NEWLY-appointed white-ball captain, Kieron Pollard, says performance and not age will be the ultimate consideration for the selection of teams going forward, and believes young talent like Shimron Hetmyer have been disadvantaged in the past by a lack of senior players in West Indies squads.
In recent years, seasoned campaigners like Chris Gayle, Dwayne Bravo, Darren Sammy and Pollard – all on the wrong side of 30 – have been phased out of the selection frame with the focus placed on incorporating young players.
Pollard said, however, that the new selection panel of lead selector Roger Harper, coach Phil Simmons and Miles Bascombe, intended to focus on the assets players brought to the team rather than simply age.
“One thing the new regime has said is that the doors will be open to each and every individual and in discussions, age and those sort of things didn’t come into play,” Pollard told i95 FM Sports.
“Once you can have a positive impact on the team and going forward your performance will be up to scratch and what we’re looking for, then so be it. At the end of the day, it is about performance.
“Ryan Giggs played football at 40 and he was still performing at a high level. Chris Gayle he’s at 40 now and still hitting the ball out of the ground, it’s just a matter of bringing a different aspect or dynamic to the team and for a guy who has played a long time, you have to try and bring that experience to teach the younger guys going forward.
“One of the things we have been missing is that sort of experience around the younger guys to help them through difficult times.”
Hetmyer has been one such young player who much has been expected from but who has failed to deliver consistently.
He currently represents West Indies in all formats but averages only 28 after 15 Tests without a hundred, averages 38 from 37 One-Day Internationals with four centuries and a measly 10 from 14 T20s, without a single fifty.
While praising Hetmyer’s talent, Pollard said the former Young West Indies captain’s career had been hurt by a lack of responsibility and the absence of enough senior players. “You have to put your shoulder around him, have a discussion (with him) and see where his mind is at,” said the 32-year-old Pollard who has played 101 ODIs and 62 T20 Internationals as part of nearly 500 T20s overall.
“Sometimes you have to sit them down and let them know how talented they are as individuals and talent can get you far but you need that combination of work ethic and commitment.
“So it’s a matter of sitting down and having a discussion, letting him know where he stands, giving him that sort of responsibility because he’s been around international cricket for a period.
“Yes he’s talented … but I think it’s about time he starts to get some kind of responsibility and it’s a discussion we have spoken about and it’s something we’re going to have with him, because he’s not one you just want to let go and let him go back into First Class cricket and just perform.
“At the end of the day you need to nurture these guys; these guys have been in an unfortunate position of not having enough senior guys around them to guide them down the right track so they can realise their true potential.” Pollard’s first assignment will be leading West Indies in a three-match ODI and T20I series against Afghanistan from November 5-18 in India.