West Indies could have their limited-overs stars in the fray for national selection, particularly for the 50-over format, after Courtney Browne, the chairman of selectors, hinted at the possibility of the WICB revisiting the eligibility criterion.
Currently, the WICB has followed a stringent policy of considering only those players who have featured in the domestic 50-over competition, one that goes back to 2010, under the regime of Julian Hunte and Ernest Hilaire.
The current criterion has ruled out a bunch of senior players including Dwayne Bravo, Chris Gayle, Kieron Pollard, Sunil Narine and Andre Russell. None of them were part of West Indies’ most recent series against Pakistan, which they lost 2-1, falling further behind in their race to be among the top eight teams in the ICC rankings and so qualify directly for the 2019 World Cup. But if this change in selection policy is cleared, West Indies could significantly boost their chances of fielding a full-strength team leading up to the showpiece event.
“There is some discussion going on about revisiting the eligibility rule,” Browne told Line and Length, a Barbados-based network. “I know it’s with a working committee. That will then go to the board. But we have to understand our domestic cricket is key.
“Players coming out of domestic cricket and showing they can perform at the international level is important. Yes, we have to look at it [the eligibility rule] but also be mindful that we have to develop our own domestic product, a stage where we can have a very good standard of regional cricket.”
However, Browne also made it clear he would rather not have a situation where young players who have come through the regional system are ignored. Vishaul Singh and Shimron Hetmyer, who captained West Indies to the Under-19 World Cup title last year, are two examples he cited while explaining the need to maintain continuity. The pair gave modest returns – 159 runs in 12 innings between them – having played their first three Tests over the last couple of months.
“We have a lot of young developing players, they’re all bunched together in terms of number of Tests, that’s par for the course. When you have a bunch of people you’re exposing to international cricket, you will tend to get these sorts of performances. But the good thing about it is, you have the coaching team and you have to give them some time to develop players.
“There’s no regret [in giving them opportunities]. They came through the system, we understand they’re young players and need time to develop. When you’re looking at development process, it’s going to be a slow process. We’re not going to find a sensation overnight.”
Browne was pleased with the enthusiasm of the new recruits. “They’ve shown the fans here’s a bunch of young people who are showing fight. It has shown the players too that with determination and passion like that, you can be competitive.”
Bravo had recently said he was available for T20 selection but would not give up his contracts around the world to play domestic cricket in the West Indies because playing in those tournaments did not guarantee selection. He had also said things could change if “structure changes or something different happens”. (ESPNCricinfo)