The legendary West Indies opener Desmond Haynes is now the lead selector of the West Indies Men’s team. He recently talked to Betway and discussed the challenges that come in the modern era.
With the increasing hectic schedule in Cricket in recent years, an international selector’s job has never been harder. Three different formats and other international franchise tournaments also play a role in the selection.
When Haynes asked about that when he decided to take up the role of West Indies selector?
He replied, In the 90s he worked as a selector for Barbados Cricket Association. So he had some experience in selecting the teams. When he was approached for the job and told about the position as a lead selector. After that he started thinking seriously about it and it’s a good way to give back to West Indies Cricket.
In the reply to the question “What are the most important aspects to being a good selector?”, he replied - It’s the knowledge of the game that creates the difference. Identifying talent also matters. Sometimes stats don't give the full picture about a player, if you can see them play. You can judge better.
Also, being a professional is also very important when doing the job as a selector. Currently, there is a panel of three people who complete the selection’s final process. One is co-selector and the other is coach. I have to discuss with both of them and then decide who is the right person to do the job.
I believe our aim as a selector is to choose the best players and put forward the best team out there, which is capable of winning the games. It doesn’t matter from where players come from and which format they play.
What are the various key points you look at when choosing the international players?
You look at the character of players and their commitment to training and cricket in general. Other than this the knowledge of the game also plays a crucial role and the players should be students of the game. And at last talent and ability to play well for the West Indies.
How do you balance the statistics with gut feeling at the time of selection?
It’s always good to find out the statistics. It gives a more clear picture about the player’s performance and which conditions are favorable to them or otherwise. Nowadays, Analysts and technology are there to tell us the stats.
But as I said before, I always go back to the character a player shows at the time of playing and how he can play a role in the team.
How closely do you align with the coaching staff due to your role requirements?
Honestly speaking I keep my distance, my job is just to produce the players, select the players and let the coaches do their job with the coaching.
When asked about the performance of selectors and how much responsibility the selectors should take? He replied when you are a selector, you are also part of the team and we are working towards the same goals. It’s about West Indies cricket, not an individual. If the team you selected doesn’t perform well, some blame automatically comes to you as well.
The selection process is a long term process, with one or two good or bad results shouldn’t affect your approach completely. Players are made and there is a process involved. But if a player doesn’t perform well continuously after many chances then you have to make changes and bring new players.
When asked about his views on rest and rotation? that cricket is now the busiest that it has ever been in history. He said, It’s very important especially for fast blowers. International calendar is very busy nowadays.
In the covid times, there is certain mental strain as well for the players. But they are professionals and we are also helping players to cope up with these times. They are doing good and now restrictions are also relaxing a bit. So all in all good and they are now getting the freedom to move around.
What do you feel about franchise leagues complicating selection for the West Indies national team?
The IPL has a window in our schedule, so players are allowed to go and play. We prepare the schedule accordingly. But problems arise with other franchises around the world. Then we look into the player's commitment to the West indies. We plan things accordingly for every position. So if this kind of situation arises we don’t scramble with the people.
How do you look at the young players striking the balance between franchise and international cricket?
Honestly everyone wants to play where there is big money. At the end of the day, having a good lifestyle that everyone loves. My suggestion is only that to focus on becoming the good cricketer and that will automatically take you to the heights.
It is important to focus more on your ability and keep working towards your self-development. Increase the knowledge about the game, try to seek information, try to pick the brains of some of the legends.
If you do the right things, look after yourself and fitness. You will definitely make a lot of money from the game.
Do you believe that multi-format cricketers are the future, or will players be pigeon-holed more in future?
I believe if you're a good player, you can play any form of the game, formats don’t matter that much. I think if you have a good class, you will do well in all formats.
How do you look at the current West Indies squad and what the future looks like for West Indies cricket?
We’re always having good talent in the West Indies, we are just a little unfortunate. We can't really compare to places like Australia and India because they've got loads of players playing cricket, with the various academies around those countries.
I do think it’s important for the ICC to look at finding ways that they can assist countries like West Indies, Sri Lanka and Pakistan, those places with limited numbers, to try to find ways to make sure that when they split the pie, some of the smaller countries get a bit more money to help with cricket development.
I think it’s important to make the cricket competitive worldwide.