'Zigzag' selectors

Trinidad Express

Wednesday, March 18, 1998

THE West Indies cricket selectors surprised analysts in the region when they announced the squad for the series-ending Sixth Test against England which starts at the Antigua Recreation Ground on Friday.

The 13 shows that despite retaining the Wisden Trophy with an unbeatable 2-1 lead in the six-Test series, Chairman Hall's five-member committee continues to chop and change their squad Cable and Wireless series.

``Zigzag,'' is the way former West Indies opening batsman Brian Davis described the changes that have been made to the side in this current series.

``I found there was too much changing and chopping. I don't think it's panic,'' Davis said. ``I believe it's a lack of thinking out things. I think they were in two minds about building or trying to win the series. They've gone haywire with the bowling.''

In making their sixth personnel change since winning the Fourth Test in Guyana by 242 runs, the regional selectors recalled fast bowler Franklyn Rose.

``Ever since the First Test in Jamaica when for some reason Rose did not play for Jamaica or the A team, one thought he would have been one of the main bowlers. It's strange.''

Rose has been recalled to the squad for the Antigua Test. And Davis hopes that the pacer has kept sufficiently fit so as to be effective if used.

Also, after discarding openers Sherwin Campbell and Stuart Williams and axing batman Jimmy Adams and rookie leg-spinner Dinanath Ramnarine from the starting team in Bridgetown, the selectors have now disposed of wicketkeeper David Williams and fast bowler Ian Bishop.

The musical chairs in the wicketkeeping department continues with 30-year-old Windwards Islands captain Junior Murray returning to the Test side after being dropped during the series against India. Murray and Courtney Browne, who was chosen for the remaining Tests versus India and the two against Sri Lanka, were overlooked for Pakistan when the selectors opted for Williams.

Murray, who has 95 dismissals in 28 Tests and a batting average of 25.69 with one century and three fifties, has been performing well in the regional President's Cup competition.

Williams, however, who excelled in Pakistan on his recall after four years in the wilderness, has been below par in the series against England.

He has missed three clear catches and a stumping and conceded a total of 38 byes, a clear indication that the overall standard of his glove-work has fallen. Additionally, since his match-winning 65 in the second Test, Williams has had scores of 0, 0, 0, 15 and two.

Rose, 26, the promising Jamaican paceman, returns to the squad in which he was included for the abandoned Jamaica Test and the back-to-back Tests in Trinidad and Tobago even though he did not gain selection in the final XI.

The leading West Indian bowler in his debut series against India in 1997 when he captured 18 wickets at an average of 22.33, Rose was also the top wicket taker in the Red Stripe Cup with 45 wickets at 15.42 each.

He captured five wickets against the Sri Lankans but he was only selected for one Test in Pakistan. When he was again excluded from the final XI for the opening Test on his home ground where he had a very successful debut with a career-best six for 100 against India, many cricket experts wondered what had gone wrong.

There was much more debate in Jamaica, especially since Rose, who has taken 26 wickets at 26.34 apiece in nine Tests, was asked to sit out Jamaica's warm-up game against the Englishmen. The pundits suggested that his omission was to be attributed to non-cricketing reasons.

Bishop has been bowling disappointingly in the series with just three wickets at 54.33 each. Adams and Ramnarine, left out of the XI in the drawn Kensington Oval Test, have kept their places in the 13-member squad.

Source: The Express (Trinidad)

Contributed by CricInfo Management, and reproduced with permission

Date-stamped : 18 Mar1998 - 18:42