ROSEAU, Dominica (CMC):
Former Windward Islands manager, Tom Lafond, says he is stunned by the omission of off-spinner Shane Shillingford from the West Indies 15-man squad for next month's tour of Bangladesh, and believes insularity is creeping back into the regional selection policy.
West Indies selectors announced the squad last week, with Guyana left-arm spinner Veerasammy Permaul as the only new cap but with Shillingford excluded.
According to the outspoken Lafond, the non-inclusion of Shillingford cannot be justified.
"I am definitely very surprised. I am really flabbergasted. I got flabbergasted when I heard the team," Lafond said.
"I could not believe that the selectors could leave out Shane Shiillingford from a tour of Bangladesh or even Sri Lanka for that matter since that is the kind of bowler that you need on these kinds of wickets.
"To have selected Permaul ahead of Shane to me is a travesty. Additionally, when I look at the team and I see that Kirk Edwards is recalled, it leaves me to believe that we are going back to the days of insularity, and that is one of the concerns that I have."
The 29-year-old Shillingford has emerged as the regional side's front-line spinner in recent times, getting ahead of Guyanese leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo and Barbadian left-arm spinner Sulieman Benn in the pecking order.
Following a near two-year hiatus to reorder his bowling action, Shillingford returned to international cricket with success earlier this year against the touring Australians, picking up 14 wickets in two Tests.
This included a 10-wicket match haul before his home crowd in Dominica in the third and final Test, which West Indies lost by 75 runs.
Lafond, a well respected cricket commentator on the island, believes that insularity is creeping into regional cricket once again.
"One may say that Permaul is a younger player [but] Permaul cannot compare to Shane Shillingford," Lafond argued.