Henderson Broomes: “Barbados cricket is in a good place”

Dowrich set to return to first-class cricket after 14-month absence

By Keith Holder

Bridgetown, Barbados, January 16 – (www.barbadoscricket.org) – Shane Dowrich, the most capped West Indies Test wicketkeeper/batter in the last seven years, is set to return to first-class cricket for the first time in 14 months as star-studded Barbados Pride prepare for the rescheduled February 9 start of the six-team regional Championship, which they are proudly defending.

That’s the word from chairman of the Barbados selectors Henderson Broomes, who has explained reasons for Dowrich’s absence from both the aborted Barbados Cricket Association (BCA) four-team Legends Cup after only one round in late November because of covid-19 concerns, and the just concluded four-day practice match.

The 30-year-old Dowrich played the last of 35 Tests in the first week of December 2020 against New Zealand when he injured his finger in the first innings of the opening match at Seddon Park in Hamilton.

He was unable to bat in the match, which West Indies lost by an innings and 134 runs, and soon returned home.

Since then he has had no cricket of note and with the Barbados selectors having met this week to discuss the squad, Broomes said Dowrich’s no-show in the recent Barbados practice match at Desmond Haynes Oval was due to him recovering from Covid-19, which also sidelined fast bowler Keon Harding and left-arm spinner Jomel Warrican.

“Dowrich, Harding and Warrican have been now all cleared to resume practice and are fully fit,” Broomes told this correspondent in a wide-ranging interview.

Dowrich, who made his Test debut in 2015 against Australia at Windsor Park in Dominica, has scored 1570 runs including three centuries and nine half-centuries, at an average of 29.07. He has 85 catches and five stumpings.

In 111 first-class matches, Dowrich has amassed 4764 runs with seven hundreds and 28 fifties (ave: 33.31), along with 277 catches and 25 stumpings.

There was no regional four-day cricket last year.

Barbados Pride were declared winners of the 2020 Championship following the cancellation of the last two rounds of matches due to the global covid-19 pandemic.

Captained by Test opener Kraigg Brathwaite, Barbados Pride finished with 134.8 points, followed by Trinidad & Tobago Red Force 94.6, Jamaica Scorpions 91.8, Guyana Jaguars, also 91.8, Windward Islands Volcanoes 78 and Leeward Islands Hurricanes 52.8.

It lifted Barbados’ very proud record number of regional four-day titles to 23 since 1966 when the Tournament was first known as the Shell Shield.

The players who represented Barbados in 2020 (with number of matches in brackets), were: Kraigg Brathwaite (captain), Shayne Moseley, Shamarh Brooks, Kyle Mayers, Chemar Holder (eight), Shane Dowrich, Keon Harding (seven), Ashley Nurse, Jomel Warrican (six), Jonathan Carter, Kevin Stoute, Kemar Roach (five), Justin Greaves (four), Tevyn Walcott (two), Camarie Boyce and Jason Holder (one).

Mayers was the most outstanding batter, amassing 654 runs including two centuries at an average of 50.30.

Three others scored over 300 runs. They were: Moseley 490 (ave: 35.00), Brathwaite 468 (ave: 33.42) and Dowrich 360 (ave: 36.00).

The pace bowling was dominant with Chemar Holder grabbing 36 wickets (ave: 18.91), Roach 30 (ave: 13.70) and Harding 29 (ave: 23.20).

Following is the interview with chairman of the Barbados Pride selection committee, Henderson Broomes:

HOLDER: With the Cricket West Indies (CWI) first-class Championship now rescheduled to start February 9, there is tremendous interest surrounding the selection of the Barbados Pride squad. There were a few notable absentees from the recent four-day practice match including the likes of Shane Dowrich, Keon Harding, Jomel Warrican and Roshon Primus. Can you give the reasons, especially in relation to Dowrich who has not played any cricket of note since he was injured on the West Indies tour to New Zealand in December 2020?

BROOMES: From a cricketing perspective and as chairman of selectors, Dowrich’s problems were dealt with utmost respect to him and we have always kept in contact.

As far as playing locally was concerned, Dowrich was fit and ready to return for the Legends Cup but the tournament was cancelled after the first round in November because of covid-19 concerns.

Subsequently, he was slated to take part in the four-day preparation match. However, he had another setback after testing positive for covid.

Keon Harding and Jomel Warrican were also side-lined because of positive covid results.

Dowrich, Harding and Warrican have been now all cleared to resume practice and are fully fit.

Primus’ absence from the practice match was due to the fact that he is slated to play in Australia. He was awaiting a visa, which was expected to come through by the second day of the match. He has already been given a No Objection Certificate (NOC) by the Barbados Cricket Association and Cricket West Indies.

HOLDER: So when are you likely to pick the squad for the first round?

BROOMES: The selectors are aware that there will be white-ball tours by West Indies to India (three ODIs on February 6, 9, 12) and three T20Is (February 15, 18, 20) directly after the five-match T20I series against England in Barbados later this month.

We have met and identified that there is a possibility of about seven or eight international players from Barbados who can be in the reckoning for selection on the West Indies team to tour India (Jason Holder, Shai Hope, Shamarh Brooks, Roston Chase, Kyle Mayers, Dominic Drakes, Justin Greaves, Raymon Reifer). It is my understanding that we will know the West Indies squad for that tour by January 16 so after that we will be in a position to announce our squad.

We discussed who are the likely replacements but again it is dependent on the selection of the West Indies team to tour India. We have basically drafted a 22-man squad and the likely replacements. At the same time I asked for guidance from Cricket West Indies about the number of players we can select for a match bearing in mind covid, and it’s still a squad of 13 players and two reserves for home games.

HOLDER: Were you happy with the quality of play in both the aborted Legends Cup and the four-day practice match?

BROOMES: From a selectors’ perspective, I was pleasantly happy to see the quality of performances from the younger members who took part in the matches.

In the Legends Cup, Shian Brathwaite (scored 153 for Sir Charles Griffith X1 v Sir Gordon Greenidge X1 at Weymouth) showed that he is coming of age at senior Barbados trials; Rashawn Worrell got a second innings century (exactly 100 for the Greenidge X1) and Demetrius Richards, now the Talk of the Town, also impressed with the bat, scoring a half-century (for Sir Garfield Sobers X1 v Sir Wesley Hall X1 at Desmond Haynes Oval) and a hundred in the four-day practice match.

Worrell was playing in England (the 19-year-old had a stint at St. Bede’s School, which Shai Hope also attended) and we felt it was important to have him in the Legends Cup and the practice match.

Richards is probably not big in the eyes of local cricket fans but having joined Maple last year from the BDFSP, although there were no BCA competitions we picked him through what we call an “outreach programme”. He was identified by Hendy Bryan, the Maple coach (former Barbados and West Indies player).

HOLDER: What has impressed you most about Richards?

BROOMES: The selectors recognised that there are about six or seven players battling for the opening positions including Kraigg Brathwaite, Shayne Moseley, Shian Brathwaite, Zachary McCaskie, Kyle Hope, Rashawn Worrell and Demetrius Richards.

We, therefore, decided in the preparation match to bat Richards at No. 5 and as it turned out, he made a splendid century (105 off 149 balls in 227 minutes, 13 fours, 2 sixes). He is also a sound wicketkeeper. At the moment he is carrying a groin injury.

HOLDER: In the spin department, a couple young left-armers in Camarie Boyce and Joshua Bishop, as well as “leggie” Javed Leacock, all picked up five-wicket innings hauls in either the Legends Cup or the practice match. How refreshing have you found their performances bearing in mind that Test player Jomel Warrican picks himself as a left-arm spinner?

BROOMES: I think Barbados has been fortunate in the left-arm spinning department. It is well stocked. Remember that Boyce has played one first-class match against the Leeward Islands in 2020 in St. Kitts and he got a five-for in the first innings. Bishop has been part of the Barbados white-ball team in the regional one-day Tournament in the last three years and has not let us down.

Leacock is another blessing as a wrist spinner and he showed it with his performances in the trials as well. He was impressive.

I would go as far as to suggest that once Leacock continues his improvement, it will be very difficult to keep him out from vying for a place in the Barbados team in the near future.

When we looked at the balance in the spin department, we have two off-spinners in the experienced Ashley Nurse and Chaim Holder, who we think is a worthy contender.

HOLDER: It is no secret that you also have quite a number of gifted fast bowlers battling for places. What is your take on the contenders?

BROOMES: The fast bowling department, as far I am concerned is the most exciting. When we looked at Kemar Roach, who heads that list and then we have Jason Holder, Chemar Holder, Keon Harding, Dominic Drakes, Akeem Jordan and the exciting, uncapped duo of Jair McAllister and Ramon Simmonds, plus Shamar Springer who is coming back into his own, it’s really amazing.

We also have a very strong batting line-up. It underlines comments, which are being made that Barbados cricket is in a good place.

Keith Holder is a veteran, award-winning freelance sports journalist, who has been covering local, regional and International cricket since 1980 as a writer and commentator. He has compiled statistics on the Barbados Cricket Association (BCA) Division 1 (rebranded Elite in 2012) Championship for four decades and provides statistics and stories for the BCA website (www.barbadoscricket.org). Email: Keithfholder@gmail.com