BCB puzzled about exclusion of Permaul for England tour

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Veerasammy Permaul appeals for a wicket© West Indies Cricket Board

CMC – The exclusion of Guyanese Veersammy Permaul from the West Indies squad for the upcoming tour of England has provoked the ire of Berbice Cricket Board (BCB) president, Hilbert Foster, who condemned it as “sickening treatment” and demanded an explanation for the non-selection of the right-handed batsman.

Permaul was not among the 14 selected to take on England in the three-Test series that is taking place under strict protocols due to the COVID-19 pandemic, nor the 11 reserve players who are accompanying the team to ensure replacements are available in case of any injury. Fellow Guyanese Shimron Hetmyer and Keemo Paul declined places in the squad.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, hours after Cricket West Indies (CWI) released the names of the selected players, Foster said he was particularly puzzled how Permaul did not even make the reserve list when he was the leading bowler in this year’s Regional Four-Day tournament with 50 wickets in eight matches, including three five-wickets hauls in an innings and two ten-wicket hauls in a match.

“The BCB would like to condemn in the strongest possible way the sickening treatment being handed out to this outstanding son of Berbice and would like for an explanation to been given on his non-selection,” he said.

“Has a decision been taken that Permaul’s career is over at just 30 years old? is there another unknown factor for his non-selection? Is he indisciplined? Is he considered just a regional bowler or is he too old?

“We deserve to know as the BCB is without doubt the hardest working cricket board in the Caribbean and we would not sit back and watch our cricketers being treated like second class when they deserve better,” Foster added.

He pointed out that in the last six years, the Albion Community Centre Cricket Club cricketer has taken 290 wickets at the senior Four-Day level at an average of 16.90 and has 18 five-wicket hauls and seven ten-wicket hauls in a match.

These performances, the BCB president contended, were unmatched by anyone in the Caribbean, yet Permaul last played Test cricket in 2015, ODI in 2017 and Twenty20 in 2018.

“Does performance matter anymore in West Indies cricket or are our players being judged by other factors that we are unaware of?” he questioned.

“Some of the players who have made the team have not even come close to Permaul’s performance and yet continues to be ahead of him in the eyes of the selectors. What message is the West Indies selectors sending to our players when they turn a blind eye to performances of the highest standard and rewarding those at rock bottom?”

The West Indies squad for the upcoming tour which will be played behind closed doors, is captained by Jason Holder and includes Jermaine Blackwood, Nkrumah Bonner, Kraigg Brathwaite, Shamarh Brooks, John Campbell, Roston Chase, Rahkeem Cornwall, Shane Dowrich, Chemar Holder, Shai Hope, Alzarri Joseph, Raymon Reifer and Kemar Roach.

The reserves are: Sunil Ambris, Joshua Da Silva, Shannon Gabriel, Keon Harding, Kyle Mayers, Preston McSween, Marquino Mindley, Shane Moseley, Anderson Phillip, Oshane Thomas, Jomel Warrican.

Apart from the figures Permaul has put on the board, Foster added, the cricketer has been a very committed, focused, discipline and wholehearted player over the past decade.

“It is an undisputed fact that based on performances, Veersammy Permaul deserves to be on a senior regional team and this profound nonsense needs to stop with immediate effect,” he said.

“Shame on the persons responsible for his non-selection and surely you must have some guilt in your conscience that you did the young man wrong.”

Subject to the final approval of the UK Government, the West Indies will defend the Wisden Trophy, starting July 8. The players will fly to England on private charters on June 8.

They are scheduled to arrive in Manchester the following day and will be there for a three-week period before moving to Southampton for the first Test at the Ageas Bowl, July 8-12. They will return to Manchester for the second match on July 16-20 and the final encounter at Emirates Old Trafford on July 24-28.

The squad will live, train and play in a “bio-secure” environment during the seven weeks of the tour, as part of the comprehensive medical and operations plans to ensure player and staff safety amid the COVID-19 pandemic that has already infected close to 280 000 people in the UK, resulting in almost 40 000 deaths.