Fast bowling legend Sir Andy Roberts has questioned the appointment of Miles Bascombe to the West Indies men’s selection panel, and believes the former Windward Islands batsman should have withdrawn himself from consideration after having been a member of the recent Cricket West Indies Task Force which led an overhaul of regional selection policy.
Further, the outspoken former Windies coach contended Bascombe did not possess enough first class experience to sufficiently qualify him for the role he now occupied beside former Test off-spinner Roger Harper and newly-appointed head coach, Phil Simmons.
“I have a problem first that he was a member of the task force that sat down to look into who they could pick as selectors and develop a policy, so he’s been part and parcel of it,” Sir Andy told the Mason and Guest cricket radio show last night.
“He [also] does not have enough first class cricket experience in the region. He may have played, yes, but as far as experience goes to be one of the two selectors? No, I have a problem with that.
He added: “My biggest problem is that he, as a member of the Task Force – even though he wasn’t involved in putting his name [forward] – should have withdrawn being a member of the Task Force,” Sir Andy stressed.
Bascombe’s appointment came as a surprise, especially considering his tepid playing career which yielded 24 first class matches at an average of 21, and a single Twenty20 International for West Indies against England eight years ago.
He was also earlier this year named to the Selection System Task Force, chaired by CWI vice-president and fellow Vincentian, Dr Kishore Shallow, as one of three independent members alongside former Test players Ramnaresh Sarwan and Philo Wallace.
Bascombe also serves as vice-president of the St Vincent and the Grenadines Cricket Association headed by Shallow.
Sir Andy, however, supported Harper’s appointment as chief selector, pointing out that the former West Indies head coach ticked all the boxes.
“I’m pleased. You’re looking for somebody with vast cricket knowledge, somebody who knows the game, has played the game at the highest level, who has been captain [and] coach so I don’t have a problem with that,” the Antiguan outlined.
Shallow, who chaired the interview panel during the recruitment process for selectors, defended Bascombe’s appointment, however, arguing that the process had been a “robust” one that had seen the former player pass every test put before him.
“The recruitment process was as robust as you could actually imagine,” Shallow said.
“One of the first things we did was identify a group of players based on interviews and feedback from persons across the region. Miles’s name surfaced through that process. Some 20 persons were put forward and approved by the board, we then wrote to them [to ascertain] their interest and availability.”
Shallow said that of the 17 candidates who responded positively, Harper, Bascombe, Lockhart Sebastien and Hendy Wallace came through as the final shortlist based on their performance in a test exercise.
According to Shallow, Harper and Bascombe then scored highly in the interviews which followed.
“I can tell you that both Roger Harper and Miles Bascombe were outstanding, with no disrespect to the other two gentlemen,” Shallow revealed.
“They stood out in terms of understanding the modern day of selecting where we are now in a data driven environment. It’s not about an eye for cricket anymore, we’ve gone past having an eye.”
Since taking over at the helm of CWI, president Ricky Skerritt and Shallow have made several drastic changes which have seen the axing of the previous coaching staff as well as the selection panel. That action has led to court action taken by some of the aggrieved parties. Sebastien, who was also a former selector and had also been axed, did not take the matter to court and is now back in the CWI fold.
Only yesterday during debate in the Lower Chamber of the Barbados Parliament, Prime Minister Mia Mottley, a keen cricket enthusiast, added her voice to the many who have been taken aback by some of the decisions of the newly reconfigured board. Mottley expressed deep concerns about the sweeping changes that Skerritt and Shallow had overseen since taking over at the helm of the regional governing body for cricket.