Sun | Jul 5, 2020

Khan concerned about Guyanese duo future

Published:Saturday | June 6, 2020 | 12:08 AM

PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad (CMC):

A former manager of the Windies team has warned that all-rounder Keemo Paul and left-handed batsman Shimron Hetmyer may have taken a big risk opting out of next month’s tour of England.

Omar Khan, who is also manager of the Guyana Amazon Warriors franchise, which Paul and Hetmyer represent, said that, while he understood the duo’s concerns, they should have been part of the three-match series that will be the first Test played in a “bio-secure” environment, because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cricket West Indies (CWI) confirmed Wednesday that the two Guyanese, and Trinidadian Darren Bravo, had declined to be part of the 14-man team chosen to help the Windies retain the Wisden Trophy.

A total of 25 players, including 11 reserves, will fly to England on private charters on Monday and will live, train and play in a “bio-secure” environment during their seven weeks in England, which includes Test matches beginning on July 8, 16 and 24.

“A situation like this is mentally taxing on the player. This is the first time that a series is being played under the present COVID-19 situation and, hence, the players are not sure how all will pan out,” Khan, who managed the West Indies team from 2007 to 2010, told Guardian Media Sports on Thursday.

“I could understand mentally that the players would want to be totally comfortable but, in my personal view, I think Hetmyer and Paul should have gone.”

CWI said it fully respected the decision of those cricketers not to go on the tour, and assured that would not be held against them when consideration is given to future selection.

Khan said, while that was comforting, the players who opted out could face another problem.

“Other players have come in to replace them and, if they perform and cement a spot, then it will be harder for them to break back into the team,” he cautioned.

However, he said, “They would have had to weigh all those options before making a decision. Once they are comfortable, that is important.”

The centrally contracted Paul, Hetmyer and Bravo, in declining selection, reportedly expressed concerns about their health and the well-being of their families, given that more than 281,000 people in the United Kingdom had been infected with COVID-19, including almost 40,000 who died from the virus.

ESPNcricinfo reported that CWI chief executive Johnny Grave said 22-year-old Paul had emailed the governing body for cricket in the region, explaining that he was the sole breadwinner for his household and wider family and was “really concerned if something happened to him, how his family would cope”.


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