What more must Ambris do?
That is the 64-million-dollar question that Vincentian and Windwards fans must be asking themselves after local batting star Sunil Ambris was not even given a look-in by West Indies cricket selectors in the line-up to face the visiting England team in three One-Day Internationals next month. The first two of those matches will be played at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua and Barbuda on March 3 and 5, with the third in Barbados on March 9.
The West Indies Board had made it clear that participation and performance in the just-concluded regional Super 50 Competition was the basis for selection. Thus, those who did not participate were not considered. Thus, proven one-day specialists of the calibre of Chris Gayle, Dwayne Bravo, Kieran Pollard, Lendl Simmons and Sunil Narine were not even considered for selection, as they opted to ply their trade in professional leagues elsewhere.
One, therefore, expected that performances in the 2017 Super-50 would have been major pointers to selection on the West Indies team to face England. Therein lies the contradiction; for Ambris, the star of the Windward Islands batting in the tournament, headed the batting averages, scoring 423 runs in 8 innings at an average of 70.50 per innings. He scored six fifties in his eight innings and was fourth in the total runs scored. The three batsmen who scored more heavily than him, Kieran Powell, Kraigg Brathwaite and Shai Hope, all played one or two matches more.
Yet, when the names of the 15 persons selected were released late yesterday, Ambris was not among them. Others, who did not match Ambrisâ performances, though playing in teams with far more batting support and thus less pressure, have been included. It is difficult to reconcile the strict insistence on selection depending on participation in the tournament with a convenient neglect of merit.
Given the history of slights suffered by Windward island performers over the years, stretching back as far as the legendary FO Mason and Alfie Roberts of the fifties, now both deceased, the exclusion of the in-form Ambris from a 15-man line-up, would seem to be in the same trend. But one thought that those days are long gone. It would appear otherwise.
When will our players get their just reward?