average of 45.89 after 421 games is no small feat, but more than the runs he accumulated, was the way he did it and when he did it. Kanhai was elegance personified but there was real power too. An ESPN Cricinfo article by noted poet, novelist and columnist in Georgetown, Guyana, Ian McDonald, summed it up best.

“You could feel it charge the air around him as he walked to the wicket. I do not know quite how to describe it. It was something that kept the heart beating hard with a special sort of excited fear all through a Kanhai innings, as if something marvellous or terrible or even sacred was about to happen.”

 

First-class career: 1954-1977

Mat    Inns    NO     Runs     HS     Ave    100s    50s      Ct       St

421      675     83     29250    256    49.40    86     120       325      7

 

 

Shivnarine Chanderpaul

The raw emotion of Fredericks’ batting along with the unequalled grace of Kanhai’s may best be tempered with the obdurate efforts of Shivnarine Chanderpaul. Unorthodox technique and all, Chanderpaul could bat for days without bothering himself too much about scoring and this patience made him into a legend of West Indies cricket. But he could get aggressive too when it called for it. On other days, when he was in the mood like the day he faced 478 deliveries against Jamaica in a Red Stripe Cup game at Sabina Park to score an unbeaten 303, he was impossible to remove from the wicket. That determination and those powers of concentration are a big reason behind his 53.17 average after 385 First-Class games. In all, Chanderpaul would notch a whopping 77 centuries and 144 half-centuries during a career lasting 27 years.

 

First-class career: 1991-2018

Mat    Inns    NO     Runs      HS      Ave    100s    50s         

385      626    108    27545     303*   53.17     77     144               

 

Basil Butcher

Very ‘wristy’ was one way to describe Basil Butcher, a batsman who was extremely reliable for both the West Indies and Guyana. His ability to turn deliveries around the ground belied his name, he certainly was no butcher, but rather thrived on the art of batsmanship. He was also notoriously good at blocking out his circumstances and there is a famous story about him opening a letter that told him of his wife’s miscarriage during a match against England at Lord’s. Butcher would go onto the field after reading the letter and while visibly upset, score a match-saving 133. For British Guiana in the first instance, and for Guyana in the second, innings like that became quite a bit of a staple for Butcher. In 169 matches he would score 31 centuries and 54 half-centuries. Australian commentator, without seeing his exploits at the First-Class level, described Butcher as the most difficult of all West Indians to get out. Butcher was also a competent leg spinner, taking 40 wickets in his career at an average of 30.42 and with a strike rate of 54.8.

 

Mat    Inns    NO     Runs     HS     Ave    100s     50s    

169      262    29      11628    209*  49.90     31       54   

 

 

Carl Hooper

Carl Hooper was a cool customer, rarely ever looking troubled at the crease. At the international level, this proved problematic because he would get out and it was rarely understandable how it happened. At the First-Class level though, those lapses of concentration that led to him ending with a 36.46 average were absent. Hooper scored 69 centuries at the First-Class level and was one of the most prolific West Indies batsmen of all time, more than 23,000 runs at an average of 47.68. He had 104 half-centuries to boot in a career that spanned 21 years. In those 21 years, Hooper also turned his arm over a few times, ending his career with 555 wickets at an average of 35.30.

 

First-class career (batting): 1984-2004

Mat    Inns    NO     Runs      HS      Ave      100s    50s         

339      535     52     23034     236*   47.68       69     104                     

 

First-class career (bowling): 1984-2004

Mat    Inns    Balls      Runs      Wkts    BBI     Ave      Econ   SR      5w     10w

339                46464    19595     555      7/93    35.30    2.53    83.7    18        0

 

 

Clive Lloyd

Standing at 6ft 5in, Clive Lloyd was a dominant figure in World Cricket, but as a First-Class cricketer, those 6 feet plus grew to at least 10. Averaging just south of 50, the hard-hitting former West Indies captain was a man for the moment. If you wanted to see Lloyd at his best, put his team in trouble and that would be an almost eventuality. Seventy-nine times Lloyd would pass the three-figure mark including a career-best 242 not out, and he would get to a half-century or more on 172 other occasions.

 

First-class career: 1963-1986

Mat    Inns    NO     Runs     HS      Ave    100s    50s         

490     730      96     31232    242*   49.26     79     172      

 

      

 

Alvin Kallicharran

Alvin Kallicharran could play all the shots in the book, but not only that, he could do it with a certain poise and grace almost unparalleled even today. Usually, with the kind of genius Kallicharran displayed, there comes episodes that may hinder that genius. There was none of that for Kallicharran who averaged 43.64 over the course of 505 first-class games. That average had been coming down as well, because Kallicharran, played long past the point where he was still at his best. He holds the record for the highest number of centuries from a Guyanese bat, the figure standing at 87, and 160 half-centuries to boot, with only Clive Lloyd having scored more. He would end his career with 32,650 first-class runs under his belt, again, another record for a Guyanese batsman.

 

First-class career: 1966-1990

Mat    Inns    NO     Runs      HS      Ave     100s    50s        

505      834     86     32650     243*   43.64      87     160           

 

Colin Croft

Colin Croft’s modus operandi was aggression and you couldn’t tell if he really meant to kill you after a vicious bouncer whizzed by your ear. With his very noticeable lean to the left side of the wicket, Croft would get the ball to angle towards a right-hander quite sharply before it would straighten off the pitch. That movement with pace and bounce was difficult to navigate for even the most proper of batsmen and only the very talented would survive for too long. In just 121 first-class matches, Croft would claim 428 scalps and some of those wickets were literally scalps, at the incredibly low average of 24.59. His strike rate of 49.3 makes him the most dangerous bowler Guyana has ever produced.

 

First-class career: 1971-1982

Mat    Inns     Balls      Wkts   BBI     Ave     Econ   SR       5w     10w

121     21101   10527    428     8/29    24.59   2.99    49.3     17        1

 

        

Roger Harper (allrounder)

With 567 wickets under his belt, Roger Harper is most decidedly a bowling allrounder. His average of 25.97 at a strike rate of 66.7 bares this truth out but he could also bat, having scored 10 centuries and 36 half-centuries in the 200 first-class matches he has played. Harper, like many allrounders, never wanted to be left out of the game and would make his presence felt in the field as well, picking up and throwing down the stumps all in one motion or cutting off a certain boundary. You couldn’t hit it in the air to him either because his buckets for hands would make no mistake. A tall offspinner, Harper turned the ball depending on the pitch he was bowling on but depended more on deception in flight to get him wickets. His height meant he could make a ball look like it was in the air for a long time when it really wasn’t, as well as he could spare in quick yorkers that would leave a batsman strangled for time to get his feet out of the way.

 

First-class career (batting): 1979-1997

Mat    Inns    NO     Runs     HS      Ave    100s    50s         

200      263     43     7480      234    34.00     10      36                      

 

First-class career (bowling): 1979-1997

Mat    Balls      Runs      Wkts    BBI     Ave     Econ    SR      5w     10w

200     37825    14726      567     6/24    25.97   2.33     66.7     28       3

 

 

Reon King

Reon King is quite possibly the most underrated bowler in the history of West Indies cricket, especially after fast-bowling royalty, Michael Holding, said he could neither bat, bowl nor field. King only played in 19 Tests for the West Indies but lost a yard of pace largely because of a niggling heel injury. Before that though, King generated good pace through an effortless run-up that some ironically likened to Holding’s. Before his career came to an end though, King managed 95 first-class games and 293 wickets at an average of 27.48. His figures, had he been able to remain fit may have surprised Holding. His 11 five-wicket hauls and one 10-wicket haul suggests he could turn a match.

 

First-class career: 1995-2007

Mat    Balls    Runs     wkts   BBI     Ave     Econ   SR     5w     10w

95      16120   8053      293    7/82    27.48   2.99    55.0    11       1

 

Lance Gibbs

Lance Gibbs is the most successful spinner in West Indies history, once holding the world record for most number of wickets in Test cricket history. He was no less of a standout in regional cricket. Generating immense spin with his long fingers, Gibbs was also accurate to a fault. More than a thousand batsmen at the first-class level found him impossible to deal with and his strike rate of 27.22 is proof positive of the danger he posed to them. But Gibbs’ ability to single-handedly turn a match was the real gift the spinner possessed, having taken five wickets in an innings on an unbelievable 50 occasions, and laying claim to ten 10-wicket hauls.

 

First-class career: 1953-1975

Mat    Balls    Runs      Wkts   BBI     Ave    Econ   SR      5w    10w

330     78430  27878     1024   8/37    27.22   2.13   76.5     50     10

Leeward Islands captain Kieran Powell has been left disappointed by his non-selection to the provisional 29-man squad for the West Indies tour of England which looks set to go ahead this summer.

Cricket West Indies announced the squad recently in lieu of agreements with the England and Wales Cricket Board about a tour that was scheduled for June but has now been postponed amid plans to make it safe despite the worldwide spread of COVID-19.

The squad had seen the return of pacer Shannon Gabriel, spinner Veerasammy Permaul and middle-order batsman Jermaine Blackwood.

There were also some new faces to the squad like Preston McSween, Paul Palmer, Shane Mosely and Keon Harding.

Powell, who last represented the West Indies on the 2018 tour of Bangladesh, was a notable absentee.

Since Powell’s exclusion from the West Indies set-up, he has scored fairly heavily in regional cricket, a fact that has elicited surprise at his non-selection.

“I haven’t really been as productive as I would like in the four-day format but I still managed to stand out above everyone else who played in the tournament so it’s disheartening for myself to learn that I hadn’t been selected based on the volume of runs I scored,” said Powell.

Despite leading the Caribbean in the Regional Super50 competition with 524 runs last year, Powell was not selected for series against India, Ireland and Sri Lanka.

There had been reports that Powell should have been a replacement for Evin Lewis in the Sri Lanka series. Lewis had failed a fitness test but the reports are suggesting Powell also failed that test.

“I don’t mind not being selected. This is part and parcel of being in West Indies cricket. It has been here long before me and I’m pretty sure it will be long after but communication is the most important thing,” Powell said regarding the failure of the fitness test.

According to Powell, he is yet to hear from CWI what aspects of the test he failed and what he needed to work on.

“Obviously there are more factors to it, which is what I am trying to ascertain. What are those standards, so I can work on whatever I need to work on so I can get my international career back off the ground?” he said.

While not calling names or suggesting this administration inclusive of coaches and board has anything more than the best interest of cricket at heart, Powell did point out that there was a certain stigma that has made his sojourn in West Indies cricket more difficult.

“I remember a coach of the West Indies team telling me that I don’t need to play for the West Indies team because I was financially good and that I should leave it for people who aren’t financially good and I didn’t understand,” said Powell.

According to the elegant left-hander, his finances should not be used to count against him playing for the region.

“No one would look at a LeBron James or a Cristiano Ronaldo, and so many others, that based on all the investments they have that they don’t need to play anymore. Obviously, we know the history of athletes going bankrupt,” he said.

Chief of selectors, Roger Harper, asked about the exclusion of Kieron Pollard, said the issue was one based completely on cricket and that there was no personal feeling toward Powell one way or the other.

“I don’t know of any problem with Powell. When we picked our squad, we picked what we thought was the best squad for those conditions,” said Harper.

The West Indies tour of England will see them fight to retain the Wisden Trophy they took from England last year.

Chairman of selectors, Roger Harper, said in an interview recently that Caribbean territories needed to take more responsibility in the arena of developing world-class cricketers and he is right.

Now, as chairman of selectors, he may have good reason to turn attention away from the Cricket West Indies, since it is they who employ him. But even if that is the case, he still has a point.

For a long time, the blame for the dwindling fortunes of West Indies cricket has been put squarely at the feet of the West Indies Cricket Board now Cricket West Indies.

As the governing body of the sport in the region, placing the blame there is, on the face of it, the natural thing to do.

After all, what else are you there for?

I read a column from one of my esteemed colleagues, a one Leighton Levy recently, where he pointed to the death of grassroots cricket as one of the reasons for West Indies’ demise over the last 25 years.

Furthermore, Leighton went on to vaguely describe a plan to expand grassroots cricket and to create a system for the transitioning of that grassroots cricket to the senior levels and ultimately to the production of more world-class cricketers.

Leighton’s theory doesn’t seem to fall too far adrift of Harper’s, who while not charting a way forward as did the journalist among the pairing, seems to suggest the problem lies at the beginning rather than at the end.

So while Cricket West Indies is the obvious ‘scapegoat’ in analyzing the reasons for the senior team’s decline, there may be merit in pointing a finger elsewhere.

But here’s the kicker. No longer is the Caribbean an escape from the fast-paced world, a place where time stands still and where the things of importance are what they’ve always been.

Today, there is cable television, android boxes, firesticks, and websites that bring the world rushing into the Caribbean.

That has created, and understandably so, a bit of an identity crisis, although maybe it is no crisis at all.

Cricket is no longer the most popular sport in the Caribbean. Through no fault of Cricket West Indies, children are growing up with heroes on the NBA courts, on the football fields, on the track.

Players like Chris Gayle, Dwayne Bravo, Marlon Samuels, Kieron Pollard, impose larger-than-life characters on the Caribbean but it is not the same as the days when Clive Lloyd and Viv Richards walked the region as Gods.

The West Indies, over the course of 15 years had already proved that men from humble beginnings can compete with and beat the world.

That’s nothing new.

Maybe the West Indies were too successful.

Harper suggested the territories in the West Indies were to be blamed for not producing players who could make the jump to the next level, but these territories have much to compete with.

Nobody plays cricket anymore.

I’m in a few sports groups with serious sports fans. They talk about everything from table tennis to curling, but lately, the conversations about cricket have dwindled.

These sports fans are fathers of upcoming sports fans and maybe serious players. They won’t be told about the greatness of West Indies players of old, not that they would listen anyway.

When I was growing up, I had to watch whatever was on TV. And sometimes, that meant missing out on cartoons for, you guessed it, cricket.

I was usually pissed by this, but something happened.

I would sit and watch with my Dad and I would learn.

I would learn about the difficulty of playing the game, and the bravery of standing up to a big, strong fast bowler and how quickly the .33 of a second you had to figure out what to do with a ball and do it, really was.

I grew an appreciation for it.

But at the time, there wasn’t a lot of football on TV to compete with cricket, there wasn’t a lot of anything.

Now, with a competitive media industry, filled with the pitfalls of rights buying, I don’t have to watch cricket for an entire day.

A couple of things happen with this increased content.

One, you won’t learn very much about cricket because that takes time, and two, you may never acquire the taste for it because it isn’t fast enough. Then, to add to that, your parents don’t drill the stories of Viv Richards having his cap knocked off only crash the next delivery over the boundary ropes.

All of that combined means cricket is slowly being forgotten.

So today, the talent pool that the territories have to draw from is a much smaller thing than in recent times.

How then do these territories produce world-class players?

World-class will come from talented players vying to be the best against many other talented players.

Today, the few talented players excel very easily because there isn’t a lot of talent around them. Then they get stuck in a rut.

A few half-centuries at the regional level, mixed in with one or two centuries is enough to get your team winning more often than not.

There was a time that players had to score six or seven centuries for their team to have a chance.

Then there are the few bowlers with talent. They get easy five-fors and six-fors and have great stats. But then their opposition has come from the dwindling talent pool and the work that they have to put in to be really good isn’t understood until a 16-year-old Indian thrashes them to all parts of the ground for an entire series.

Now they’re playing catch up.

And if you watch world economics, and you’re from the Third World, you understand how difficult it is to do that.

So Harper has a point, and Leighton has a point, but how do we get our youngsters loving and playing a game they have forgotten?

For West Indies cricket to get back to being a dominant force, Chairman of selectors and former West Indies bowler, Roger Harper believes changes need to be made from the ground up.

According to Harper, all the blame for West Indies’ performance woes cannot be put at the feet of Cricket West Indies and that individual territories need to take responsibility for the cricketers they produce.

"I think a lot of buck-passing has been done. We are very proud to say when a Brian Lara is breaking all those records that he is from Trinidad but when a player is not doing well, you say what the West Indies cricket board is doing,” said Harper.

The former off-spinner who ended his career with 100 ODI wickets from 105 games and 46 Test wickets from 25 matches, believes that when the Caribbean was in its hay day, the territories were much stronger on their own.

“I think there is some inconsistency and we need to get back what we were doing in the past and take the responsibility of developing quality, world-class players," he said.

In terms of creating more world-class players, Harper believes the players in the region need to be more ambitious as well.

According to Harper, who was speaking on T&T radio station i9555, the goal shouldn’t just be to get into the senior team, but to be dominant, because without more than just a few world-class players, consistent top performances won’t exist.

“We need to have world-class players in the West Indies team. That's how our cricket and our team will get to the top, if we have a number of world-class players in the team giving us world-class performances on a consistent basis,” he said.

“[…] We have to encourage our players to do: think bigger, aim higher, think of putting in world-class performances and raise their standards to be match-winning world-class players,” said Harper.

"If you are just making 30s, and the press is slamming that he deserves a strike... I would like my job to be that I don't have to pick somebody. If you are making 30, we have a person who is making 31, then I have to decide which one to select.

"But if you are averaging in the 60s or 70s, all I have to do is write your name down, you pick yourself.

Harper said the players can compete with the rest of the world at the U19 level but then there is an issue transitioning. While the other teams have players who make the leap to the big stage.

"We have to ensure our guys can make that leap as well. A lot of it has to do with their thinking and maturity in terms of cricket. We have to help them along by developing their mental skills and tactical awareness, and help them apply their skills better."

Roger Harper, the Chairman of the West Indies selectors believes the team needs many more world-class players if it is going to be able to consistently compete with the best teams in the world. He also believes the individual territories need to a better job of creating those types of players.

Cricket West Indies (CWI) chairman of selectors Roger Harper has insisted the door remains open for all players ahead of the T20 World Cup, leaving the possibility for the inclusion of the likes of veteran players like Chris Gayle and Dwayne Bravo.

Recent statements in some quarters had suggested that the team had moved past the veteran Windies batsman, who holds the record for the most career runs in T20 cricket with 13,013.

Gayle has not played a T20I for the Windies since March 2019 but has continued to feature for various T20 leagues around the world.  Bravo returned to the West Indies T20I side after over three years out of action, to play against Ireland at home in January and then the Sri Lanka T20Is earlier this month.

“I think all available players are part of our plan at this point,” Harper said on the Mason & Guest radio show in Barbados, making specific reference to comments made by former Windies opening batsman Philo Wallace earlier this week.

“At this point, we’re still trying to find out what’s our best combination, the best composition of the team…and seeking opportunities to determine that,” he added.

“Come the last month or so prior to the World Cup, we’ll have to try to really narrow that down so the players can all get used to playing together, and understand how each other performs in different situations, and each person understands what their roles are and how to go about it. But at this point, everyone that’s available will be considered.”

Both players are expected to take place in the upcoming IPL tournament.

Recently recalled Windies all-rounder Dwayne Bravo is confident of providing part of the solution needed for the team regarding its noted lack of quality in the fast bowling department.  

The 36-year-old was recently recalled for the team’s upcoming series against Ireland after being out of international action for four years.  During the time, however, the all-rounder has enhanced his reputation as one of the sport’s premier death bowlers.

Chairman of selectors Roger Harper admitted that a primary reason for Bravo’s inclusion is geared towards bolstering the team’s death bowling.

"Death bowling is an art," Bravo said in a recent espncricinfo interview.

"Not many people around the world have really nailed death bowling to the T. If you ask anyone in world cricket to name five death bowlers in the last decade, definitely my name will come along with Lasith Malinga, Jasprit Bumrah, Mitchell Starc,” he added.

"It is not an easy time of the game, that's why it is called death. A special skill is required to bowl in those situations. Most times, if you have the ball in the death overs, and you don't win the game, everyone turns to you, and says, "okay, it is because of the last over.”

With the team’s struggles containing batsmen during the middle and death overs, often on full display, as it was at the ICC World Cup, Bravo hopes to serve as a mentor to a new generation of West Indies bowlers.

“My motivation also to try and work with current bowlers. There's [Sheldon] Cottrell, there's Keemo Paul, there's Alzarri Joseph, there's Oshane Thomas, there's Kesrick Williams. Collectively all of us have to get better, myself included. But with the experience that I have, I can get them to understand the importance of certain deliveries and when to bowl certain deliveries and work on a better finishing game plan."

For the first time in 11 years, regional four-day cricket matches will be played at the Trelawny Stadium in Jamaica.

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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