In another structural overhaul, this time to the team and selection policies, West Indies have appointed veteran Kieron Pollard as their new captain of the limited-overs squads, Cricket West Indies President Ricky Skerritt announced in a press conference in Trinidad on Monday (September 9). The board has also advertised for a full-time head coach for the national side.
Pollard, who last played an ODI game for West Indies against Pakistan back in October 2016, replaces Jason Holder in 50-overs format, while the latter will continue as captain in Test cricket. In T20Is, Pollard takes over the leadership role from Carlos Brathwaite.
The decision comes after the conclusion of the first quarterly board meeting of CWI, in Tobago on September 7 and 8, following a comprehensive review by the Selection Task Force of the selection process and system for all West Indies cricket, including women’s and youth teams. The recommendations made by the panel were further approved by the CWI Board of Directors. Skerritt reasoned that the board was following the “best possible practices for best possible outcomes”.
“He’s a very important force and is still going to be our red-ball captain,” Skerritt said of Holder. “Holder will now compete for a place in Pollard’s team and use this as an opportunity to become a better cricketer. Pollard is the right man at the right time to take our white-ball teams forward.”
Pollard’s first assignment as the new white-ball national captain will be against Afghanistan in November, in India, where they are scheduled to play three T20Is and as many ODIs, followed by a one-off Test.
“I’ve played franchise all over the world and I hope to use this experience to help the West Indies in my role as captain,” Pollard said at the press conference. “In the short term as captain, the immediate aim is to defend the T20 World Cup. One of the discussions I hope to have is to bring back the idea of specialists playing in their best positions.”
Meanwhile, the deadline for applying for the role of West Indies’ head coach is September 20, with the board hoping to have made a choice before they leave for India.
Selection panel formed
“It was a surprise to all of us in the Selection Task Force that West Indies never had a selection policy,” CWI Vice President Shallow said, to which Skerritt added, “One of the things we found in our One-Day team shortcomings is over 50 players were picked between the 2015 & 2019 World Cups. It made little sense and the results showed.”
Consequently, the board’s new selection system will introduce team-specific selection panels for men’s and women’s and youth teams comprising an Executive Selector (lead selector), a selector and the head coach of the respective side.
Skerritt also noted that the West Indies cricketers – some of the most sought-after commodity in franchise cricket around the globe – will not have to sacrifice on cash-rich Indian and Caribbean Premier Leagues. Often their participation in foreign leagues and non-availability for relatively low-income international assignments has been a bone of contention between the previous managements and the cricketers, resulting in either international exiles or premature retirements.
“We want our players to play in world leagues to strengthen their game in different conditions. They will not have to sacrifice CPL and IPL to play for the West Indies, both can coexist with mutual benefits,” Skerritt noted.