BRIDGETOWN, Barbados – Experienced international batting coach, Toby Radford, has raised concerns over the potential negative impact of sending a depleted squad to Bangladesh and fears the pullout by players could have adverse implications for the image of West Indies cricket.
The Welshman, who spent several years as part of the West Indies coaching staff, said he would have preferred to see a full-strength side for the upcoming tour instead of “half of a first-team”, supplemented by inexperienced players.
And while he is thrilled with the new opportunities that will be afforded other players, Radford questioned whether the tour would enhance West Indies cricket overall.
“I’m slightly disappointed as a West Indies supporter that the main team isn’t going. I’m delighted it has given opportunities for younger players but there are quite a few big names missing,” said Radford, who was a member of the Caribbean side’s coaching staff up until two years ago.
“My real worry is: is it good for West Indies cricket to be sending half of a first team and some younger players [to Bangladesh]. Will that affect how other countries view them going forward?
“I don’t know the answers but I’m looking on a little bit disappointed. I’d like to see the best team travel every time we go and play.”
Test captain Jason Holder and white ball skipper Kieron Pollard were the two biggest names in a group of 10 who declined selection for the Bangladesh tour due to “COVID-19 related concerns or personal fears”.
Darren Bravo, one of the side’s most experienced Test and one-day batsmen, along with Test all-rounder Roston Chase and exciting left-hander Shimron Hetmyer also opted out, along with big-name one-day stars like Shai Hope, Evin Lewis and Nicholas Pooran.
Radford said he understood the need for certain players, who had been hunkered down in bio-secure bubbles in various tournaments over the last year, to take a break.
And without naming players, he felt there were others who should have opted to tour because they had played relatively little cricket.
“I can understand one or two deciding not to go who perhaps have played a lot of cricket,” he told Starcom Radio’s Mason and Guest cricket show.
“I think someone like Jason Holder who have played a lot of cricket and been in a lot of bubbles this year and stuck in his hotel room, I can understand him being tired and needing a break.
“But there are a few there I think who are taking a break who maybe don’t need a break.
“And the other thing that’s interesting is that the players who are travelling and have said they’re happy to travel are those who only get their salaries from the West Indies board, and are not getting any extra money playing in T20 competitions.
“A lot of those who have decided not to travel is obviously earning playing in the Big Bash or playing in the IPL and the bank is pretty full for them and probably don’t feel they have to go to Bangladesh.”
Pollard, Holder, Hetmyer and Pooran and Sheldon Cottrell campaigned in the lucrative IPL last September/October while Holder and Pooran featured in the ongoing Big Bash.
West Indies are scheduled to leave this weekend for the January 10 to February 15 tour which comprises three One-Day Internationals and two Tests.