On Target
December 17, 2004
Jackson given the boot

Orlanzo Jackson’s omission from the 17-member Windward party for the 2005 Carib Cup is a signal blow to genuine cricket lovers in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, the rest of the Windwards, and the wider Caribbean circles. The ebullient Jackson had established himself as perhaps the best legspinner in the region. His capable batting qualities had served the Windwards in good enough stead, although definitely not at the consistency for which Jackson is known to be capable. {{more}}

Jackson’s axing was on the cards, a carefully calculated move by Captain Rawl Lewis. The Grenadian captain was never comfortable with Jackson on the team. It overshadowed his own bowling qualities and rendered his position as captain insecure.

And with Camilus Alexander in the wings, the scale of leg spinners for the Windwards was overweighed.

Alexander is an emerging prospect, kept out of the Windwards party by the self-preservation factor that Lewis engenders.

Lewis passes himself as the batting all-rounder, in a Windwards line-up where runs supply have always been in short supply.

How well will Lewis fulfil that role will be seen. He seems to still harbour thoughts of a return to the West Indies line-up. For that is the only reason why he persists at the regional level.

He appears to be in good favour with the Windwards Board, and the selectors. For they would have, and should have, gotten rid of him like they did John Eugene.

The Windwards would do well to retool and come up with replacements for the stalwarts who have served steadfastly over the years.

The guards are changing, perhaps in the light in which Jackson was given marching orders. But the signals seemed to be mixed. I admire the acrobatics of Junior Murray, but I believe he has served his time. Last year, he pulled up in a crucial encounter against Trinidad and Tobago, unable to complete a day’s play.

Vincentian wicketkeeper batsman Lyndon James acquitted himself as an adequate alternative, even with Junior Murray in the squad. His overlook this year is not a good sign of our respect for emerging talent.

There must be a question about Fernix Thomas’ omission also. He had been the subject of many a fitness query over the years, even though his returns appeared to have suggested that success was beginning to come his way.

The Windwards have the potential of performing well at the regional level, once the squad is selected on merit and allowed to gel into a unit.

However, the Windwards Board have to make harsh decisions in the interest of cricket and not for insular gains wherever they are channeled.