Wednesday 19th April, 2006

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Tough call for WI selectors

The musical chairs which have surrounded the captaincy of the West Indies cricket team continued with the announcement last week by Shivnarine Chanderpaul that he was giving up the job, after 14 Tests at the helm.

The West Indies selectors must now find their eighth captain in ten years.

The merry-go-round started in 1996 when Courtney Walsh took over the post from Richie Richardson.

Walsh led the team in 16 Tests before the responsibility was entrusted to Brian Lara in 1998.

The batting hero led the team for 17 matches before he gave up the job to Jimmy Adams in 2000 who, in turn, was in charge for 15 matches before Carl Hooper was made captain.

After 22 matches, Hooper called it a day and Ridley Jacobs got a brief two-match spell before Lara was recalled for 20 matches.

Lara would probably have continued for a much longer had it not been for the telecommunications war between Digicel and TSTT which forced him out of the team and encouraged the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) to put Chanderpaul in charge.

Chanderpaul’s decision has surprised no one.

According to the “Tiger,” he wants to concentrate on his batting.

Chanderpaul was a rock in the Windies batting up to his elevation but he obviously did not possess the personality traits, the intellectual and communicative skills needed to lead a West Indies team which was going through a very rough period in its history.

It was clear that he was out of his depth in handling the many tasks that are the captain’s responsibility.

Several candidates have been advanced for the job. Among them are the current vice-captain, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Daren Ganga, Sylvester Joseph and Lara.

To date, no one has indicated whether or not Lara has been approached but the batting maestro did indicate that he was no longer interested in such a position.

If he maintains that stand, the job is narrowed to three candidates, one of whomis Sylvester Joseph, not even a member of the team. So it is difficult to see the selectors appointing him.

What this means is that the job comes down to a straight choice between the incumbent vice-captain and Ganga.

Sarwan has already had a chance to captain the side and in all fairness to him, he did a good job.

He is a naturally gifted player with a lot of flair and an exciting batsman to look at. One wonders if putting him in such a position may not be stifling his natural game.

Ganga, on the other hand, continues to distinguish himself as a leader. He has been very positive and has led T&T to the limited overs crown in 2004 and the regional title this year.

He appears to be a natural for the job, once he continues to make runs.

As it stands, the selectors must think long term and put someone who understands what the West Indies is going through at the moment and will have the resilience to understand that things would probably get worse before improvement begins.

It is a tough call. But whether it turns out to be Sarwan, Ganga or Lara, the decision must be made only after careful thought.

We certainly do not envy the jobs of the selectors.




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