KINGSTON, Jamaica – Head coach Phil Simmons has lamented Shimron Hetmyer’s absence for the upcoming series against Ireland and England, saying the gifted left-hander had “let down himself and his teammates” due to his ongoing fitness lapses.
The 25-year-old, a successful former Young West Indies captain, was the Caribbean side’s leading batsman at last year’s Twenty20 World Cup in United Arab Emirates but was ruled out of the white-ball side for the assignments later this month after failing to meet Cricket West Indies’ fitness standards.
For Hetmyer, it is not the first time he had found himself overlooked for selection due to his lack of fitness, a situation Simmons described as “heart-wrenching”.
“It’s the same old, same old. He did his fitness assessment with Guyana last week and came way below the required mark,” Simmons told a media conference.
“It’s something that’s heart-wrenching because you know that you’re part of this team and you have to continue to be at a certain fitness to be part of this team, and you keep letting down your teammates.
“So it’s disappointing so again, you have to go back to this which is something I don’t think we should be going back to all the time but he keeps letting down himself and his teammates.”
Hetmyer was ruled out of Sri Lanka’s tour of the Caribbean last year also due to fitness issues and missed West Indies’ tour of Sri Lanka in 2020 for the same reason.
Ironically, he was one of the leading run-getters in the Super50 Cup last year which preceded Sri Lanka’s tour, averaging 50 while hitting a hundred and two half-centuries.
Hetmyer has not featured for West Indies since the T20 World Cup last October, after opting out of last December’s tour of Pakistan which was cut short because of COVID-19 issues.
The Caribbean side face Ireland in three One-Day Internationals from January 8-14 and a one-off T20 International on January 16 – all matches scheduled for Sabina Park here.
West Indies will then head to Barbados for a five-match T20 series against England from January 22-30.
Simmons said he had already outlined a strategy for the T20 squad which he hoped could be applied in both series.
“We have little targets that we want to reach at certain points in the 20 overs [format] but it’s not hard and fast. It’s about getting to those targets,” Simmons explained.
“If we’re playing right, we will get past those and that’s how we’re going to start looking at it now. We are going to be making sure that there are targets we’ve got to try and hit.”
West Indies have lost seven of their last eight T20 Internationals.