Batting legend Desmond Haynes was today appointed the new men’s chairman of selectors on a two-and-a-half year contract, as Cricket West Indies’ overhaul of its selection system continued in the wake of last October’s Twenty20 World Cup fiasco.
The 65-year-old, who featured in 116 Tests and 238 One-Day Internationals between 1978 and 1994 and who in the past served as a batting consultant to the men’s squad, replaces Roger Harper who was sacked last month.
Only last November, Haynes was awarded the Order of Freedom – Barbados’ highest national honour – during the country’s Republic Day celebrations.
While CWI did not name the other members of the panel, president Ricky Skerritt hailed the appointment of Haynes as the “right man for the right job”.
“I am delighted to confirm that the Most Honourable Dr. Desmond Haynes has agreed to re-join the CWI cricket system as the Lead Selector,” Skerritt said.
“His cricket knowledge and experience are second to none, and I am confident that Desmond is the right man for the right job, at the right time.”
“On behalf of our Board of Directors and all stakeholders, I wish Desmond every success as he commences his important lead role, which starts immediately.
“I want to also take this opportunity to thank Roger Harper and Miles Bascombe for their commitment and integrity whilst they served on the panel over the past two years.”
Harper, along with Bascombe, were both casualties of the T20 World Cup debacle which saw West Indies pick a controversial 15-man squad for the United Arab Emirates showpiece, only to finish one from bottom of their six-nation group and miss out on the semi-finals.
More significantly, contentious picks like the ageing pair of Chris Gayle and Ravi Rampaul, along with with the injury-plagued Andre Russell, all flopped spectacularly, resulting in widespread criticism of Harper and his panel.
CWI subsequently initiated a review of the selection criteria and policy, resulting in the ouster of the selection panel but for the exception of head coach Phil Simmons, who was appointed interim chief selector and oversaw the squads for the Ireland and England white-ball series later this month.
Haynes, who only three years ago was snubbed by CWI for the post of men’s head coach, said he looked forward to serving in the “critical role”.
“I would like to thank President Skerritt and the CWI Board of Directors for giving me the opportunity to serve West Indies cricket once again,” said Haynes, who formed part of perhaps the most celebrated opening pair in history, alongside fellow Barbadian Sir Gordon Greenidge.
“Being a selector is a thankless task but a critical role in our cricket system and I am honoured to be appointed.
“I have always indicated that I would assist West Indies cricket in any way possible and I see this as an opportunity to do just that. I pledge to carry out my duties in a fair and professional manner.”
Importantly, Haynes will oversee the selection of squads for this year’s ICC Twenty20 World Cup in Australia and next year’s 50-over ICC World Cup in India.
The Barbadian was a member of the star-studded squad which repeated as champions at the 50-over World Cup in England in 1979, under Sir Clive Lloyd.
In a stellar career, Haynes racked up 7 487 runs in the longest format at an average of 42 and 8 648 in the shorter form at an average of 41.
A former government senator, Haynes was last year awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of the West Indies Cave Hill Campus.
Commenting on the appointment, former Barbados allrounder and cricket coach Franklyn Stephenson said CWI had entrusted the job of chief selector to the right man in Desmond Haynes. Speaking with Barbados TODAY, Stephenson who is credited with developing and perfecting the fast bowler’s slower ball, said it was about time CWI started to look for former players from the region’s most successful era to play their part. Having Haynes on board, he added, was a good start.
Stephenson, who heads the highly respected Franklyn Stephenson Academy, advised Haynes to stick to his beliefs and principles.
“Definitely he has got his own ideas and I think he is somebody who has a clear passion for the West Indies and I think he will make some good decisions. I think statements coming from him so far about the selection really makes sense. For a long time, he thought they were selecting the wrong players for the wrong format and I think it is his time now and I think he will do a good job,” Stephenson stated. (CMC/ML)