West Indies have had a rough last 12 months in international cricket across formats. But there isn’t too much time for them to fret over the lost opportunity to qualify for the T20 World Cup, with the Australia Test series looming around the corner. Earlier in the week, West Indies announced the squad for the two-match series, with the notable return of Roston Chase.
Lead selector, Desmond Haynes clearly insisted that Chase was selected ahead of Gudakesh Motie, owing to the former being an off-spinner. He also reckoned that an off-spinner is a must in Australian conditions.
"The situation regarding Roston Chase and Motie is that we as a panel decided that we would go for an offspinner. That's the reason why we didn't include Moti and we decided that Chase was the best person to do the job and that's what the panel decided,” Haynes said during the virtual press conference.
"When you look at someone like Roston Chase, his record in Test cricket has been pretty good. Although he did lose some form, he played a few games against Zimbabwe this year. The panel wanted to go with an offspinner and that's what really ticked in Roston's favour. Not just that he would help us in the batting department but also he would be a very good allrounder who can bowl offspin."
Roston hasn’t been part of the setup for sometime now, with his last appearance in the five-day format coming in December 2021, against Sri Lanka. But owing to his form during the recently concluded Caribbean Premier League (CPL), where he picked up six wickets, the all-rounder has returned to the setup. You would think why not Rahkeem Cornwall?
"It [his selection criteria] included quite a few things - medical and physical, " Director of cricket, Jimmy Adam said of Cornwall. "But this isn't the forum to discuss issues of that nature, I can't give you much information. But all of the information surrounding Rakheem needed to come in for selection.
But the biggest conundrum for them is over how they would replace the departing coach, Phil Simmons. Simmons’ contract comes to an end in December, meaning that the management will have to appoint someone to take charge of the team, starting January.
"Obviously, given the schedule that we have, which is Test cricket in Zimbabwe and South Africa from the end of January right through until (March)…I think the white-ball games against South Africa will go into March. Do we first of all split the roles and how long are we going to give ourselves the time in which to recruit? By that I mean, is it that we are going to do an interim situation maybe until the end of the South Africa (tour) or do we actually start recruiting right away (for a full-time coach).
"These are decisions that are before us now and I am hoping that by the end of this week coming that we will have some firm decisions to sort of guide the way forward…these are all the questions being considered right now as we speak."
As it stands, there is a high possibility that Cricket West Indies are considering an interim option, before they take a final call on the appointment of a personnel for the position.