West Indies: Sensible selections

by Philip Hackett

12 March 1998

West Indies opener Sherwin Campbell could possibly consider himself unfortunate not to be selected for the fifth Test Match of the Cable and Wireless series being played in Bridgetown, Barbados, but the selection of Clayton Lambert as one of the two new openers is a step in the right direction.

Lambert's selection is a small step towards correcting an injustice which has soiled West Indies cricket for several years. After an encouraging debut against England in England seven years ago, Lambert has been mysteriously overlooked while several others have been tried and have failed repeatedly.

Trinidadian opener Phil Simmons, and Nevisian strokeplayer Stuart Williams are the obvious two who come to mind. Useful one day players they may be but they have both failed miserably in Test cricket, 'boasting' averages under 30.

It is impossible at this stage to determine whether Lambert or Philo Wallace, both with one previous Test match behind them, will adequately fill the roles but on the evidence of their regional first class records and current form they deserve to be tried. Hopefully they will be given a fair opportunity to prove themselves.

The biggest criticism of Lambert's selection is the fact that he is 36 years old. This should not be a problem. Standards in West Indies cricket have dropped dramatically and to select players ahead of more deserving candidates simply because of age, would encourage a further drop in standards. None of the young candidates for the opening position are performing to the same standard as Lambert and his selection should send a strong message to them about the importance of performance.

All that is left now is for the selectors to display some consistency and recall Jamaican pacer Frankly Rose to his rightful place in the West Indies team. Hopefully the selectors do not need to be reminded of the fact that Rose was the bowling find for the West Indies last season. If his bowling has not been up to its usual high standard he should still be in the squad so that he would then have plenty of opportunity to work out his problems in the nets under the watchful eye of coach Malcolm Marshall.

If Rose's form is not the reason for his non selection then it suggests that those in authority may need to rise above petty personality clashes and carry on with the serious business of rebuilding West Indies cricket.

Contributed by Philip Hackett

Source: by Philip Hackett

Contributed by CricInfo Management

Date-stamped : 12 Mar1998 - 14:40