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Say Why!

Barbados’ cricket selectors are under fire for the omission of talented Empire, Barbados and West Indies ‘A’ Team all-rounder Kevin Stoute from the national side to compete in the imminent Caribbean Twenty20 Championship slated for Trinidad and Tobago and St. Lucia.

Debate over Kevin Stoute’s (right) controversial omission continues to rage.

Stoute, 27, was shockingly overlooked for the 14-man squad, as well as the reserves, despite being the leading run-scorer in the just concluded domestic Sagicor General Twenty20 Championship.

Member of the Empire Cricket Club board of management, Carl Broome, told Barbados TODAY that the selectors owed the Barbadian public an explanation as to what were the “cricketing reasons” responsible for Stoute not being in the Barbados line-up.

“I am of the view that Stoute could not have been omitted from the Barbados team for any cricketing reasons because he is one of the best all-rounders in the island, and especially in this T20 format. If there is a disciplinary reason they should say so, and I am not aware of any such situation with Kevin,” he said.

Broome stressed that the Stoute snub “had to be addressed” and could not be avoided by the selectors since, based on performance, ability and attitude, it could not be disputed that Stoute was among the finest cricketers in the island.

“If Barbados is carrying the best team to the tournament, then he has to be in the squad by virtue of talent and track record,” Broome said.

Stoute, who impressed on the West Indies ‘A’ Team tour to England in 2010 and was also the 2011 Sagicor General Cup’s most valuable player, has Grade 2 level coaching certification and has played 29 first-class games, 19 50-over matches and eight T20 games for Barbados since making his national debut in 2007.

Broome also queried the rationale behind the selection panel choosing Hartley Reid, one of its board members, as manager of the Barbados team for the T20 tournament that starts January 6.

He said the Barbados Cricket Association had been encouraging clubs in Barbados to have and develop their own managers and had now instituted what could only be considered a counter-productive move by appointing someone from the board to manage the national team rather than someone from the club structure.

“Reid is my friend but I would be the first to tell him that this should not be so and at the same time to wish him all the best as manager of the Barbados team,” Broome stated.

He suggested that BCA president Joel Garner had to take stock of some of the things that were occurring in the association.

The Stoute scenario is not the first occasion that dubious selection policies have drawn scepticism in several quarters. The cricketing careers of former Barbados and West Indies “B” fast bowler Jason Bennett and former West Indies wicketkeeper Patrick Browne have been derailed by highly questionable decisions from within the BCA’s selection process.

Seven years ago, a then 23-year-old Bennett was dropped by the selectors from the Barbados team to accommodate the return of some of the island’s returning Test bowlers after he had taken 24 wickets in 5 matches. Though making appearances for the Combined Campuses & Colleges subsequently, Bennett was consistently overlooked by national selectors afterwards and at 30 has disappeared from top flight cricket having captured 106 wickets in 27 matches at the miserly average of 21.41.

Browne, once identified by former Jamaica and West Indies wicketkeeper Jeffrey Dujon as an excellent regional prospect, averaged 33.50 from five One-Day Internationals but was then dropped from the Barbados team months after playing against Australia in June 2008. Browne’s omission also came when he was within sight – and possibly one match away – of setting a national record for wicket-keeping victims in regional cricket.

Questions again have been asked of the selectors’ decision to leave out highly promising fast-bowling all-rounder Jason Holder from the national team for the imminent Caribbean Twenty20 competition.

Though Holder was snubbed by local selectors, he was picked by the West Indies selectors to replace an injured Tino Best on the just concluded West Indies tour of Bangladesh. Though selected to play for the Combined Campuses & Colleges Holder has publicly expressed his disappointment at being overlooked.

“I think I have a point to prove after not being selected in the Barbados team. I wanted to play for my country first,” he said. (WG)

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