Letter of the day: Selectors, bear blame for Windies debacle
THE EDITOR, Sir:
I was one of the couple hundred West Indies supporters who went to Sabina Park on the weekend to witness the inevitable debacle there.
Having spent so much of my youth at those hallowed grounds witnessing the likes of Greenidge, Haynes, Gomes, Richards, Lloyd, Richardson, Lara, Adams, Dujon, Holding, Marshall, Walsh, Ambrose, Garner, et al, I was saddened to see the depths to which we have succumbed and spent much of Saturday, while watching the match, regaling my sons with stories of past West Indian greatness I had witnessed at Sabina.
The surprising - and somewhat arrogant - second-innings declaration by the Aussies speaks volumes about what they thought (rightly) about our batting line-up, and I can't help but think that the match - and series - was lost from the team selection long before the players took to the pitch.
Much was said by Clive Lloyd and the selectors about the recent poor run of form by Shivnarine Chanderpaul in justifying his being unceremoniously dropped from the home series. In hindsight, however, even his 'poor' recent form and much-talked-about average of 15.33 in his last six Test innings would have been welcome runs in light of the performances witnessed at the crease.
One wonders whether the Aussies would have left us with just 393 to make, with more than two days to spare, had Chanderpaul - and others - been in our starting eleven, considering his penchant for occupying the crease for long periods.
The selectors made much about rebuilding and 'a focus on youth', but the team selected was more comparable with a questionable first-class side than a Test team. We were like lambs to the slaughter, and one felt that even the Aussies felt somewhat sorry for us from the get-go.
While the selectors clearly have a responsibility to build for the future, they also have an immediate responsibility to the fans, the sponsors and, yes, even to our opponents, to field a respectable team worthy of at least competing at the highest level.
youth balanced by experience
The best teams in any sport are those that have the right blend between youth and experience. I hold firmly to the belief that even an out-of-form and past-his-best Shivnarine Chanderpaul would have been a far better inclusion than many of those in the side.
His experience and dogged resistance were sorely lacking, and no doubt contributed to our always-on-the-cards demise. To further make the point, after watching Phil Simmons warming up the slip cordon between innings, I jokingly wondered if his inclusion in the side - pot belly and all - would not have been welcome, seeing that our openers made 4, 0, 0 and 0 for a grand combined total of FOUR runs in 4 innings at the wicket!
The word 'accountability' no longer exists in West Indian cricket and we are now sadly reaping what we have sown. Part of the overhaul that is needed is indeed with the selectors themselves, and their poor choices did nothing to help us field our best starting eleven.
We have been done a disservice, and I respectfully suggest that Clive Lloyd and the other selectors be big enough to consider issuing the fans, the sponsors and the Aussies with a formal apology as they were a significant contributor to this latest embarrassment.
JOHN P. AZAR