By Bryan Davis
CRITICISM should be used as a tonic to spur the performance of players onto greater things if only to prove that they are worthy to be in that position.
There have been reactions from coach Phil Simmons, captain Kieron Pollard and the president of Cricket West Indies (CWI), Ricky Skerritt, to criticisms of the WI squad selected for the T20 Cricket World Cup (WC) 2021.
Roger Harper is the Lead Selector, a name that replaced chairman (what was wrong with that title?). His assistant is Miles Bascombe of St Vincent plus coach Simmons.
My bone of contention is why do Skerritt, Simmons and Pollard believe they have to answer the critics for the selections.
Nicholas Pooran, the vice-captain, has now joined in and is pronouncing on the team and Chris Gayle’s presence on it etc. He’s only 26 years old and is now gathering his experience, so he should check the water before jumping in, if only because he’s the only one that could be hurt.
“Methinks thou protest too much” is an adage that fits the scenario. Everyone has an opinion on almost everything that suits their fancy and even more so on subjects of sport. It is open season for all critics to have their go on which of the players could form the best team to bring pride to their country, do well in the contest and win it, if things run in their favour.
The selectors and certainly the president of CWI do not have to answer to anyone as to the selection of the squad to represent WI. The selectors have been the ones chosen by CWI to pick the teams and have been enshrined with that responsibility, designated by the territories that make up WI cricket.
Being aware of that obligation, they don’t have to answer to anyone; not the officials, be it the president or board member; player, reporter or fan. And there is always a good reason for that.
If the selectors had to answer to everyone then it would be illogical as many would have several opinions and the arguments would be never-ending.
There was a time in the past when a media conference was held with the selectors to explain selections. This was done in good faith and I’m not sure why it was stopped. It certainly would prevent players and administrators from having to clarify for the public in a piecemeal fashion, selection choices.
Interpreting selections as one body to the media is a much better idea. It shows unity. It doesn’t mean that everyone would agree with the selectors as that could never happen. However, the clarification would be more acceptable. I didn’t agree with it, nevertheless, it helped clear the air for better understanding.
I recall being a Trinidad & Tobago selector for some years and at the end of the meeting in which the team was chosen, it was handed to the president of the Board who checked it, then released it to the media. Questions by media personnel to selectors were deflected.
I was chairman for a few years and I recall that the modus operandi was such that when the selectors finished their meeting, they left that room in unanimous agreement with the team selected.
Coach Simmons and captain Pollard thought it wise to bow to criticism and try to explain the benefits of their team. I don’t believe that is the way to answer the critics as it would seem to be a guilty conscience about the selection.
Leave it there; then it’s up to the players you have chosen to prove whether you’re right or wrong!
Hence, whenever a WI team is selected, there must always be unison. The points for and against must be argued and one’s intent must be purposeful and honest for there are many factors involved: Number of bowlers, all-rounders, spinners, pacers, batters, the best keeper, the balance of the team, the conditions under which they’re going to play. There are many considerations involved in choosing the best team with the greatest chance to be victorious.
One aspect must be remembered and that is, the officials of WI cricket chose the selectors, hence, they ought to have full confidence in their choices. Therefore, there is no one to whom the selectors are responsible except for themselves and their team.