CRICKET West Indies (CWI) lead selector Roger Harper said the CWI selection panel wants Shimron Hetmyer to be more focused after not being rewarded a CWI retainer contract. Harper, however, said CWI has not lost hope for the left-handed batsman as he can be among the world’s best.
According to a CWI media release, on Wednesday, 18 players have been offered contracts for the upcoming season which runs from July 1, 2021-June 30, 2022. Hetmyer was one notable player who was overlooked. The evaluation period for the 2021/2022 contracts covered performances and statistics from April 1, 2020-April 1, 2021 (this was also supported by statistics from the previous 2019-2020 evaluation period). This allows for all players to be appraised immediately after the evaluation period and provides a notice period before new contracts on July 1, 2021.
Hetmyer, 24, led West Indies to the International Cricket Council Under-19 title in 2016 and a year later made his debut for the senior team in a Test match against Pakistan. Hetmyer, who quickly became one of the most exciting players on the team, played all formats.
On Thursday, speaking to journalists on Zoom, Harper said, “I still think that Shimron is the sort of player with the ability to really be a world-class player in every format going forward, but I think that means a particular kind of focus and that is what we want to see from Shimron.”
Over the past year Hetmyer has struggled with his fitness failing multiple tests which has kept him out of the team. His statistics in One Day International cricket are promising with an average of 36.66 in 45 matches. The left-hander has cracked four half-centuries and five centuries. In T20I cricket and Test cricket, his statistics are not as impressive.
He averages 27.93 in 16 Test matches and 18.95 in 27 T20I matches. Harper said Hetmyer must try to “maximise his skills that he has been blessed with as best as he could.” Harper said Hetmyer is not being discarded, saying that those who have lost their CWI retainer contracts will have a franchise regional contract. In Hetmyer’s case, he will have to impress at the regional level for Guyana Jaguars in terms of fitness and performances to catch the eye of the selectors.
Asked if he is concerned about Hetmyer’s future, Harper said, “Naturally when you have that sort of potential available we want to see it reach the sort of level that it is capable of reaching. So yes we are concerned. Yes, we will continue to work with Shimron and yes we will try to get him to give the sort of focus that we think is required for him to maximise his potential.”
Hetmyer has not played for West Indies in 2021 which included series against Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
Hetmyer was one of several players who chose not to tour Bangladesh in January/February because of covid19 or personal fears, according to CWI. That tour comprised three ODIS and two Test matches.
Hetmyer then failed to meet the required fitness standard and was not named in the West Indies team for the three-match ODI and three-match T20 series against Sri Lanka in Antigua in March.
He was available for selection for the two-match Test series which followed against Sri Lanka in Antigua but was overlooked. West Indies won the two-match Test series against Bangladesh 2-0 and the CWI selectors decided to stick with most of those players.
Other players including wicket-keeper Shane Dowrich and Roston Chase have also not been rewarded retainer contracts, despite being consistent members of the West Indies team in recent years. Shamarh Brooks is another player who was not given a contract.
Discussing the trio, Harper said, “Firstly we have to appreciate as well that these are performance-based contracts…as well as the selection panel must feel that the players will play a major role (and) form the nucleus of the various teams going forward.” He said the players not offered contracts did not meet the “necessary criteria” in terms of their performances.