Fri | Oct 15, 2021

GCB livid at exclusion of its players

Regional board says WI selection panel must explain ‘fiasco’ or face dismissal

Published:Friday | September 17, 2021 | 7:56 PM
St. Kitts and Nevis Patriots' Sherfane Rutherford scores during his unbeaten half century against the Tamaica Tallawahs, in their Hero Caribbean Premier League T20 cricket match at Warner Park in St. Kitts on September 1, 2021.
St. Kitts and Nevis Patriots' Sherfane Rutherford scores during his unbeaten half century against the Tamaica Tallawahs, in their Hero Caribbean Premier League T20 cricket match at Warner Park in St. Kitts on September 1, 2021.
Romario Shepherd (centre) and Kevin Sinclair (left) of Guyana Amazon Warriors celebrate winning against the Trinbago Knight Riders in the super over during the 2021 Hero Caribbean Premier League cricket match at Warner Park Sporting Complex in Basseterre,
Romario Shepherd (centre) and Kevin Sinclair (left) of Guyana Amazon Warriors celebrate winning against the Trinbago Knight Riders in the super over during the 2021 Hero Caribbean Premier League cricket match at Warner Park Sporting Complex in Basseterre, St. Kitts and Nevis, on September 1, 2021. Trinbago's Tim Seifert reacts to their loss by looking at his bat.
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GEORGETOWN, Guyana (CMC):

THE GUYANA Cricket Board (GCB) has slammed the selection of the Twenty20 World Cup squad as a “fiasco” and has called on Cricket West Indies (CWI) to fire the Roger Harper-led panel, unless they can justify the rationale behind the touring party for the October showpiece.

In a strongly worded statement, the GCB contended the selection process “appeared riddled with inconsistencies, clearly subjective and discriminatory”, and had led to the “noticeable omission” of the Guyanese quartet of fast-bowling all-rounder Romario Shepherd, batsmen Sherfane Rutherford and Chandrapaul Hemraj, and left-arm spinners Gudakesh Motie and Veerasammy Permaul.

“The Executive and members of the Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) wish to once again express our extreme concern with the continuous omission of Guyanese players from representative teams of Cricket West Indies (CWI), as well as from the players’ retainer contracts of CWI,” the GCB statement said.

“Because of the noticeable omission of our players – Romario Shepherd, Sherfane Rutherford, Gudakesh Motie, Veerasammy Permaul and Chandrapaul Hemraj – we reiterate our call for an explanation of the reasons for these omissions, together with the selection policy information used.

“The impression is created that there is no selection criteria document or it is a closely guarded secret that cannot stand up to scrutiny.”

The GCB said it had written to CWI last May seeking clarity and expressing concerns about the selection process, especially with respect to the continued exclusion of Guyanese players.

However, the GCB said it had been rebuffed by CWI, with the regional governing body arguing there was “no requirement or obligation for CWI to explain the decision(s) of their selection policy”.

Selectors ignored Shepherd’s irrepressible form for Guyana Amazon Warriors in the just-concluded Caribbean Premier League, where he snatched 18 wickets at 14 runs apiece and an economy rate of just over 7 ½ runs, while also producing some powerful lower-order cameos, including one astonishing half-century.

Teammate Hemraj lashed a maiden hundred during the competition – one of only two triple-figure scores by West Indies players – while Motie snared eight wickets and Permaul, six.

Rutherford’s omission was even more baffling, the right-hander hitting three half-centuries in tallying 262 runs at an average of 37 for eventual champions St Kitts and Nevis Patriots.

Harper said the left-hander was one of several players overlooked after failing to meet CWI’s fitness requirements, a point disputed by the GCB.

“The GCB is perplexed with the contention by CWI selectors that Sherfane Rutherford is unfit. CWI should advise the Caribbean cricket public regarding the standard and schedule for fitness tests for regional cricketers,” the GCB argued.

“The GCB holds the view that Rutherford is game-fit as clearly indicated by his outstanding performances in the 2021 Caribbean Premier League (CPL) and his selection to the Sunrisers Hyderabad team in the Indian Premier League (IPL).

“The GCB regards the issue of Rutherford’s fitness as an excuse to exclude one of the talented young cricketers in the Caribbean.”

Since the squad’s announcement last week, selectors have come under heavy criticism for the inclusion of veteran left-hander Chris Gayle, whose form has been shocking in recent months.

In fact, the Jamaican, who turns 42 next week, has averaged 17 from 16 T20 Internationals this year and has managed a single half-century in the last five years.

His form showed no sign of improvement in the CPL, as the superstar averaged 18, with a highest score of 42 in nine outings.

Fast bowler Ravi Rampaul, at age 36, was also recalled despite having not played international cricket in six years, but having picked up 19 wickets for Trinbago Knight Riders.

Fast bowler Oshane Thomas, who has struggled with fitness issues, was also included despite taking one wicket in only two T20Is this year and finishing with six wickets at an average of 28 for Barbados Royals in the recent CPL.

Even left-hander Darren Bravo made it on to the four-man reserves which will travel with the squad, despite an average of 16 from seven innings.

“The CWI selection panel has disappointed Guyana and the Caribbean at large,” the GCB asserted.

“The GCB (as a shareholder of CWI) is insisting that the selection panel be accountable to all cricket institutions and stakeholders in the region and to justify this latest selection fiasco.

“Failure to do so, the GCB calls on CWI to dismiss the selection panel and to replace it with a more competent one which will represent the best interests of West Indies cricket.”