Trinidad and Tobago selection woes
The TT cricket team is lying flat on their backs somewhere at the bottom of the points table. Their performances have been abysmal.
A year ago they won their first two games against Jamaica Scorpions and the Windward Islands Hurricanes, and big things were expected from them.
However, their final three games in their homeland of TT were lost and they finished fourth of the six teams, which proved a bad showing.
In the 2023 season, the TT Red Force have shown nothing to prove that they have advanced to a successful height to finish in the top three, at least.
There’s one game left and that’s against Jamaica, a team that hasn’t been competitive. In other words, they’ll be battling for the wooden spoon.
A cricket team’s lack of reliability is derived from three main factors. The first is the preparation of the team by making the players aware of their responsibility; secondly, to build an indomitable work ethic and determination to succeed; thirdly, to encourage their desire to win by establishing the enthusiasm necessary in their approach.
The personnel required to achieve these goals are the coach and captain, in addition to the selectors. The jobs of the coach and captain are self-explanatory.
The task of the selectors is also of vital importance, simply because they choose the players who are to take the field to represent their present interests.
And that’s why the coach and captain always have some say in selection, or ought to have. Even if they are not on the panel, informative discussions and chats always are an important contribution to selection.
Someone who finds themselves in such an essential and significant position should be an intelligent observer with a deep background knowledge of cricket and a strong intellectual base for what they are doing.
One has to know when to drop a player; also, when he’s ripe for selection. Furthermore, the selector has to judge natural ability, temperament, fighting spirit, self-confidence and the right attitude; moreover, how will the player fit into the team’s balance? He needs to know the vagaries of the ground on which the match is going to be played, the strengths and weaknesses of his team and their opponents.
The biggest problem of the TT team is its lack of cohesion. When fielding, the team seems to be lackadaisical; there is no enthusiasm, and players are just going through the motions.
The selectors did a bit too much chopping and changing. A player of class should not be dropped too soon. It’s only six games, yet there have been too many reshufflings. It makes for an unsettled team.
Of those who are dropped, consider Solozano. He is a class batsman, already recognised by West Indies selectors when he was unfortunately injured in that first Test match against Sri Lanka in November 2021. He was fielding when he was concussed in the first over of the game.
It’s commendable that he’s back. Obviously, the WI selectors know he’s a man of ability and temperament and all he needed was encouragement.
On the other end of the scale, there is the 21-year-old Justin Mannick, whom the selectors thought of highly enough to include him in the team against the Guyana Harpy Eagles. He is quite promising, so why drop him for the following game against Barbados? I take it he’s been dropped for Anderson Phillip, who is now fit, while fast bowler Uthman Muhammad is replaced by left-arm spinner Khary Pierre.
Tion Webster, Darren Bravo, both medium-pacers, and off-spinner Bryan Charles also opened the bowling.
Opening batsmen Solozano and Vikash Mohan are chosen for the first game, but Mohan is injured in the field, very early. Pierre and Muhammad replaced Mohan as makeshift openers, when Amir Jangoo would have been the better choice. Keegan Simmons was brought in for Mohan in the next game and Bravo opened in the second innings.
Solozano and Simmons took their rightful place in the third round against Guyana, after which they were both dropped for Jangoo and Mohan to play against Barbados.
What a mess. What confusion.
Chairman of selectors David Furlonge and his committee are in a quandary. There doesn’t seem to be any psychological input in the selections, which is a vital element to include.
Space does not permit me to expose the plethora of selection mistakes made by this committee. Hence, it’s not strange to witness the type of cricket being served up as quality.
"Trinidad and Tobago selection woes"