BRIDGETOWN, Barbados – Former West Indies opener, Philo Wallace, has branded as “weak” the Test team chosen for the New Zealand tour, and has especially blasted the inclusion of failing opener John Campbell in the 15-man squad.
The outspoken Wallace, who played seven Tests and 33 One-Day Internationals between 1991 and 2000, said selectors had rewarded players for their mediocrity, especially on the recent tour of England, and had not made the necessary changes in order to challenge the Black Caps.
“I think the [team] selection is weak. We picked the same batsmen that came here to England and we’re sending them to New Zealand and we’re saying that New Zealand is going to be a bit tougher,” Wallace told StarCom Radio’s Mason and Guest cricket show from London.
“Now how are we going to get these guys to perform. These guys have no confidence and the selection panel has gone back with the same guys tried and tested.
“John Campbell came back from a tour of England and said he was at bits and pieces with (James) Anderson. Now if you were at bits and pieces with Anderson and … you have not taken a third opener … how are these guys being selected? On performances or stats? Because you have to dig deep sometimes and make hard core decisions on West Indies cricket.
“There are some players out there who are biting at the bit to get a play and you are rewarding men for mediocre performances. They failed in England.
“They had all the opportunities in England. The board (Cricket West Indies) sent them up there a month before, they played wonderfully well in the first Test match and they messed it up in the second and the third and you’re going to reward men for mediocre performances on a tougher tour down to New Zealand.”
Campbell was among several West Indies batsmen who failed badly on the England tour, managing only 84 runs from six innings at an average of 16.
The Jamaican has, however, played only nine Tests since making his debut last year on England’s tour of the Caribbean, and averages 25 overall with a single half-century.
Strokemaker Shai Hope, who also struggled against England averaging 17, was the only major change as selectors retained the core of the group.
Stressing that the selectors should have “read the riot act” to certain players, Wallace reiterated that changes should have been made to the squad.
“We need to make some hard decisions in our cricket. All of these [friendship] picks must stop. These guys need to be read the riot act,” Wallace continued.
“These guys need to understand the responsibility of cricket and West Indies. John Campbell is a very lucky man; I wish him all the very best but he struggled in England and we’re picking him for another tour to New Zealand.
“[The selection panel] has to make some decisions that will benefit West Indies cricket. It hurts to see these kind of decisions being made. Pick horses for courses and send the message loud and clear – changes can be made.”
Wallace argued that the consistency of players needed to be a major factor for selectors when deliberating over squads.
“Yes, stats come into play but you can’t pick men on stats [only]. You have to pick men on performances and the ability to play at this level,” the Barbadian contended.
“These fellas are showing us that some of them they don’t have the ability. We are crying out for consistency and we’re not getting it, and that’s one of the main ingredients in [the Task Force document on selection] – consistency.”
West Indies leave at month end for two Tests against New Zealand, the first scheduled for Seddon Park in Hamilton from December 3-7 and the second carded for the Basin Reserve in Wellington from December 11-15.
The Caribbean side have not won a Test series on New Zealand soil in 25 years.