Franchises stick with nationals... But T&T grab Sarwan
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC): Regional franchises made a mockery of yesterday's draft for the inaugural West Indies Professional Cricket League, largely shunning the non-territorial options available and choosing instead to stick with their national players.
Of the 30 players chosen in the draft staged at the Accra Hotel here, only two will play for teams based outside the country of their birth.
Guyanese Ramnaresh Sarwan, the out-of-favour Test batsman, was selected by Trinidad and Tobago as a second-round pick, while Barbados all-rounder Raymon Reifer was chosen by Guyana as a first round pick.
Barbados, Jamaica, Leeward Islands, and Windward Islands all went for players from their territories.
The draft picks selected will now join the 10 players retained by each regional franchise, forming 15-man squads to contest the newly revised first class championship, which bowls off November 14th and runs until March 23rd, 2015.
Sarwan, meanwhile, is expected to be a big boost to T&T, who open their campaign against arch-rivals Barbados at Queen's Park Oval.
A former Guyana and West Indies captain, the right-hander has played 87 Tests, 181 one-day internationals (ODI) and 18 Twenty20 internationals. However, he has not played a Test in three years and an international match in over a year, because of loss of form and fitness. He has turned out for Leicestershire in the English County Championship for the last two seasons.
"We felt having a player of the calibre of Sarwan in our side would be invaluable to our squad, which includes a number of young players," Trinidad and Tobago head coach Gus Logie said.
Reifer, meanwhile, has emerged as one of the more talented regional all-rounders in recent seasons. An attacking left-handed batsman and steady left-arm seamer, Reifer has never represented Barbados but has played his first class cricket for Combined Campuses and Colleges (CCC).
Guyana chairman of selectors, Rayon Griffith, said Reifer would fill an important gap in the side.
"We have struggled with the all-rounder role, and we were glad to get a second player in the all-rounder position," said Griffith.
Guyana open their season against Leeward Islands at the National Stadium at Providence.
Barbadian pacer Fidel Edwards, who has taken 155 wickets from 55 Tests, was overlooked in the draft.
GUYANA: Raymon Reifer; Rajendra Chandrika; Keon Joseph; Paul Wintz; Vishal Singh.
LEEWARDS: Anthony Mar-tin; Gavin Tonge; Rahkeem Cornwall; Jacques Taylor; Lyndel Richardson.
JAMAICA: André McCarthy; Shacaya Thomas; Horace Miller; Brandon King; Brian Buchanan.
WINDWARD ISLANDS: Mervyn Matthew; Nelon Pascal; Lyndon James; Dalton Polius; Romel Currency.
TRINIDAD & TOBAGO: Akeal Hosein; Ramnaresh Sarwan; Yannick Ottley; Jeremy Solozano; Brian Charles.
BARBADOS: Tino Best; Shai Hope; Kenroy Williams; Ryan Hinds; Roston Chase.