By Rajiv Bisnauth
To be a National selector, one must first of all have a thick hide. This helps a great deal in warding off the generally unfair criticism that is traditionally hurled at them.
It is not possible to please everyone but it is always easy to poke holes in the selectors’ arguments. One selector told me years ago that he had grown immune to criticism.
However, after announcing a 15-man squad for next month’s Regional Super50 tournament, the nation’s senior selection panel came under fire.
I have always tried to take things from their viewpoint and generally have come to the conclusion that most of the criticism against them is unwarranted and unfair. To be sure, generally about ten players pick themselves. It is the selection of the remaining five fringe players and the omission of a few that invites all the selector bashing.
To this end, Chairman of Selectors, Rayon Griffith, who is currently in Bangladesh with the West Indies senior team told News Room Sport on Thursday that performance, is not the sole criteria for selection, and that fitness, is also an extremely important aspect that they consider.
The criteria are based on performances, you have fitness tests involved and you have to [consider] potential players you can develop. Performances are big, but as I said, fitness just as [big as] performances,” Griffith said. While the fitness assessment was deemed creditable by head coach Esaun Crandon, the performances from most players from the 15-man squad during the three practice games, is cause for concern. The collective failure of most of the top-order batsmen needs introspection for it will impact not only the composition of the squad, but the balance of the playing XI. On the other hand, the bowlers hardly put a foot to wrong. The fast-bowling unit of Romario Shepherd, Nail Smith and Keon Joseph has impressed. It’s a clear indication that the group has enough variety to sustain its success during the super50 tournament. The spinners’, left-arm spinner Gudakesh Motie and off-spinners Kevin Sinclair and Ramal Lewis, were equally impressive.Nevertheless, when action bowls off on February 7, the Guyana Jaguars will be aiming for a 10th regional 50-over title.
To achieve another milestone at the regional level, head coach Esuan Crandon in an invited comment yesterday said he is happy with the squad selected and is optimistic about the players giving a good account of themselves during the tournament.
Crandon, the former national fast bowler, is of the opinion that the squad is one of the most well-balanced units, comprising the maximum number of match-winners, and he feels it is the best chance for the Guyanese to bag their tenth coveted title at this level.
“I think we have a decent team on paper, a bit of experience, pretty much balance in terms of youth and experience. Probably we would have liked to have (had) the services of Rutherford or Paul, who would bring their all-round ability that would have been an ideal spot, but it is what it is,” Crandon said. The last title was achieved in 2005 when they defeated Barbados in near darkness in the final of the KFC Cup at the GCC ground, Bourda. Prior to that, Guyana reigned supreme in 1980, 1983, 1985, 1993, 1995, 1998, 2001 and 2003.
Jaguars Super50 squad reads: Chandrapaul Hemraj, Trevon Griffith, Christopher Barnwell, Leon Johnson (Captain), Shimron Hetmyer (vice-captain), Assad Fudadin, Keon Joseph, Romario Shepherd, Kevin Sinclair, Ramaal Lewis, Nial Smith, Gudakesh Motie, Anthony Bramble, Akshaya Persaud and Tevin Imlach.