OUTGOING West Indies head coach, Stuart Law, has revealed that the lack of experienced senior players available on tour to guide the upcoming Caribbean talent has hurt the side’s progression and overall aspirations for the future. Referencing the team’s preparation and level of mentorship for next year’s ICC Cricket World Cup, Law called the situation less than “ideal,” especially in the batting area.
Speaking with ESPN on the contract disputes and the player availability issues plaguing the squad since 2014’s walkout in India, Law admitted, “Some players have explained to me what’s going on, and some haven’t really explained it. So it’s hard to get that continuity in the team. What we’re doing right now is building up for a World Cup. And if we keep chopping and changing, (it isn’t ideal).”
With Dwayne Bravo retiring from all forms of international cricket and Chris Gayle and Andre Russell available for selection but not suiting up for the Windies in the lead-in to the tournament, Law said gauging the final roster still remains an unpredictable task. The ex-Australian international, who’ll be stepping down from his position before the World Cup, lamented that the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) couldn’t solve the selection criteria with certain senior players in time, allowing them to balance out their Twenty20 (T20) schedules with long-format cricket.
“It has affected things, yes. It does have a detrimental effect. When you pick a side, talking about these One-Dayers, you sit down at a selection table and three or four players pull out for one reason or another, you sort of think, well, okay, what’s going on?” he added.
However, Law made it clear he wouldn’t fault players for choosing the lucrative T20 route in the modern game. “Look, players have their reasons and I respect they have their reasons. They’ve got to put food on the table, they’ve got to do it the best way they can. The contracts are there in place and [some of] the players want to commit to the board,” he continued. “Others are more in demand in the rest of the world, and they can command a higher wage. All in all, it’s their decision. There’s nothing else you can do. But it would be great to have full accessibility to these players to use not only their skills but also their experience to help the youngsters get better.”
He confessed that this hasn’t deterred the new generation, with the likes of Shai Hope, Jason Holder and Shimron Hetmyer singled out for praise. “These guys are pretty good. They’ve been through a lot at such a young age. And you know that’s our job as the management to make sure they’re given everything we possibly can. And they tell you the reason. They don’t tell you made-up stories,” Law concluded, admitting that despite the lack of experience, management remains hopeful to see some debutants star in the remaining limited overs fixtures against India.