Amid a furore over the exclusion of under-19 player Shimron Hetmeyer as a junior member of the Amazon Warriors, the Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) has distanced itself from that decision and Hetemyer was subsequently included by the franchise after questions were asked.
“As an initiative geared towards the development of our young Guyanese cricketers, the management of the Guyana Amazon Warriors team has decided to include six (6) under-19 players to join the team for the preparation camp and to be part of the Guyana Amazon Warriors team for their home games,” a statement sent on behalf of the Amazon Warriors franchise said. Hetmeyer was one of the six selected which also included Tagenarine Chanderpaul, Kemo Paul, Daniel Basdeo, Kevin Paul, and Akshay Persaud.
The GCB had been asked to nominate three under-19 players for possible selection to the Amazon Warriors squad and earlier, chairman of the GCB’s Junior Selection Panel Nazimul Drepaul, in a statement, distanced his officials from the decision to include Kevin Paul as fourth junior member of the Amazon Warriors. “I must make it abundantly clear that the GCB is not involved in the selection of players for the Amazon Warriors. The GCB received an email from the Amazon Warriors’ Manager, Omar Khan requesting the names of three U-19 players to be nominated by the GCB for possible selection to the squad to participate in the camp and join the team for their home matches,” he said.
According to Drepaul, the request from Khan specified the specialty of the three players and only one batsman was requested. Hetemyer is an opening batsman and has been performing well. “My panel selected three players based on their performances in the recently concluded Inter-County U-19 Tournament. Khan then requested that the batsman selected be replaced with Tagenarine Chanderpaul. The player we selected performed exceptionally well in the U-19 tournament and has all the requirements to be a T20 batsman, but after much deliberation, my panel reluctantly agreed to the request of the Amazon Warriors’ management,” Drepaul said. He did not name the batsman who was initially selected.
“I must make it abundantly clear that the GCB is not involved in the selection of players for the Amazon Warriors,” Drepaul stated. He also said that his panel did not select Kevin Paul, the fourth U-19 player in the Amazon Warriors’ squad. “I reiterate that our nominations were made as per the required specifications of Omar Khan, and the players’ performance at the U-19 Competition,” he asserted.
When subsequently questioned by Stabroek Sports, Drepaul provided further clarification but did not answer some questions. He revealed that four players were initially selected and the names were sent to the Guyana Amazon Warriors’ management. These four included all-rounders Kemo Paul and Basdeo along with batsmen Brian Sattaur and Hetmeyer.
He said that they then received the email from Khan, requesting the names of three U-19 players. Who were the three selected after Khan’s request? Drepaul refused to give a conclusive answer and said that Kemo Paul and Basdeo were accepted but he refused to name the third person despite being asked several times.
Asked the criteria for selecting the three players, Drepaul said it was based on Khan’s request regarding the specialties of the players as well as their performance in the recent Inter-County U-19 Tournament. The official recalled that Khan then requested that the batsman selected be replaced with Chanderpaul.
When asked why the fast bowling all-rounders and a batsman were preferred, Drepaul said that the bowlers were required to provide batting practice for the batsmen. Meanwhile, he was uncertain of the reasons for the batsman, though he opined that it is probably to gain experience. Drepaul also distanced his panel from the selection of Demerara’s all-rounder Kevin Paul. “The best person to answer that would be Omar Khan the manager of the Amazon Warriors,” he said.
There are several issues surrounding the criteria used to select the under-19 players for the Guyana Amazon Warriors’ squad, however, it seems like those issues, including who selected the four under-19 players, were the best four selected, why did Khan prefer Chanderpaul over the other batsman (who was not named), and who selected Kevin Paul, will remain unanswered.
Based on the GCB statement, it seems as though the selectors were given guidelines to select the under-19 players, however, answers to whether these guidelines were followed can only be provided by the management of the Amazon Warriors team.
Drepaul also explained the omission of Gudakesh Motie-Kanhai. “Contrary to those news articles about the non-selection of Gudakesh Motie-Kanhai, I want to inform all that Motie-Kanhai could not have been considered for selection as he is no longer classified as a U-19 player,” he said.
Meanwhile, the statement from the Amazon Warriors management said that the under-19 players selected will be involved in all training, sessions and other team activities during the Guyana Amazon Warriors team camp and match practice schedule when the team is in Guyana for their home games. The camp and games are scheduled for next month.
The statement also said that the Guyana Amazon Warriors team management would make every effort to ensure that these players interact with the international players Mohamed Hafeez, Corey Anderson, Martin Guptill and Sunil Narine as well as team mentor Sir Curtly Ambrose and head coach Roger Harper.