FORM cannot override fitness.
So says Cricket West Indies (CWI) director of cricket Jimmy Adams who sought to clear the air on Shimron Hetmyer’s surprise omission for the Sri Lanka series owing to poor fitness.
On Friday, CWI released its One-Day International and T20 squads for the upcoming tourney. Hetmyer’s omission from the team was frowned upon by several critics, who in turn said the Guyanese batsman is currently in good form and worthy of a West Indies (WI) call up.
This, however, is not the first time Hetmyer was not considered for WI selection owing to poor fitness.
CWI’s statement said, “fast bowlers Sheldon Cottrell and Oshane Thomas, along with batsman Shimron Hetmyer, and all-rounder Roston Chase all failed to reach the minimum fitness standard in time for selection consideration.”
During Saturday’s CWI press conference with Adams, lead selector Roger Harper and selector Myles Bascombe, the trio was drilled with questions surrounding the association’s fitness policy for international team selection – particularly regarding Hetmyer’s non-selection.
Hetmyer played an integral role in leading Guyana Jaguars to the CG Insurance Super50 Cup finals by blasting a mesmerising 113 runs from 80 balls against the Windward Islands Volcanoes.
According to Adams, Hetmyer did not make CWI’s required minimum standard of fitness and, in-form or not, was unavailable to be selected.
“When the panel (selection) sits, the first thing they will consider before looking at the team and squads they want to put together is, who are the players available through achieving that minimum standard?
“As is practised around the world, there are going to be times when players for different reasons might be unable to or incapable of achieving minimum standards across or either the whole battery of tests or certain aspects of it.
“There are exemptions that are given to players. There are also areas that are considered over the exemptions such as the player’s age, physiological limitations and their injury and training history. This is standard across many high-performance environment and we are no different,” he said.
The CWI director of cricket added that players are aware of these requirements and knowledgeable of the implications when falling short. He said it has been the CWI’s policy “for a couple years now” which speaks to selection being tied to achieving that minimum standard.
He noted that there’s a difference between selections to the WI as compared to franchise teams. Adams said those who do not meet the fitness requirements at franchise level are fined while those for international duty remain unavailable for selection.
“In most systems, there tends to be a higher standard for different sports as compared to club players. There’s an acceptance, within CWI, where we expect our international players to be a bare minimum at before being available to selection,” he added.
The former WI player also said that while CWI will always want players to perform, score runs and take wickets, its fitness policy is geared towards constant improvement.
He concluded, “There is the fact that we are moving our cricket in a certain direction and that everybody has bought into it, and we need everybody to be a certain minimum level.”