BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC) – Selection chief, the Most Hon. Desmond Haynes, said previously estranged opener Evin Lewis had pledged his commitment to West Indies cricket, leading to his inclusion in the T20 World Cup squad.
The 30-year-old left-hander has not turned out for West Indies since the last T20 World Cup in United Arab Emirates (UAE) last November, and Haynes only recently said the exciting stroke-maker seemed disinterested in representing the Caribbean side.
Lewis has struggled to meet CWI’s fitness criteria and also recently failed to undertake a fitness test in order to qualify for selection for the New Zealand series.
“He met with coach Phil Simmons and director of cricket Jimmy Adams, and Evin indicated at the meeting that he is committed to West Indies cricket and I think that we have to give people a chance,” Haynes told a virtual media conference.
“At the end of the day, if someone comes in and says that he is committed to playing cricket for West Indies, especially in the white-ball format, I think we have to give him a chance …
“Sometimes we have to move on and we have to really appreciate when people could come to us and explain their position to us and if we agree, we give them a chance.”
Questioned about whether Lewis had erased concerns about his fitness, Haynes refused to divulge what the medical team had said about Lewis, insisting that he would have to undergo fitness tests before travelling to Australia for the October 16 to November 13 World Cup.
This, he said, also applied to left-arm pacer Sheldon Cottrell who was recovering from injury but was, nevertheless, selected.
“Going in the World Cup, a big tournament like that, everybody has got to be assessed because we don’t want people to go as far as Australia and then we hear that they can’t play and they have to come back,” explained the legendary former West Indies opener.
“So I think we’ve got a lot of time that these guys would go through fitness assessment and, hopefully, they will all be well in order to represent West Indies.
Explaining that no reserves were named because selectors believed there was sufficient time for replacements to be chosen in the event players fail fitness tests or become injured, Haynes urged players who missed a spot to remain ready for any opportunities which may still arise because of injury to other squad members.
“I hope that the guys who missed out from this 15 would take into consideration that we’ve still got the balance of the CPL to play. We’ve got the 50-over competition coming up next month and they would try to keep themselves fit, keep in good form because we never know what could happen if there’s an injury to any of the 15 whom we’ve selected,” he said.