The place of talented all-rounder Andre Russell could be in doubt for future West Indies teams after a spate of injuries and his declining invitations to play for the regional side.
Russell was invited to join the team for the upcoming tour of New Zealand but, according to Cricket West Indies (CWI) chief of selectors Roger Harper, declined after claiming he needed space to “clear his head” after having to deal with playing during the COVID-19 pandemic. Russell last represented the West Indies on tour of Sri Lanka earlier this year, where his scintillating 40 from 14 deliveries saw him named man-of-the-match.
Even with such brilliant performances under his thumb, Harper insisted he was keeping an eye on things and that emerging talent could make it difficult for the 32-year-old to continually be selected “if they take their opportunities.”
“I think as we move forward we will look at all situations, all players and determine whether we need to continue to look at those players, continue to consider those players, or we need to move on,” Harper told members of the media, from the team’s training camp in New Zealand, in reference to the situation.
“A lot of things are determined by how well the team performs. How well the players in the team at the time perform, and the success of the team. I think if players in the team perform exceedingly well, then it will make it difficult for those that are not on the tour to get back into the team. So a lot of things will be taken into consideration as we move forward.”
Meanwhile, Harper said opener Kraigg Brathwaite had been dropped as West Indies vice-captain in order for him to be able to concentrate on improving his batting.
Brathwaite was replaced as Test vice-captain by all-rounder Roston Chase ahead of the start of the team’s tour of New Zealand. Brathwaite, who was first appointed Test vice-captain in 2015, had averaged 21 from his last 15 Tests heading into the England series.
He showed signs of improvement with half-centuries in the first Test, where he scored 65, and in the second Tes with 75. Brathwaite, however, also had scores of 4, 12, 1 and 19 to average 21. According to Harper, the selection panel is hoping that less responsibility will lead to more consistency from the player.
“We thought it important at this time to allow Kraigg Brathwaite, who has been the vice-captain for a while, to just pay a little more attention, to focus a little more on his batting,” Harper told members of the media.
“He has not been in the best of form for a little while. I think he began to get himself together on the England tour, we want him to build on this. We thought the relieving of the responsibility would allow him to focus some more on his batting.” (SportsMax)