Following the announcement of the West Indies 15-man squad for the ICC T20 World Cup in the UAE, the Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) has expressed their displeasure with the choices of the Cricket West Indies (CWI) Selection Panel which is headed by Guyanese Roger Harper.
Among the 15-man squad, the woefully out of form Chris Gayle, Andre Fletcher and Oshane Thomas has been named ahead of the likes of Guyana’s Sherfane Rutherford, Romario Shepherd and Jamaica’s Odean Smith. Rutherford is among the top five leading runscorers in the ongoing CPL while Shepherd is the leading wicket-taker with Odean Smith not far behind. The selections by the CWI has left the public and the cricketing fraternity of the Caribbean perplexed.
In a release to the media, the GCB noted; “The Executive and members of the Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) wish to once again express our extreme concern with the continuous omission of Guyanese players from representative teams of Cricket West Indies (CWI) as well as from the players’ retainer contracts of CWI.”
“On May 17, 2021, the GCB had cause to issue a strongly-worded press release and also a letter to the CEO of CWI, Mr. Johnny Grave, detailing our concerns with the selection process. We requested that CWI furnish the GCB with the criteria used for the retainer contracts as well as the selection of our players to CWI representative teams.”
“In response to a request by the GCB directors (CWI), CEO Johnny Grave stated that there was no requirement or obligation for CWI to explain the decision(s) of their selection policy. The present selection process appears riddled with inconsistencies, clearly subjective and discriminatory.”
The release continued; “Because of the noticeable omission of our players-Romario Shepherd, Sherfane Rutherford, Gudakesh Motie, Veerasammy Permaul and Chandrapaul Hemraj, we reiterate our call for an explanation of the reasons for these omissions together with the selection policy information used. The impression is created that there is no selection criteria document or it is a closely-guarded secret that cannot stand up to scrutiny.”
“The GCB is perplexed with the contention by CWI selectors that Sherfane Rutherford is unfit. CWI should advise the Caribbean cricket public regarding the standard and schedule for fitness tests for regional cricketers. The GCB holds the view that Rutherford is game-fit as clearly indicated by his outstanding performances in the 2021 Caribbean Premier League (CPL) and his selection to the Sunrisers Hyderbad team in the Indian Premier League (IPL). The GCB regards the issue of Rutherford’s fitness as an excuse to exclude one of the talented young cricketers in the Caribbean”.
“The CWI selection panel has disappointed Guyana and the Caribbean at large. The GCB (as a shareholder of CWI) is insisting that the selection panel be accountable to all cricket institutions and stakeholders in the region and to justify this latest selection fiasco. Failure to do so, the GCB calls on CWI to dismiss the selection panel and to replace it with a more competent one which will represent the best interests of West Indies cricket”.