Grenada’s Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell believes Cricket West Indies should review how it manages young players like Nicholas Pooran and Shimron Hetmyer, in order to get the most out of their talent.
The veteran leader said he was worried that picking such players in all formats of the game – especially in Twenty20s – could result in “spoiling a talent” that could be of benefit to West Indies, especially in the longer formats.
Hetmyer, 23, currently plays all three formats while fellow left-hander Pooran, 24, is involved only in the white-ball formats.
Stylish right-hander Shai Hope, along with 21-year-old all-rounder, Keemo Paul, have also featured recently in all formats.
“We have some talented players, the Poorans and Hetmyers and so on. I’m not sure that the right thing is to play these young people in all formats of the game at this point in time,” said Mitchell, a former chairman of CARICOM’s Prime Ministerial sub-committee on cricket.
“You have talent in Pooran and Hetmyer – these guys on the 50-over and on the Test team, we’d be moulding these guys. But when a guy gets used to sixes and sixes and hitting the ball in the air in the 20-over game which they must do, I think the mindset if they’re not well-developed yet … you can be spoiling a talent that is there for the [longest] version of the game and the 50-over game.
“That’s my opinion; I might be wrong … but in watching it from the sidelines, I think it is something [CWI] and selectors must look at – do you need to play these young players in all versions of the game? I’m not sure that’s the right thing to do.”
West Indies are coming off a mixed tour of the subcontinent where they whitewashed minnows Afghanistan in a three-match one-day series before losing the subsequent T20 series.
In the first ever Test between the two sides, the Jason Holder-led Windies registered a crushing nine-wicket victory inside three days.
The Caribbean side then suffered 2-1 defeats to India in both the three-match T20 and one-day series, despite showing flashes of brilliance throughout.
Mitchell said while there was obvious development taking place in the shorter formats, the Test format still required attention.
“We have three forms of the game in cricket and I’ve giving my own personal opinion as someone who has watched the game a lot and is interested,” he said.
“I honestly believe the shorter version, I see us having made movement there. I’m not sure yet about our Test team – maybe there needs to be some movement and changes there too but I can’t say I feel that confident yet.”
West Indies, ranked eighth in Tests, ninth in ODIs and 10th in T20s, face a difficult year ahead which includes the defence of their T20 World Cup title in Australia.
They also defend the Wisden Trophy in a three-Test series in England before playing hosts to New Zealand and South Africa.
Mitchell said while he did not anticipate overwhelming success going forward, he expected a progressive improvement in results.
“I don’t expect to see them winning every game or even beating some of the best teams but [I expect to see them] competing well, and I won’t be surprised if they’re able to beat those teams,” he stressed.
“But I’m looking for the improvement and I’ve started seeing it already, so hopefully in Twenty20 we’ll see more successes.”