Sun | Nov 29, 2020

Windies’ Paul selection puzzles Gray

Published:Friday | October 23, 2020 | 12:12 AM
West Indies all-rounder Keemo Paul.
West Indies all-rounder Keemo Paul.

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC):

Former West Indies fast bowler Tony Gray has criticised the selection of Keemo Paul in the Test squad for New Zealand, contending the all-rounder should have been replaced by Shai Hope, whom he has labelled a “great talent”.

Paul, 22 years old, was named in a 15-man squad last week for the two-Test series, while Hope, 26, was axed after a poor run of form.

Gray said Paul, who has played only three Tests, was not well suited to the longest format as he did not possess the patience required as a seamer.

“The only problem I have [with the squad] is Keemo Paul,” Gray, whose five Tests and 25 One-Day Internationals came between 1986 and 1991, said.

“Keemo Paul, to me, at this point in time, is not suited to play Test cricket. [He is] too inconsistent with his bowling, he tries too many things, and he cannot work to a game plan, and Test cricket is working to a game plan, having the stock deliveries, [being] patient, but also having deliveries that will take wickets.

“He has wicket-taking deliveries, but the thing about him is that he is not patient. His batting has declined, too.”

Gray, the Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board’s chairman of selectors, said that if Hope was excluded from the 15-man squad, he should have been among the six reserves who formed part of the touring party.

The right-hander has averaged just 19 from 17 Tests in the last two and a half years and struggled on the recent tour of England with an average of 17 from six innings.

“You have enough seamers there for two Test matches, [and] you have [Roston] Chase there, who is an efficient bowler [and] gets wickets at Test level,” Gray said.

“You need to have Shai Hope around. If you’re not picking him in the Test squad, you’ve got to pick him in the reserves. But you’ve got to work with him [because] he’s such a great talent.”

West Indies suffered a 2-1 defeat on the tour of England last July, with the batting at fault for the two defeats in the final matches at Manchester.

And Gray said he was pleased selectors had not responded emotionally by “chopping and changing” as there was still a need to continue building a team, especially with the current limitations on the development of players.