“Very difficult for us to stop guys from..” – Selectors ‘concerned’ by player movement away from Tests

Lead selector Desmond Haynes said there is understandable “concern” among his panel about the movement away from the longer format by key players and believes a larger pool of players needs to be created in order to compensate for this.

The West Indies legend said the emergence of the global Twenty20 (T20) franchise leagues means players now have choices of format, leaving selectors with the challenge of picking their best squads for assignments.

On Wednesday, West Indies announced a 15-man squad for next month’s two-Test tour of Australia minus leading all-rounder Jason Holder and top order batsman Kyle Mayers — both of whom declined selection after expressing “a preference to explore T20 franchise opportunities in January”.

“Any panel would be concerned if there is a [choice] for that sort of version [T20] because we would obviously love to have a very strong Test team,” Haynes told an online media conference.

“A lot of people in the Caribbean still believe in Test cricket but it is quite obvious that the players now have got a choice. And even though we might love to have them playing in the longer version of the game, some of the guys are making themselves available for the shorter version.

“And we’re hoping that whenever they get the opportunity to play for West Indies that they would be committed but it is very difficult for us to stop the guys from going after the shorter version of the game.”

As such the absence of both Holder and Mayers will be a blow for the January 27-29 tour. The 32-year-old Holder is a veteran of 64 Tests and has already scored three hundreds, including an unbeaten double four years ago.

He has also taken 157 wickets along with eight five-wicket hauls.

The 31-year-old Mayers, meanwhile, came to prominence on the Test tour of Bangladesh two years ago when he smashed a sensational, unbeaten, double hundred in his debut Test.

He followed up with another Test hundred against the same side last year in the Caribbean and currently boasts an average of 32 from 18 matches. A lively medium pacer, Mayers has taken 34 wickets at 18 runs apiece.

Haynes said the focus now needs to be on ensuring there is a wider pool of players to select from, in order to lessen the impact of the T20 lure.

“It is a concern, obviously; you want to know the guys who can do a job for you [are] available,” Haynes continued.

“But the guys have got a choice, and if they make a decision there’s nothing we can do.

“What we need to do is to start looking at making sure we put things in place to produce cricketers so that when players are not available then we can still be very competitive in world cricket.”

Selectors attempted to recall the likes of One-Day Captain Shai Hope and veteran left-hander Darren Bravo, with the hope of adding more experience to the squad for Australia.

However, Haynes said both players turned down the opportunity.

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