Orville Higgins | Windies selectors did a good job
It is not very often that the West Indies selectors come up with a squad that I find difficult to disagree with any of the players they choose. Team selection is a very tricky business even at the best of times, but when your team is struggling and the options are not too wide, then picking a squad can be a most difficult exercise. By and large, though, I think Courtney Browne and his men cannot be faulted for the names they came up with.
The name that is most discussed is that of Darren Bravo. Questions must be raised about the fact that he has played only one first-class in two years. In that one game, against the Jamaica Scorpions, he looked OK but not particularly special. He failed to impress in the first innings, but his 35 in the second innings showed glimpses of what he had (and maybe still has) to offer. After all the hullabaloo about him not being selected until he plays first-class cricket, it's interesting that he was selected after just one game. Clearly, he is being picked more on reputation than current form, but when the batsmen have struggled the way they have in the last two series, then Bravo is worth the gamble.
The selection of opener John Campbell has also been questioned in some quarters. His detractors point out his overall average of only 30 and wonder whether he merits his selection. It is true that Campbell has not set the place on fire in the two regional games he played this season, but in the last regional season, he scored over 600 runs with an average of 43 and a top score of 156. With runs from the regional openers in short supply, this was enough to convince the selectors that he deserved his run, and I have no issue with that. Campbell is talented. He can be a little careless at times when seemingly well set. He will have to learn fast how to concentrate for long periods in Test cricket, but he deserves his chance.
I have written and spoken enough about the continued omission of Nikita Miller. That dead horse has been flogged repeatedly. Even in the twilight of his career, he is still demonstrating that he is the best spinner around. A surprise call-up for him would not have been out of place. I am okay with Jomel Warrican. He has gone 11 wickets in his first four Tests at 18 apiece and clearly deserved another run.
People have also raised eyebrows about Shamarh Brooks, but when he is going well, he is one of the better talents in the region. The rest of the squad virtually picked themselves. Interesting that Oshane Thomas is the standby for Alzarri Joseph. Thomas has loads of potential but is still a work in progress where his own fitness is concerned.
It's a decent squad, representing the best we have at present. For all the troubles in West Indies cricket England have found it difficult to beat the Caribbean team when they play at home. The current squad certainly does have the potential to push England hard in the upcoming series.