Thursday, July 9, 2020

Curious Case of Kieran Powell's Omission

Sri Lanka is known to produce mystery bowlers, West Indies is known to produce mystery Selectors. The tussle between the West Indies Cricket administration/selectors and the players is well documented. It has been frustrating for the players as well as the fans who have missed deserved players from action often due to inexplicable reasons. 

The latest casualty of the selection policies is Kieran Powell. 

Leewards Islands captain Kieran Powell has been left out of the provisional 29-man squad for the West Indies tour of England which might go ahead despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Cricket West Indies and England & Wales Cricket Board are working out plans to somehow carry forward this tour which has been delayed due to the pandemic. 

The provisional squad sees return of Shannon Gabriel, Veerasammy Permaul and Jermaine Blackwood and also includes quite a few new selectees in Preston McSween, Paul Palmer, Shane Mosely and Keon Harding. 

Given Kieran has scored heavily in regional cricket, his absence from a squad of 29 is surprising to say the least.  Powell has been the top scorer in the regional 50 over competition this season and also scored well in the 4 day format. Though he didn't top the charts in the 4 day competition, an as opener he played quite a few very solid innings when the team was under pressure. 

“I haven’t really been as productive as I would like in the four-day format but I still managed to stand out above everyone else who played in the tournament so it’s disheartening for myself to learn that I hadn’t been selected based on the volume of runs I scored,” said Powell.

Powell was also left out of the squads against India, Ireland and Sri Lanka despite being the leading run scorer in the Super50 competition. 

Powell is also disappointed by the lack of clear communication from CWI to him. When Evin Lewis failed to clear fitness test for the matches against Sri Lanka, Powell was primed to take his spot in the team as he was in prime form but reports suggested that Powell failed the fitness test as well. 

“I don’t mind not being selected. This is part and parcel of being in West Indies cricket. It has been here long before me and I’m pretty sure it will be long after but communication is the most important thing,” Powell said regarding the failure of the fitness test.

It is the duty of CWI to communicate on the aspects of the tests a player fails so that they can work on it. According to Kieran, he is yet to hear from them. 

“Obviously there are more factors to it, which is what I am trying to ascertain. What are those standards, so I can work on whatever I need to work on so I can get my international career back off the ground?” he said.

Kieran says he has full faith in the current administration and coaches and that they have the best interest of cricket at heart, but does point out a certain stigma which has made his stay in the West Indies cricket a bit difficult.

“I remember a coach of the West Indies team telling me that I don’t need to play for the West Indies team because I was financially good and that I should leave it for people who aren’t financially good and I didn’t understand,” said Powell.

It is really shocking to hear such unprofessional, prejudiced mistreatment of a player. Nothing but merit should be the selection criteria. Going by this logic, many greats would have never played the game. Imagine India losing Sourav Ganguly to such selection policies. 

The selectors have maintained that the selections are based only on cricket and there are no other factors involved. They say they have picked the squad most suitable for the conditions. 

That brings us to Powell's performance in the English conditions. 
In English conditions, when the ball is doing so much, the job of the openers is to provide a solid start and shield rest of the batsmen from the new ball. Powell did that job quite well. In terms of the balls faced, he was third on the list and in terms of the runs scored 4th. Powell's performance as an opener was better than England's second opener. 
Given all these facts, it is only fair to say that Kieran has been treated unfairly and CWI needs to be more accountable in selection policies. 

DieHard Cricket Fans