Roston Chase’s consistent performances over the past two years at the regional level have paid dividends.
The Barbados middle order batting all-rounder was the only uncapped player named today in a 12-member West Indies squad for the opening Test against India in Antigua, starting July 21.
The 24-year-old Chase had an outstanding 2015-2016 first-class season, amassing the most runs for the Barbados Pride – 710 at an average of 59.16 in ten matches. He also took 23 wickets with his vastly improved off-spin at an average of 17.26 runs apiece.
The former Combermere stand-out played in the two-day warm-up match against the touring Indians that ended yesterday in St Kitts. He was in the party for the three-day game that starts on Thursday but has now been replaced.
In announcing the squad today, the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) said that veteran wicket-keeper/batsman Denesh Ramdin had been sanctioned for comments made on social media last week in relation to his omission from the team after he was informed by the new chairman of selectors, Courtney Browne.
Ramdin went on a tirade last week where he ridiculed Browne and his Test performances in a series of tweets. Browne played 20 Tests between 1995 and 2005 and scored 387 runs at an average of 16.12 with one half-century in 30 innings.
Ramdin has been replaced by Barbadian Shane Dowrich. The WICB did not specify the nature of the sanctions.
“Denesh Ramdin had expressed dissatisfaction with his non-selection on the Test squad for the upcoming series against India on social media last week, following dialogue with the chairman of selectors. This was in breach of the WICB policy and the terms of his retainer contract. As a consequence, Ramdin has since been sanctioned,” the WICB said in its release.
In a shock development the WICB also revealed that Jamaican fast bowler Jerome Taylor was unavailable for the four-Test series against India following his formal notification to the board that he had retired from Test cricket.
The 32-year-old Taylor however, indicated his availability for the shorter formats. He was part of the West Indies squad in the recently concluded Tri-Nations series but was replaced by Shannon Gabriel after some indifferent performances. He was also part of the West Indies team in the ICC Twenty20 World Cup but played only one match.
The injury prone Taylor, who made his debut as a 18-year-old back in 2003, took 130 wickets in 46 Tests over 13 years. He played his last Test in Sydney at the start of the year.
Rapid and with a natural outswinger, Taylor made his international start against Sri Lanka, having impressed in domestic cricket for Jamaica. But injuries prevented him reaching his full potential, however, and he spent almost five years out of the Test side between 2009 and 2014.
His finest hour came on his home ground, when he took 5 for 11 to help dismiss England for 51 on the way to an innings victory in 2009. His best innings figures – 6 for 47 against Australia in 2015 – and match haul – 9 for 95 against India in 2006 – also came at Sabina Park. He was dangerous enough as a batsman to thrash a hundred from No. 10 against New Zealand in 2008.
In its media release today, the WICB said Browne wanted consistent performances to be central to the selection process, “with the aim of ensuring that players understand that outstanding performances in first class cricket will be rewarded.”
“The selection panel is looking to create a competitive environment where players are fully accountable for their performances while meeting the standards consistently in each of the three formats of the game,” Browne said.
Browne noted that the subjective matter of selection was not new to cricket. However he emphasised that “the methodology of selection will be further enhanced by the increased use of statistical analysis along with fitness standards. The players will be monitored closely for all regional and international competitions.”
Browne stated he did not just want to carry on the procedures former chairman Clive Lloyd used, but he also wanted to build on the methodologies used to get the best performing team on the pitch at all times.