I am very angry about the present state of West Indies cricket, and more so the performance of the team in the World Cup. To begin with I would like to recommend that the entire Clyde Butts selection panel be sacked. In the first place, how can the selectors pick two left-arm spinners and no specialist off-spinner and leg-spinner? Knowing the conditions in the sub-continent, they had no vision and foresight. All the big teams have three or more specialist spinners in their line-ups: India – Harbhajan, Chawla, Ashwin and Yuvraj; Pakistan – Afridi, Ajmal, Hafeez and Rehman; England – Swann, Yardy, Tredwell; Sri-Lanka – Murali, Mendes, Herath; and even South Africa has Tahir, Botha and Peterson. Miller should not have been selected; instead Bishoo and Ryan Austin should have been selected in the original squad. Selectors should select teams to suit the conditions they will play under. When you have selectors of the ilk of Butts, Browne and Haynes who could not command a place in the West Indies team during their playing days, little wonder that West Indies cricket is where it is today – in the doldrums.
It is clear the days of Gayle, Sarwan, Chanderpaul, Sammy, Pollard, Benn and Miller are over (I am talking here Tests and 50 overs cricket). As far as I am concerned, Gayle and Pollard don’t care a hang about West Indies cricket, they only are playing for the money. Sarwan and Chanderpaul should retire. Here again, they should never have been selected for the World Cup. They are no longer limited overs cricketers. Sammy should do the honourable thing and resign the captaincy; he is a very limited cricketer amd should not even have been in the West Indies team, likewise Miller. As for Benn, besides being a reasonable left-arm spinner, he is hopeless in all other aspects as a cricketer, be it, batting, fielding, discipline or commitment.
After the humiliation and pain West Indies fans had to suffer during the World Cup, now is the time for a complete change and a fresh start, with a selection panel comprising Clive Lloyd, Viv Richards and Michael Holding or Joel Garner.
The team that should be selected for the upcoming Pakistan and India series is as follows:
i) A Barath
ii) L Simmons
iii) D Ganga (Captain)
iv) Dwayne Bravo (Vice Captain)
v) Darren Bravo
vi) M Samuels
vii) B Nash
viii) D Ramdin
ix) D Bishoo
x) F Edwards
xi) J Taylor
xii) K Roach
xiii) A Russel
xiv) V Permaul
xv) R. Austin
xvi) D Smith
My choice for the captaincy is based on the fact that Darren Ganga is no doubt the best captain in the West Indies at present and has been scoring runs consistently over the past two years. He cannot do worse than Sammy. Marlon Samuels and Lendl Simmons deserve another chance. I think they have learnt their lessons and will be hungry for success. I know the Veerasammy Permaul selection will raise many eyebrows, but those of us who know Bishoo and Permaul can attest to the fact that we knew it was only a matter of time before Permaul made the West Indies team before Bishoo. However, as fate would have it, Permaul went to the High Performance Centre and did not play in the Regional 20/20 tournament and the subsequent IPL Champions League in South Africa; Bishoo played and the rest is now history. For the Coziers, Bishops and all the other television commentators who are now singing the praises of Bishoo, wait until you see Permaul. Besides being an excellent left-arm spinner, he is also an outstanding fielder and more than a capable batsman.
I can gurarantee he will be a great asset to the West Indies team. The reason why I chose Ryan Austin is because for too long, we never got the balance of our attack right, and with Austin, Bishoo and Permaul we will have all the options covered (off-spin, leg-spin and left-arm spin). With a fit Jerome Taylor, Fidel Edwards, Kemar Roach and the exciting Andre Russel, we will have a world-class bowling attack.
Editor, I am pretty confident if we select this team, we will be well on our way to being the number one cricket team in the world in the not too distant future.