The job of a cricket selector has never been easier, with the game’s governing bodies offering more help, more money, and greater opportunities for all involved.
Openers can be difficult to find and keep, with the best players working in all three formats, while selectors must juggle their own schedules. There are also franchise tournaments to consider and several overseas tours — and the demands of captaincy — that could impact their selections.
Legendary West Indies opening batter Desmond Haynes has just taken on the role of lead men’s selector for the West Indies. In this exclusive interview with Betway, he discusses his challenges in taking on the role and more.
When did you decide that you would like to become a selector for the West Indies Cricket Team?
I was a selector for the Barbados Cricket Association, so I had experience in picking teams. I was approached to do the job, and I figured that if there were any time that I could return to West Indies cricket, it would be now. They needed a lead selector, and I was asked to join them, which made me start thinking about the role seriously.
What, according to you, are the key components or traits for a good selector?
You can’t learn a game simply by watching it. You have to be on the court or ground and play the game yourself. And while you may be able to get a good idea of how someone is going to play from their statistics, you also need to look at their character.
Finding the right players is really tough. It’s like going on blind dates – you just have to go out and meet many people until you find one who fits your criteria.
There’s a lot more than just the stats to consider when you’re scouting players. The player’s playing style should be analyzed, his physical attributes should be assessed, his mental makeup should be evaluated. You don’t want to waste time and money on players who aren’t going to produce.
What are the key features to look for when selecting an international player?
When choosing members of the West Indies cricket team, you look at the players’ character, as well as their commitment to training and cricket in general. Knowledge of the game is very important because it lets me make sure that the players understand the game.
Talent is also an important factor when choosing players for this team because if someone wants to play cricket at the highest level, their talent has to be able to produce for the West Indies.
In what ways might your role be described as uniquely aligned with the goals of the coaching staff?
I keep my distance from the players because I believe that my role as a scout is to identify talent and then let the coaches do their job with the coaching.
How much responsibility does a selector take for the results of a team’s performance?
As a selector, I feel part and parcel of the team. We all want the same goals, and we all want to do what is right for West Indies cricket. It’s not about any individual.
When you’re a selector, you obviously want to know that the team you’ve selected will do well on the field. I feel that we have selected the best side to perform. If they don’t perform, then we take some of the blame as well.