With just a couple of months or more left for the T20 World Cup to start in Australia, Phil Simmons, the coach of the West Indies National Team, is anything but happy. The coach, a hero in his playing days, cannot choose the best outfit for the T20 World Cup. It is an unenviable situation since all the other cricketing Nations have their core team in place, whereas the Caribbean selectors and coaches are in the wilderness.
“I don’t think that I should be begging people to play for the West Indies,” Simmons said in a sad tone. Their players have created the crisis on many fronts, the most important of them being commitments to Franchise Cricket being played elsewhere.
The West Indies selectors need their entire set of players to stay and play for the national Team in the run-up to the Tournament. Such participation would allow them to decide on the Team, which must be announced well ahead of the Tournament. The chosen fifteen have to then practice together before setting sail to Australia. Apart from the players playing Franchise Cricket, a few are nursing injuries which add to their woes.
“It hurts. There’s no other way to put it. But what can you do? I don’t think I should be begging people to play for their countries. I think if you want to represent West Indies, you will make yourself available,” said Simmons in a stern tone.
He is right, as a few big names are missing from the selection list. To start with, Andre Russell, the top all-rounder, has not reported in for selection. The other player is Sunil Narine, who is found to be playing the “Hundred “.
“Life has changed in that people have the opportunities to go different places, and if they choose that over West Indies, that’s just how it is, “Simmons said in a brooding voice.
Anxiety is rising as three more names are injured on the bench. These include Sheldon Cottrell, Roston Chase and Fabian Allen. Mystery looms over Oshane Thomas and Evin Lewis, who have not appeared before the committee for physical examination and the fitness tests to follow.
Although the West Indies started their campaign against the visiting Indian Team encouragingly, the results at the end of the series were nothing but dismal. The Indians romped home with a 4- 1 victory, many of which were one-sided.
The Kiwis started their campaign against the Islanders yesterday (10th Aug), and the first T20 of three has again favoured the visitors. They won by a comfortable margin of 13 runs, and none in the Caribbean Islands were excited about it.
Desmond Haynes, now the Chief Selector of the West Indies, had this to say about Andre Russell.
“From what I have gathered, I think he is unavailable because he hasn’t made himself available,”. He said, “I will love everyone to play for West Indies. I would love to make sure that all the guys make themselves available to play,”. He said, “But you must realise that the guys have options now, and if guys are choosing other franchises in front of West Indies, then we have to pick from who is available to us.! ” which means he is not going to bow down completely.
Anyone who knows Haynes would know his ‘Die-Hard ” capability. One can only hope that normalcy is restored in a short while from now for the Selectors to do their job!