Unsurprisingly, there has been swift, mixed reaction to the appointment of The Most Honourable Desmond Haynes as lead selector of the West Indies senior men’s committee.
And so, too, with Ramnaresh Sarwan who has been named as a selector to the West Indies men’s senior and Youth selection panels.
In relation to Desmond Haynes, no sooner had the official release from Cricket West Indies (CWI) made the rounds yesterday just after 4 p.m. many opinions were being expressed on social media, some with high praise, others clearly mischievous and somewhat premature in determining how the illustrious former Barbados and West Indies opener, who captained both teams, is likely to perform.
That’s the society we live in but for the sake of keeping on the positive side, let me first offer the 65-year-old Haynes heartiest congratulations and all the best in his new role. His initial statement was solid, reminiscent of the way he batted during his outstanding career.
Haynes replaces his former West Indies teammate Roger Harper, the 58-year-old Guyanese who served in that position for two years.
He has signed a contract, which runs until June 2024, and his role as selector will span two Twenty20 World Cups and a 50-over World Cup.
“I would like to thank president [Ricky] Skerritt and the CWI board of directors for giving me the opportunity to serve West Indies cricket once again,” Haynes said. “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.”
Skerritt said: “I am delighted to confirm that the Most Hon. Dr. Desmond Haynes has agreed to re-join the CWI cricket system as the Lead Selector. 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.”
News of Sarwan’s appointment was released by CWI this evening just before 4. Apart from joining Desmond Haynes on the senior men’s panel, he will serve on the Youth selection committee under the leadership of former Jamaica and West Indies leg-spinning all-rounder Robert Haynes.
“I want to thank CWI and everyone involved for giving me this opportunity to again serve West Indies cricket, as a member of the selection panels,” said Sarwan, a former Guyana and West Indies batter and captain.
“I’m passionate about the game of cricket and especially West Indies cricket and once asked to contribute, I didn’t hesitate. I look forward to working with my colleagues, The Most Hon. Dr. Desmond Haynes and Mr. Robert Haynes, and the two Head coaches, as well as everyone else involved in the development of this sport we love and respect so much.”
Skerritt said: “I am delighted to confirm that Ramnaresh Sarwan has agreed to accept the post of selector on CWI’s Men’s Senior and Youth panels. He is a student of the game, and knows what is required of our young cricketers in order to achieve international success. The Board of Directors are confident that Mr. Sarwan will add enormous value to the cricket system.”
Desmond Haynes has been in the news in recent months with a number of outstanding awards including the Order of Freedom of Barbados medal – the country’s highest national honour – marking the occasion of this island’s 55th anniversary political independence from Britain.
That was on November 30 as Barbados officially transitioned to the world’s newest republic.
On October 23, he joined his fellow former long-standing and internationally renowned opening batting partner, Barbadian Sir Gordon Greenidge and fast bowling great and ex-West Indies teammate, Sir Andy Roberts of Antigua, in receiving Honorary Doctor of Laws degrees from the University of West Indies (UWI).
They all formed part of the formidable West Indies team, which dominated world cricket in the 1970s and 1980s. Sir Andy and Sir Gordon were members of the first two World Cup winning teams under the captaincy of Clive Lloyd (now Sir Clive) in 1975 and 1979 in England, while Haynes was a member of the 1979 side.
Co-incidentally, Sir Andy, Sir Gordon and Sir Clive all served as West Indies selectors at one time or another, with Greenidge and Lloyd also boasting of carrying the title of chairman.
And lest we forget, Desmond Haynes was also inducted into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame last June, as one of the special inductees to mark the inaugural edition of the ICC World Test Championship final.
While I have written extensively on Desmond Haynes’ cricketing career – the last occasion in this column was on December 10 – the statistics of the gentleman who during his career wore a gold pendant, which declared “Live, Love, Laugh”, must be repeated.
He played in 116 Tests, scoring 7 487 runs including 18 centuries and 39 half-centuries at an average of 42.29. His highest score was 184.
With Greenidge, Desmond Haynes featured in 16 century-stands, four of them in excess of 200. They are arguably the most successful opening batting pair in the history of West Indies and global cricket.
At Kensington Oval, their names stand out on the Greenidge & Haynes stand.
Desmond Haynes finished his One-Day International career with an aggregate of 8 648 runs at an average of 41.37 in 238 matches. He hit 17 centuries and 57 fifties with a best of 152 not out. At one time he was the world’s highest run-scorer in One-Day Internationals.
He is also one of the few players to have scored a century on his ODI debut.
In his first-class career of 376 matches, Desmond Haynes amassed 26 030 runs with 61 centuries and 138 half-centuries – his highest score was an unbeaten 255 – at an average of 45.90.
And in 419 List A matches, he made 15 651 runs (ave: 42.07), slamming 28 hundreds and 110 fifties.
The 41-year-old Sarwan played 87 Tests, 181 ODIs and 18 Twenty20 Internationals for West Indies between 2000 and 2013. He scored 5842 runs including 15 centuries and 31 half-centuries (ave: 40.01) in Tests and 5804 runs with five hundreds and 38 fifties (ave: 42.67) in ODIs. He was a member of the West Indies team, which won the ICC Champions Trophy in 2004.
Now, we trust that The Most Honourable Desmond Leo Haynes and Ramnaresh Ronnie Sarwan can bring freshness to the selection policy, as well as desperately needed success for the once mighty West Indies.
Keith Holder is a veteran, award-winning freelance sports journalist, who has been covering local, regional and International cricket since 1980 as a writer and commentator. He has compiled statistics on the Barbados Cricket Association (BCA) Division 1 (rebranded Elite in 2012) Championship for four decades and provides statistics and stories for the BCA website
Email: [email protected]