Harper wary of Windies players’ inconsistency
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC):
Cricket West Indies men’s chief selector Roger Harper says that the number of players losing their central retainer contracts for the upcoming year is a reflection of the lack of consistency in West Indies cricket, and believes this has implications for performance standards at the international level.
Eleven players, eight of whom featured in the white-ball format, did not retain their contracts last week, with their performances falling below the required benchmarks during the evaluation period.
Admitting the situation was “concerning,” Harper said it was critical that players at all levels of the West Indies system understood the link between their personal performances and those of the international squads.
“It is concerning that consistency seems to be an issue for our players,” Harper said after the announcement of the new central retainers for the year, beginning on July 1.
“And this is something we want to make sure our players understand, that if our teams are going to perform consistently and be successful, that our players themselves have to be successful, and we have to aim to be world-class performers.
“I think that’s a message we have to send to our franchise players, our players playing regional competitions, our players from youth level, that no longer can we just be working to get into a West Indies team.
“We have to be developing players to be of a world-class standard. That is the only way we’re going to become a world-class team, if we’re going to beat the best teams in the world on a consistent basis.
Batsmen Shimron Hetmyer, Sunil Ambris, Sheldon Cottrell and Oshane Thomas were all cut from the list of white-ball contracts, while Roston Chase, Test vice-captain on the tour of New Zealand as recently as last December, lost his all-format contract.
Batsman Shamarh Brooks and wicketkeeper Shane Dowrich also saw their red-ball contracts not renewed.
“Sheldon Cottrell was at the top of the tree from a white-ball bowling perspective. Oshane has been one of the players we thought with tremendous potential – at his best he can really be a wicket-taker and a shock bowler for us, but a set of things sort of compounded to not allow them to be retained.
“A lot of these players had fitness issues as well.”
Thomas, a 24-year-old, burst on to the scene with much promise three years ago, earning himself tours of England and New Zealand last year, before falling out of contention recently.
Cottrell, meanwhile, was West Indies’ leading bowler at the 2019 World Cup with 12 wickets and continued to spearhead their attack, until fitness issues also saw him lose his spot in the squad.
Hetmyer struck the last of his five One-Day International hundreds in December 2019 but has also seen his career stunted by lack of fitness, while Chase, who has made five Test hundreds, scraped 33 runs from his last six innings in a serious decline of form.