West Indies Cricket Board’s SELECTION PROCESS QUESTIONED

On Friday, September 25, 2009, before he became CEO of the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) Ernest Hilaire stated that Chris Gayle’s captaincy of the West Indies Cricket Team was not guaranteed. This was despite high praise from former West Indies Captain, Clive Lloyd, and other former greats, including Sir Garry Sobers, who described Gayle as a natural leader.

"...Gayle was replaced as Captain by St Lucian, Darren Sammy, and, together with Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Ramnaresh Sarwan, has been dropped from both the West Indies 20/20 and One Day teams for the upcoming home series again Pakistan without notice or explanation"

Subsequently, the West Indies Players Association (WIPA) made the point that Hilaire had not yet assumed the office of CEO and but had made statements that some might consider inappropriate and disturbing.

WIPA has also stressed the need for the WICB to maintain an independent selection committee free from interference and in accordance with Article VII (e) of the Memorandum of Understanding between WIPA and the WICB which speaks to the integrity of the selection process and which states inter alia that “In this regard however the WICB undertakes to ensure that the selection process will be done in a fair and transparent manner“. WIPA has had reasons to file a Notice of Dispute for breaches of this Article for the 2009/2010 period by which several players have been affected and these are matters before arbitration.

Consistent with Hilaire’s prognostication, Gayle was replaced as Captain by St Lucian, Darren Sammy, and, together with Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Ramnaresh Sarwan, has been dropped from both the West Indies 20/20 and One Day teams for the upcoming home series again Pakistan without notice or explanation. According to Hilaire (Stabroek News, April 16, 2011), the Selectors have not yet discussed with the players why they were dropped from the squads.

The statistics show that Gayle has a Test Batting Average of 41.65, an ODI average of 39.06 and a T20 International average of 32.47. Shivnarine Chanderpaul, another of the dropped senior players, has a test batting average of 48.98, an ODI batting average of 41.60 and a T20I average of 20.17. He has made over 19,000 first class runs. Sarwan has a Test batting average of 41.73, an ODI average of 43.20 and a T20I average of 22.92.

While WIPA wants to see that young players with potential are incorporated into the team and blooded, this should not be at the expense of the overall team performance or of the obligation owed to the players to deal with them fairly and justly. While WIPA is clear that teams should be picked on performance, potential, playing conditions and preparedness, it is concerned that there may be an appearance that there were other unknown factors being taken into account. If so, all players should be aware of what those other factors are.

In light of this, WIPA now hopes that there will be no impediment to the three senior players mentioned above or any other players seeking other options to earn a living or demonstrate their continued mastery of the game.

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