“[…] At number three, my choice is Roston Chase. He is showing that he can hold an innings together—which is crucial in a team of big hitters—and his run rate is not bad at all. He has good technique, which is crucial in all formats of cricket, T20 included, and his off-spin bowling will come in useful.
“[…] At number nine, I have my first-choice spinner, Akeal Hosein. I don’t think that Hayden Walsh Jr is consistent enough and, on pitches that won’t be offering much turn, Akeal’s accuracy, consistency and ability to bowl straight will serve us better…”
David Abdulah, trade unionist and Movement for Social Justice (MSJ) political leader, selects his dream West Indies team, as Wired868 continues its look ahead to the T20 Cricket World Cup:
One of the most difficult posts in world sport has to be that of WI selector.
The reasons are as old as the hills: national sentiments influencing the choice of a regional team; persons who are all ‘experts’ being able to vociferously express their views, especially when the selected team does badly—more the norm than the exception over the last 20 years.
But, in spite of my knowing and saying all that, I shall not refrain from selecting and offering for public consumption and scrutiny my team and my squad.
Evin Lewis is definitely my number one opener. I am worried about Lendl Simmons’ proneness to getting out LBW or bowled against opposing teams that have worked him out. Worrying too is his using up way too many dot balls at the top of the innings.
I would have preferred a right-hander to open with Lewis but I don’t see a real alternative so I will go with an unusual choice to open, Nicholas Pooran.
At number three, my choice is Roston Chase. He is showing that he can hold an innings together—which is crucial in a team of big hitters—and his run rate is not bad at all. He has good technique, which is crucial in all formats of cricket, T20 included, and his off-spin bowling will come in useful.
Shimron Hetmyer comes at number four. I think that, in a number of his recent innings, he has begun to show the maturity needed to back up his undeniable talent.
No discussion or rationale is needed in support of my electing to bat Kieron Pollard at number five. The skipper should also bat at 4 if the circumstances, for example, the loss of a couple of quick wickets or very quick runs are still needed when the second wicket falls.
Andre Russell’s CPL form has been good and he is both batting and bowling so his fitness seems to be good. He is my choice at number six.
Following him is DJ Bravo. His bowling has long been world-class and his batting is still good enough to see him hold down the number seven position.
Fabian Allen is a genuine all-rounder, brilliant fielder, very good lower-order hitter and decent spin bowler. Who can ask for a better number eight?
At number nine, I have my first-choice spinner, Akeal Hosein. I don’t think that Hayden Walsh Jr is consistent enough and, on pitches that won’t be offering much turn, Akeal’s accuracy, consistency and ability to bowl straight will serve us better.
Ravi Rampaul earns the number 10 slot. In this season’s CPL so far, his bowling has been truly impressive. He has shown better control than Sheldon Cottrell and he also seems to have good variations of pace that the left-handed Cottrell does not.
The final place is reserved for Obed McCoy. In the CPL, he has not been quite as effective as in the T20I’s but his injury and subsequent inaction may have accounted for this. With DJ Bravo in the team to give him advice and support, McCoy can be a match winner.
As constituted, the team has four seamers, one of them a leftie, three spinners and Pollard, who can also bowl. That gives us eight bowling options, which is key since, on any one day, one or more may be getting hit around the ground.
The specialist batting goes from number one down to number eight. If with that line-up, we can’t score the runs we need from in front or from behind, then we might as well not bother to think about getting out of the group stage.
What would be the point?
My dilemma is Sunil Narine. Is he available given previous challenges with his action? He has not made himself available for selection on any West Indies teams recently and so he does not get chosen ahead of Hosein.
So, that settled, I am left with the last four members of the squad to choose.
This is a rather more difficult task. I go with Chris Gayle, Sherfane Rutherford, Jason Holder and Denesh Ramdin.
Gayle becomes very important in the event of injury—perish the thought—to any one of the top four batsmen.
Rutherford’s 2021 CPL batting has been very impressive so far. In addition, he has IPL experience, likely to prove useful, and so he is definitely in my 12-15 squad.
In spite of his poor form in the CPL so far, Jason Holder can’t be left out. I think that the burden of captaining the Barbados Royals is one factor in his repeated recent failures but he is too talented and too experienced a cricketer to be overlooked.
I don’t think Andre Fletcher is any more reliable as a batsman than Ramdin. Ramdin can still provide some runs—and quickly, if need be—in the lower middle order or later against pace or spin.
Who would be so bold as to say that, ‘against pace or spin’, about Fletcher?
It goes without saying, of course, that, depending on the surface and the opposition, we can choose to lengthen the batting and lessen the bowling options.
But I hope we can take that kind of careful management of the resources for granted. The backroom staff, after all, are also highly paid professionals.
As my reserves, I know I will take Walsh and Simmons. The rules allow it so I want to take both Oshane Thomas and Dominic Drakes.
I refuse to believe that CWI are so myopic as to deny the squad the benefit of an extra man in the squad who might well prove very useful in the net sessions and—who knows?—on the field.
Starting XI: Evin Lewis, Nicholas Pooran, Roston Chase, Shimron Hetmyer, Kieron Pollard, Andre Russell, Dwayne Bravo, Fabian Allen, Akeal Hosein, Ravi Rampaul, Obed McCoy.
Squad #12-15: Chris Gayle, Sherfane Rutherford, Jason Holder, Denesh Ramdin.
Reserves: Hayden Walsh Jr, Lendl Simmons, Oshane Thomas/Dominic Drakes.