Make life difficult for selectors, Reifer tells regional players

Fast bowler Alzarri Joseph (left) chats with bowling coach Corey Collymore. (Photo courtesy CWI Media)

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, CMC – President’s XI head coach, Floyd Reifer, has urged the region’s first class cricketers to produce consistent performances and make it difficult for selectors to ignore them.

Speaking ahead of the first of two back-to-back two-day matches against touring England here, Reifer said players too often left their international selection to chance.

“Any young man in the Caribbean who scores runs [or takes wickets] has an opportunity to get in the Test side,” Reifer told reporters here.

“Once you put the performances there, I want the young guys in the Caribbean to pick themselves. I don’t want the guys to have their names in a hat and hope that the selectors pick you.

“Guys in the Caribbean have to pick themselves by putting consistent scores on the table, high scores on the table and be consistent with it.”

Reifer will oversee a President’s XI squad which represents a virtual second tier Test squad. It will be led by Test hopeful Jahmar Hamilton and includes the likes of Jermaine Blackwood, Alzarri Joseph, Vishaul Singh, Raymon Reifer, Miguel Cummins and Sunil Ambris, all of whom had already represented West Indies in the longest format.

Opener Chandrapaul Hemraj has already played six one-dayers but is yet to make his Test debut while batsman John Campbell, fast bowler Chemar Holder and off-spinner Bryan Charles are uncapped in any format.

While praising the talent available across the region, Reifer pointed out there was need for more development infrastructure, especially since there was such a huge gap between the first class and international level.

“The difference between our first-class cricket and the international game is a big step,” said Reifer, who oversaw West Indies’ Twenty20 series win in Bangladesh last month.

“We have to understand that, and what we need to do is improve all-round in our franchise cricket, from the pitches, preparation, to coaching education – everything we’ve got to improve on in order to reach the international standard so it’s a big gap.”

He continued: “When guys come from first-class cricket and go straight into international cricket, they are basically learning the game as they play, which is difficult. We need academies, we need high performance centres, we need all those things to bridge the gap between first class cricket and international cricket which right now is a big gap for us.

“But we do have the talent, we have the guys that can get the job done. I believe in preparation – once we prepare well, we can do better.”

The two tour matches, the first of which which bowls off Tuesday at 3W’s Oval, UWI Cave Hill Campus, serve as England’s warm-up fixtures for the opening Test against West Indies starting January 23 at Kensington Oval.

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