Tue | Dec 12, 2017

Laurie Foster | Enough chopping and changing!

Published:Tuesday | November 7, 2017 | 12:00 AM

Although no head count is available to confirm, it is a reasonable conclusion that a significant percentage of West Indies cricket fans would not have agreed with a request made to the chairman of selectors, Courtney Browne, shortly after the two match Zimbabwe series. West Indies had taken the encounter by 1-0, having lost to England previously 2-1 in another match-up also on foreign soil.

With another two test matches coming up later this month with the opponents being New Zealand, the West Indies coach, Australian Stuart Law, is asking that the selectors choose the same squad to face the Kiwis, as the New Zealanders are called. The coach actually stated his concerns, saying that "the current group retained from the England tour last August, was developing nicely as a unit, and to make any changes would be disruptive going forward".

Law, to further boost his chances of having his thoughts register positively with Brown and his panel, continued. "It's a short turnaround between now and New Zealand as well. To bring someone else in or a number of players in, I don't think would be a great move in the sense that we would have to start again with those players."

 

COMFORTABLE LEAD

 

Specifically mentioned in putting forward his case was Kyle Hope, who was dismal in England and only marginally better on the African leg. Similarly, wicketkeeper Shane Dowrich was unimpressive in England, both with the bat and behind the stumps, but made a turnaround in Zimbabwe by scoring a century in a record breaking eighth-wicket stand with skipper Holder that gave the team a comfortable lead on the first innings.

With New Zealand expected to be a challenging series, Law reiterated the importance of resisting the "need to chop and change such an important time".

Law continued his point: "It's a fine line. I understand that some people out there are saying we need to chop and change, but if we keep the same group together, we learn together and we start becoming one; we'll start putting more results on the board."

There is a long-held culture in West Indies cricket. When players do not perform, there seems to be a rush to get rid of them and insert others whose performances do not necessarily show that they are more capable of doing the job. When the new set fails, as frequently occurs, there is no acceptable basis on which to structure the way forward. It is in this regard that Foster's Fairplay is in support of Coach Law.

 

DURATION AGREEMENT

 

In addition to a regular contract, which outlines financial terms, it is being suggested that there should be a duration agreement which addresses performance criteria. A player needs the mental comfort of knowing that he is selected for, say 10 test matches, come what may, before his name will come up for replacement. How else can he have the confidence to go out there and face the opposition when one false shot or a bad spell can change his life forever? The mind goes back to the promising opener, Leon Garrick, who scored a ton of runs in regional cricket, including a double century immediately prior to selection for a test match against South Africa. One moment of overindulgence as he attacked fastman Allan Donald on his first ball ... caught at gully, and life was never the same for him again.

What Law has achieved with this young team cannot be said to be special as the lowly Zimbabwe was one of its conquests. A single test win over England should be viewed against the background that the Englishmen entered the series with a dodgy middle order in which three of one to six were unsure about their game.

The selectors are urged to give him his way, if only for the fact that it might be the only viable option to get back to where the team needs to be.

To end on a sad note, Brenda Archer, a tall, elegant and graceful high jumper out of Guyana, and who represented her country at the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome, passed away recently. Foster's Fairplay extends deepest sympathies to her family, colleagues, friends, and loved ones.

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