BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC) – Ex-West Indies batting coach Toby Radford has again criticised the lack of consistency in fitness standards for selection to West Indies squads, and believes a more equitable process is required in order for the best players to emerge.
The Welshman, who left the West Indies setup in 2019 as part of an overall coaching overhaul of the men’s senior side, said it too often appeared as if fitness waivers were being used conveniently to ensure the selection and non-selection of players.
“I don’t think there’s a consistency with the fitness testing and the way it is being used,” said Radford.
“It seems to me if they want to pick a player, they give a waiver to a certain player. If they don’t want to pick a player, they suddenly give the excuse that the guy is not fit and there’s no proof when the test was done or how it was done.
“And I hear lots of different stories. I don’t think it’s consistent … if they want to get a player in, suddenly they waive the fitness test. If they don’t want a player in, they blame the fitness test and use that as an excuse.
“I don’t think it is a hard and fast method for selecting and non-selecting and we saw that recently with the World Cup. There were people on there (squad) I’m sure they didn’t pass a fitness test and I think we all know that.
“But then they were other people at other times who were not picked and they said they failed the fitness test. It doesn’t look consistent to me.”
Over the last two years, CWI has drilled down on fitness standards, leading to several players missing out on selection for international tours.
And player fitness proved a source of heated debate ahead of the recent Twenty20 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates when experienced players were handed fitness waivers while the likes of rookies Sherfane Rutherford and Odean Smith failed to meet the standards and were ruled out of selection.
Radford said transparent fitness standards would ultimately eliminate the inconsistency which currently characterised selection.
“I would like to see a really above-board, robust selection process. And if you’re going to use fitness which is a massive part of the game, you’ve got to be consistent with it,” he argued.
“Everybody has got to be treated the same way, tested the same way and whatever the results are, the decision that’s made for ‘A’ has to be the decision made for ‘B’, ‘C’, ‘D’, ‘E’, ‘F’ and ‘G’ as well.
“At the moment, it’s being used however they want to select.”
He added: “For testing to be fair, everybody should be in the same place on the same day doing the same test, and you can all see them doing it.
“When you start doing it at different times, and this person had a waiver and that person’s got a waiver, it gets messy and then it’s open to people looking at it (process) and saying ‘what went on here?’. And even if it was fair, it doesn’t look fair.”
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