ST JOHN’S, Antigua–Cricket West Indies lead selector Desmond Haynes and director of cricket Jimmy Adams bemoaned the failure of players to meet “even minimum fitness standards.”
This follows the announcement of the West Indies One-day International squad for tours of the Netherlands and Pakistan, and come on the heels of key left-handed opener Evin Lewis being left out of the squad due to fitness reasons.
CWI said Lewis in a news release announcing the 15-member squad that Lewis “was not considered because he failed to meet fitness criteria.”
Haynes, a former West Indies captain, said it was always disappointing when the selection panel are unable to choose from the full array of players because of failure to reach minimum fitness standards.
“When you look at the amount of cricket being played around the world, there’s a certain level of fitness that is required,” Haynes said during a virtual news conference on Monday following the announcement of the ODI squad.
“I think that is a standard that you should set as a professional cricketer. I do get concerned when you are selecting a side not sure if these guys are going to be fit enough to finish the tour. As a professional cricketer, there’s a level of fitness that is required, and all players should try to reach that.”
Adams said it was the player’s responsibility to maintain a certain level of fitness in keeping with CWI’s standards, and there were consequences for contracted players that failed to meet them.
“For contracted players who are unavailable for fitness, there are consequences that are outlined in the contracts,” Adams said. “We have players who, in our eyes are good enough to be considered for selection who are unavailable because of not even coming in on minimum fitness standards. That is very disappointing. For players who are contracted, that is doubly disappointing.
“It means we would have made an investment in them going back a year, and we have nothing to show for that investment. It’s something that is concerning to us, and something we have to think very seriously about when we go into the next cycle of contract discussions. I can’t say enough how much we consider this a letdown, not just for the individual, but for the region.”
Adams added: “It begins with the player. There’s always support that a player needs. All that support can be given, but in a lot of fitness cases we’ve seen in the recent past, the players—if they were being honest—would say they’d let themselves down.
“We want to compete with the best in the world, and we want our players to go out on any cricket field anywhere in the world and know that they’re equals.
“This is one area we’ve worked very hard on over the last few years, and we’ll continue to keep moving the bar upwards. We believe this is something that doesn’t require as much resources as other areas that players need to improve upon to become world-class.”