FORMER West Indies batsman, Bryan Davis, said the selection of 36 year old Devon Smith on the West Indies 13-man squad for the upcoming three-match Test series against Sri Lanka is a backward step because the opener has repeatedly failed at international level.
Smith last played a Test match for West Indies in 2015 when England toured the Caribbean. Smith has played 38 Test matches, scoring 1,593 runs at a mediocre average of 24.50. He has scored just one century and six fifties.
“You bringing a man with an average of 24 at 36 years of age? He is older than his average,” he said.
The West Indies selectors, led by Courtney Browne, said they were left with no choice but to select Smith after a brilliant Regional Four-Day season last year. Smith amassed a record breaking 1,095 runs at an average of 84 with six hundreds for the Windward Islands Hurricanes.
Davis said he would have preferred to give a younger player a chance, as Smith did not achieve enough during his career.
“If Devon Smith was a top class player that made a lot of runs in his heyday, let’s say in his twenties and thirties, and he was never dropped and then he retired and he came back and scored all these runs, then you would say, ‘Boy we have to bring him back.’ But he has been a failure (at international level).”
He gave the example that if recently retired South African AB de Villiers wanted to return he would be given a chance because of his stellar career. Davis said this is not the case for Smith. “AB de Villiers just retired and if South Africa wanted to bring him back in two years time you could understand that because he has been a success as a Test player. I don’t agree with it, I believe that there are younger people – it is a backward step,” Davis said.
TT wicket keeper batsman Denesh Ramdin, who finished second behind Smith in the regional four-day scoring charts, was not included in the squad. Ramdin scored 799 runs from 10 matches for the TT Red Force at an average of 61.46, including three centuries and four fifties.
Davis said Ramdin, who would have been a capable batsman against the Sri Lankan spinners, should have been included. “Most definitely, I would have had Ramdin (on the squad) before (Shane) Dowrich or (Jahmar) Hamilton. He is a better wicketkeeper and I think he is a more experienced batsman than them as well. He has always been a steady player.”
Hamilton is the only uncapped player on the squad. The wicketkeeper struggled to compile 237 runs at an average of 16 for the Leeward Islands Hurricanes in the four-day season. Davis said in a small squad there is no need for two ‘keepers.
“If you pick a squad of 17 or 18 you could put a second ‘keeper but not in a squad of 13 people,” Davis said.