It can never be the best policy not to play your best team

Dear Editor,
Why has Shoahib Malik played 247 ODIs, Mohammad Hafeez 185, and the West Indian batsmen expected to lead the side, at best, 10 matches? There must be some West Indian cricket official who can provide an explanation. Part of the explanation is that while all the major cricket countries have a youth (under19) team and a senior team, the modern policy of the WICB is to have an under 19 and an over 19 youth team, because mature West Indian cricketers, of whom there are not many, are too insolent and/or too mercenary to represent the West Indies. The population of the region is infinitesimal compared to that of other cricketing countries, so logically the supply of cricketers would be much smaller, but we have found a way to reduce the supply available for international cricket by continuously waging war on senior cricketers and enacting selection eligibility rules to punish them. The WICB directors could not sustain such a policy if there were not support for it in the region. That support is based on the belief that West Indian international teams were not winning even with their best players. The truth, however, is that the West Indies won the Champion’s trophy in 2004, were in the semi-finals some years later, and won the Twenty-20 championship in both 2012 and 2016. What is more it can never be the best policy not to play your best team. Just one example: Can a rational group of selectors choose Walton ahead of Samuels in an ODI? The reader may be surprised how many West Indian fans would approve of such a decision. Things must change and fast!

Yours faithfully,
Romain Pitt

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