Cricket West Indies (CWI) board member Dr Akshai Mansingh has suggested it will be test of character for exciting young batsmen Shimron Hetmyer and Evin Lewis who were recently dropped from the West Indies ODI squad. Eyebrows were raised on Monday when Lewis and Hetmyer were omitted from the West Indies 15-man ODI squad for the tour to Sri Lanka after they reportedly failed to meet the new minimum fitness standard.
But Dr Mansingh says Hetmyer and Lewis who performed well in the West Indies’ last two series against India and Ireland, should not view their omission as doom and gloom.
“Hetmyer has had an up and down year but the latter few games he played he certainly looked much better. I don’t think this is punishment for the next year or the next standard test would be six months so that’s not far away. They get a chance for remedial testing but if they fail that’s trouble because you are going to be out until you can get back to that level,” said Dr Mansingh.
In the meantime, Dr Mansigh, who is also Dean of the Faculty of Sports at UWI Mona Campus, says players need to take more personal responsibility for their fitness.
“As a doctor, I’m obliged to have a certain amount of medical education per year. My employers don’t go and say here is where you get your medical education, here is where it is. At the most they may give me resources to attain it, but the responsibility is mine,” said Dr Mansingh.
Meanwhile, Jamaica's John Campbell has been singled out by Cricket West Indies' Director of Cricket, Jimmy Adams who says on-field performances and fitness must go hand-in-hand if players are to play international cricket. Evin Lewis and Shimron Hetmyer were recently omitted from the Windies ODI squad for the tour to Sri Lanka after they reportedly failed to meet the new minimum fitness standard.
But speaking with the media in Guyana, Adams also singled out Jamaica's Campbell noting: "We had young John Campbell who went to Ireland and was not in the fittest state at the time; he gets a hundred in the first game and then physically can't complete the rest of the series because of not being where he should be."
Campbell is currently leading the Jamaica Scorpions in the regional 4-day competition. According to Adams, in September 2018, the board decided to tie selection policy with fitness, but it took a while to take full effect due to change in coaches and selection panels.
However, with the Roger Harper-led Selection Committee taking charge in October 2019, everyone was keen to fully implement the policy. Adams , a former Jamaica and West Indies captain, also disclosed that players had expected the policy to be implemented sooner, but said CWI wanted greater transparency.