Guyanese eye on Lambert

Tony Becca

February 20, 1998

CRICKET: Georgetown: If West Indies captain Brian Lara has his way when the selectors meet to name the team for the fourth Test against England at Bourda, the batting line up, despite totals of 191 and 282 for seven, 159 and 210, will be the same as it was for the second and third Test.

Although he has expressed disappointment in his team's batting so far, and even though he acknowledges that the series hangs on his batsmen's performance, Lara, a batsman himself, is sympathetic with them, and justifiably so, because of the pitches on which they have been asked to perform.

While the captain, who usually gets what he wants, is apparently looking towards the same order, and obviously towards different batting, the call is echoing around the territories for a change - not in the middle order where Lara, Carl Hooper, and Shivnarine Chanderpaul are certainties and where James Adams must have ticked off his name following a lovely performance in the second innings of the third Test, but at the top of the order where Sherwin Campbell has scored 52 runs (1 and 10, 28 and 13) and Stuart Williams 128 (19 and 62, 24 and 23).

The question is who for who, and while the second ``who'' could well be Campbell, the first is difficult to answer.

The question continues to be asked around the Caribbean, why was Robert Samuels dropped after Australia? and with Lara commanding the forces, including pacers Ian Bishop and Mervyn Dillon, against him and looking on from slip in the President's Cup match at Chedwin Park, he could encourage the Windies captain, who can convince the selectors, to think again - and so too could Leon Garrick, who appeared the anointed before his disappointing performances with the ``A'' team in South Africa, and Wavel Hinds, who, after his fine performance in South Africa, was considered for the aborted first Test at Sabina Park.

The man who could crash the party however, is Clayton Lambert, Guyanese are hoping that he will, and all eyes in this South America country will be on the aggressive left-hander during the three-day tour match between Guyana and England at Everest CC starting tomorrow.

At age 36, Lambert, whose only Test match appearance was against England at The Oval seven years ago, is considered an old man, and there are those who believe his recall would be a retrograde step - especially at this stage of West Indies cricket where, according to Wes Hall, chairman of the selection committee, the emphasis must be on building a team which, in another year or so, will take the Windies back to the top of the ladder.

There are others however, who believe, and justifiably so, that age has nothing to do with performance, that as the highest level of the game, Test cricket is for the best, that winning is a habit, that regardless of the plans for tomorrow, the West Indies need to start acquiring the habit, and that the best players and the best team should be selected.

It should also be remembered that it was Lara himself, who, on his ascendancy to the captaincy, spoke about equal opportunities, said that players would be selected based on performance, and that every player in the regional firstclass game would get his chance - once he performed.

As a batsman, Lambert has always performed for Guyana, after representing North Transvaal in South Africa, he is back and performing, and especially in the circumstances and certainly if Campbell fails this weekend, if the younger Samuels and the young Garrick and Hinds fail to impress, if her performs on the weekend, he deserves his chance.

Source: The Jamaica Gleaner

Contributed by CricInfo Management, and reproduced with permission

Date-stamped : 20 Feb1998 - 18:19