ST JOHN’S, Antigua – Former West Indies and Leeward Islands fast bowler Kenneth “Flipper” Benjamin has questioned the “thought process” that went into the selection of a 13-member Leeward Islands senior cricket team for their opening WICB 4-Day tournament match against Guyana on Friday.
The normally outspoken Benjamin highlighted the selection of Antiguan allrounder Orlando “Baby” Peters and the non-selection of Rahkeem “Jimbo” Cornwall as an example of what he calls the “confusion” taking place within the Leeward Islands Cricket Association (LICA).
“How could you then say that someone like Orlando Peters, who you didn’t even consider for a contract, but then all of a sudden, he walks in in-front of someone who has a contract that has performed and Rahkeem Cornwall was one of the outstanding performers,” he said.
“This is not against Orlando Peters because I thought he should have been given a contract, but I am just saying that in terms of the thought process, how poor it was that you end up with probably one of the most talented allrounders in the Leeward Islands, not giving him a contract and then you have to call him in-front of someone who performed and has a contract,” he added.
The squad will be captained by wicketkeeper/batsman Devon Thomas while his deputy will be Anguilla’s Jahmar Hamilton, who is also a wicketkeeper batsman.
Quinton Boatswain, Yannick Leonard, Jeremiah Louis, Anthony Martin, Austin Richards, Lyndell Richardson, Akeem Saunders, Jacques Taylor, Gavin Tonge, Kelbert Walters and Peters complete the line-up.
Benjamin said that having gone to the WICB draft in October and selected all of its “usual suspects”, he did not expect much to change from LICA’s perspective where the selection of the team is concerned.
“Based on the fact we saw all the confusion starting from the draft, and from they don’t know when the players are traveling, they (didn’t) know who was the coach and all that, and the lateness to the start of preparations, so nothing has changed, so I wasn’t really expecting anything different in terms of that, and I didn’t really expect that the team they selected was going to be one based on the performances coming out of the Leeward Islands tournament or even the people who they gave contracts as the first options,” the former player said.
The team will be coached by former West Indies wicketkeeper Ridley Jacobs and managed by Leroy Percival. Masefield Nisbett will travel as trainer.
Leeward Islands open their campaign against Guyana from November 14-17 at the Providence Stadium in Guyana