CRAB HILL, Barbados, CMC – Stung by their second straight defeat, Barbados have axed captain Jason Haynes and elevated Dale Richards to the position ahead of their 11th round match in the WICB regional four-day competition against Leeward Islands, starting today at the North Stars Social & Cultural Club.
The pride of the Barbadians suffered a big blow, following defeats to Windward Islands and Jamaica that have left them stuck on 54 points in third place, and virtually eliminated their chances of taking the title.
They face a Leewards side that has recovered from a shaky start to the season and steadily improved to win two of their last three matches to climb to 47 points and fourth place.
But Haynes and the Barbadians have run into some trouble. The results and his personal form have suffered, and the selection panel has turned to Richards for the remainder of the season.
“The selectors are concerned about the form and confidence of Jason Haynes, the appointed captain, and have decided to leave him out of the team at this time,” a news release from the Barbados Cricket Association said.
Rumours had circulated following Monday’s 242-run defeat to Jamaica that Haynes had resigned, and senior fast bowler Corey Collymore had quit the team. But the BCA said in a release on Tuesday that there were no truths to the rumours.
Collymore, in fact, has been named in the squad for the match, but the Barbadians enter the match without two key performers that helped them to win the first leg match in the third round of the competition in St. Maarten by a handsome innings and 55 runs.
“Sulieman Benn and Ryan Hinds have requested that they be rested for this match due to fatigue and tiredness given the amount of cricket which they have been playing since the start of the season and the selectors have acceded to their request,” the national governing body said. Both sides should have adequate motivation with the Barbadians hoping to maintain their dominance from earlier in the season, and Leewards looking to gain their revenge.
The last time the two sides met at North Stars two years ago, Barbados narrowly gained first innings points in a match that ended in a draw and was spoiled by rain.
But the Barbadians have a number of problems with their line-up which was shown up in the previous match against the Jamaicans.
Their batting is unreliable, though Hinds, opener Dale Richards, and Dwayne Smith are among the leading run-scorers.
The Barbadians have brought former youth stars Shamarh Brooks, Jonathan Carter, and Rashidi Boucher into the line-up, and it remains to be seen if they can have the desired effect.
The bowling has also been inconsistent, but the return of Tino Best for Kemar Roach should add a little bit more edge.
Leewards will be far more confident in their batting than they were earlier in the season, and the bowling also seems to have become much tighter, having bowled them to the two victories.
Leewards have retained the same squad that travelled to Guyana for the previous match which was badly affected by rain, so players like Runako Morton, Gavin Tonge, Austin Richards Jr, Kieran Powell, Tonito Willett, and Wilden Cornwall are expected to feature.
BARBADOS: Dale Richards (captain), Tino Best, Rashidi Boucher, Shamarh Brooks, Patrick Browne, Jonathan Carter, Nikolai Charles, Corey Collymore, Kirk Edwards, Rohan Nurse, Javon Searles, Dwayne Smith, Kevin Stoute
LEEWARD ISLANDS: Steve Liburd (captain), Justin Athanaze, Wilden Cornwall, Brent Defreitas, Montcin Hodge, Anthony Martin, Runako Morton, Codville Rogers, Kieran Powell, Austin Richards, Devon Thomas, Gavin Tonge, Tonito Willett