The year 2018 like most years since 1995 has been a difficult one in West Indies cricket. It began with them securing their spot in the 2019 World Cup, but scraping their way via the ICC World Cup qualifiers held in Zimbabwe.
Mildly encouraging performances in Tests followed during the home season with a series draw and win against Sri Lanka and Bangladesh respectively. However the ODI team struggles and T20 team's decline after World T20 2016 title win continued, as Bangladesh won those two rubbers in the Caribbean.
The recent Test series in India were abysmal and did not build on those vague improvements shown in aforementioned Tests in Caribbean.
Notable individual performances aside from captain Jason Holder, Shai Hope, Shimron Hetmyer, Nicholas Pooran and Oshane Thomas, the limited overs leg was comfortably won by India despite West Indies pushing them in some matches.
Ahead of the Bangladesh tour, the Windies final bilateral series for 2018, chairman of selectors Courtney Browne spoke to Firstpost about events on the India tour along with plans for the team ahead of the 2019 World Cup.
Why was selection panel not compelled to make more drastic changes to the Test team after capitulation in series against India? Possibility of recalling Darren Bravo to strengthen batting or the experience of Denesh Ramdin?
Bravo is not eligible for Test selection until he plays the domestic four-day competition. Regarding experience of Ramdin, Shane Dorwich was player of series recently against Sri Lanka and we still feel he is very viable option for us.
Is Holder under pressure to keep captaincy in either the Test or ODI format? He has a worse Test captaincy record than Darren Sammy now and has not won an ODI series in his four years as captain.
Jason (Holder) has been excellent as player. Yes, we all agree as a captain there are areas he can improve, but generally as captain he has had the most inexperienced team, West Indies has had in a long time. So coming close to the World Cup, trying to get an ODI squad that can be competitive and a group of players that we can stick with after World Cup, we wouldn’t want to recommend him being changed as the ODI captain.
Does the board have a policy of not picking Jason Holder for T20 cricket?
This was agreed between selection panel and Jason a few years back about managing his workload. But he would be considered for tournament such as World T20 2020.
Is Carlos Brathwaite due to him winning Super 50 with Combine Campsuses & Colleges Marooners, the likely person to take over from Holder temporarily in ODI team?
No, we are not recommending Carlos for temporary ODI captaincy. But we are looking at other options. The ODI team for Bangladesh has already been selected, it’s just about replacing Holder now (Holder was ruled out of the Bangladesh tour due to shoulder injury). So we have option of bringing in a player and looking for a captain amongst that group, but we haven’t settled on it.
Would the selectors consider picking Andre Russell just as a batsman, given his trouble with the knee, he has been unable to bowl regularly?
We are hoping for the best regarding Andre and his knee situation and we would want him to play as an all-rounder, but certainly the selection panel would consider playing him as batsman only if such a situation arises.
Despite Chris Gayle making himself unavailable for all ODIs till the World Cup, is he still in consideration for the tournament in 2019?
Gayle will be considered for 2019 World Cup. He is stalwart not just for people of Caribbean but around the world. Hopefully everything being equal, he will be part of that team.
Dwayne Bravo recently retired saying one of reasons is because he wasn't picked for T20 leg of India tour. How do you justify not picking him for that tour despite him being an IPL and CPL winner in 2018?
At the end of day, Bravo was considered for the India T20s but was not selected and that’s as much we would say about that at this time.
Does the failure of Trinidad & Tobago to win Super50 tournament despite being favourites, rule out the chances for their players for an ODI recall and affect their chances ahead of World Cup?
All players will be considered for selection and the selection will depend on the options and the availability of players. So, it’s not because a guy may not have not done well in a tournament, if the selectors think he can make a valuable contribution – he will be considered.
Is the ODI bowling form of Ashely Nurse and Devendra Bishoo concerning the selectors and do they want to drop them after the India tour?
The team was already selected and both were picked for the tour of Bangladesh. Nurse wasn’t bad in India and we introduced young Fabian Allen who lends a left-arm spin option. Of course with Sunil Narine and Khary Pierre also around, it’s good competition to have that adds pressure on players.
Could you tell us regarding Sunil Narine, Evin Lewis' ODI future?
Sunil Narine was selected for the T20I series in India. When I recently spoke to Narine he had finger injury then he hopes to do further work with his personal bowling coach regarding bowling in 50 over cricket. So he is hoping in near future he will be available for ODI cricket.
Lewis situation is straightforward. He actually was not eligible for Bangladesh because after he pulled out of India tour due to personal reasons, it was then escalated to technical committee to assess his eligibility going forward. When we were picking team for Bangladesh, the committee did not meet and hence he wasn’t considered for Bangladesh.
However, the committee did meet after the squads were announced and we as the selection panel plan to meet soon to discuss him. There are some things that Evin has to do in our view, but overall he will be back in West Indies colours sooner rather than later.