Harper out as Windies selection chief
Roger Harper

ST JOHN'S, Antigua (CMC) — Cricket West Indies (CWI) has sacked men's selection chief Roger Harper one month after the Caribbean side's failed Twenty20 (T20) World Cup title defence, in which squad selection proved a controversial issue.

The regional governing body announced Saturday that Harper's contract, along with that of Miles Bascombe, would not be renewed when it expired at year end.

This follows a review of the selection criteria and policy carried out by a CWI-appointed four-member committee in the wake of widespread criticism of the 15-man T20 World Cup squad.

Head Coach Phil Simmons, who was part of the previous three-member selection committee, will now head an interim panel comprising the captains in the respective formats, with CWI director of cricket Jimmy Adams “overseeing the process”.

CWI said the recruitment process for the new panel would begin next month.

“We want to thank Roger and Miles for their work and dedicated services to West Indies cricket in the last two years as members of the men's senior selection panel,” Adams said.

“Selecting West Indies teams for international competition is a very challenging assignment, and both gentlemen performed their roles with transparency and dignity.”

Harper, a former Test off-spinner, was appointed to the role two years ago as one of the first major changes of the new Ricky Skerritt-led administration.

But the 58-year-old, who served as West Indies head coach between 2000 and 2003, found himself at the centre of controversy due to the World Cup fiasco, with calls coming from several quarters for his immediate resignation.

“I would like to thank CWI for the opportunity to serve West Indies cricket in the role of lead selector, and I wish the organisation the very best for the future,” Harper said in a statement.

“I would also like to thank all those whose efforts and cooperation helped me to perform my role efficiently. Special thanks to Miles for his professionalism and teamwork.”

Bascome, meanwhile, was a surprise choice for the panel, having never held a senior selection post previously.

The 35-year-old, who played one T20 International (T20I) eight years ago against England in a weakened West Indies squad, had been a member of a CWI Selection Task Force chaired by fellow Vincentian and CWI vice-president Dr Kishore Shallow, charged in 2019 with overhauling regional policy.

While the panel had come under fire in the past, several controversial selections in the T20 World Cup squad further provoked the ire of fans and former cricketers.

An out-of-from Chris Gayle, 43, was selected for the campaign with an average of 17 this year, while a 36-year-old Ravi Rampaul was recalled for his first international match in six years.

Fast bowler Oshane Thomas, who has been plagued with fitness issues, was also selected on the basis of a single wicket in two T20Is against Australia in July, while the likes of Romario Shepherd and Sherfane Rutherford were ignored.

The first task before the interim panel will be to choose a white-ball squad for three One-Day Internationals and a one-off T20 International against Ireland at Sabina Park from January 8-16 next year.

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