“[…] Judging from [Roger] Harper’s statement before the New Zealand tour, one would have to assume that [Kraigg] Brathwaite’s batting performances on the England tour and the matches immediately preceding the New Zealand series were of concern to the selectors.
“Given his scores in New Zealand, how does the move to appoint him captain make logical sense then—even with the absence of several senior players for Bangladesh?”
In the following Letter to the Editor, cricket enthusiast Louis Carrington questions the selection of Kraigg Brathwaite as Test captain as well as the limited roles for Sunil Ambris and Chemar Holder:
The West Indies selectors defy logic in their test team selection. Let us begin with the naming of Kraigg Brathwaite as captain.
I respect that with the number of players opting not to go on this tour, it was a difficult decision to find a suitable captain. However, let us analyse the rationale given by lead selector Roger Harper for appointing Rolston Chase as the vice-captain of the Test team to New Zealand, when he relieved Kraigg Brathwaite of that responsibility for him to concentrate on his batting.
This move produced scores of 21, 10, 0 and 24 and followed Brathwaite’s scores of 65, 4, 75, 12, 1 and 19 on the England tour. From a total of 231 runs, only 55 of them (in four innings) came after he was relieved of the vice-captaincy.
Yet the selectors found it necessary to appoint him captain of a team with little or no test experience.
Judging from Harper’s statement before the New Zealand tour, one would have to assume that Brathwaite’s batting performances on the England tour and the matches immediately preceding the New Zealand series were of concern to the selectors.
Given his scores in New Zealand, how does the move to appoint him captain make logical sense then—even with the absence of several senior players for Bangladesh? If this is not throwing him under the bus, then I must ask what is?
Another questionable selections is that of John Campbell. After a reasonable start again England in 2019 with scores of 44, 33, 47, 11*, 41 and 0, he followed with scores of 55 and 19* against Afghanistan.
His scores on the England tour were 28, 8*, 12, 4, 32 and 0, followed by 26, 2, 14 and 68 in New Zealand.
Campbell’s total runs after his first six innings in 2019 were 176 with an average of 35.2, with one not out. His English tour produced the sum total of 84 runs at an average of 16.8, followed by 110 runs with a high score of 68 (in his final innings) in New Zealand at an average of 27.5.
An overall total since debut of 444 runs from 18 innings with three not-outs at an average of 29.6. One must ask are we rewarding mediocrity? Or, as one person commented after his score of 68, ‘has has he secured his seat on the plane for the next tour’ with one innings in New Zealand?
Even more baffling is the omission of Chemar Holder who made a reasonable debut against New Zealand but cannot making the touring party for the Test squad, and is only included in the limited overs squad.
Instead, Harper and company found room for two orthodox left arm spinners in Veerasammy Permaul and Jomel Warrican and a right arm off spinner in Rahkeem Cornwall, backed up by another left arm orthodox spinning all rounder in Kavem Hodge.
Were the selectors under the spirits of the season? Their reasoning and thinking had to be impaired by something to carry three spinners and a spinning all rounder.
An argument that can be made when questioning the selections is a case for Sunil Ambris. This is a versatile player who made his debut against New Zealand in 2017. He has played six test matches with a highest score of 43.
While, as I said earlier in relation to Campbell, we ought not to be rewarding mediocrity; this is not really such a case.
In the absence of a second wicketkeeper, Ambris could have been a more useful member of the touring party, since none of the three spinners included is likely to be a match winner. Ambris would have added more options in the batting and more balance as a contingency, even with his modest return thus far in the Test arena.
Harper and company ought to explain their thinking, otherwise one cannot help but think that they are band of marauding lunatics who cannot be taken seriously.
The composition of this Test team leaves a lot to be desired, even in the face of the withdrawals. The Test squad lacks balance and appears to be the work of persons that are consumed with the sprits of the current season.
In addition to saying that the more things change is the more they remain the same, I can also say doing the same things and expecting a different result is the beginning of lunacy.