They join the likes of former captains Daren Sammy and Dwayne Bravo in being ignored by Courtney Browne and the West Indies Cricket Board’s selection committee.
Pollard and Ramdin have ostensibly been dropped due to their poor returns in the recently concluded limited-overs series against Pakistan, which West Indies lost 0-3. Pollard scored 42 runs at a 14.00 average, and took one wicket in 12 overs. Ramdin, who was recalled to the ODI squad, had 79 runs at 26.33.
Those figures tell but part of the tale. For one thing, the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) sacked former head coach Phil Simmons the very day the team left for the United Arab Emirates to face Pakistan, with resultant reports emerging of turmoil and a patent lack of leadership in the camp.
During Simmons’ last ODI series in charge, the home tri-series against Australia and South Africa, Pollard was the West Indies’ second most consistent batsman. He hit 205 runs at an average of 41.00, with two half centuries. Ramdin made 197 runs at 28.14 per innings, with a top score of 91.
Carlos Brathwaite, who was recently handed the West Indies T20 captaincy, made just 86 runs at an average of 17.20, despite batting in all seven matches. Against Pakistan, Brathwaite made just 29 in two matches, averaging 14.50. Brathwaite, aged 28, was retained for the Zimbabwe tour.
Unfortunately, another batsman who struggled against Pakistan was Saint Lucia’s Johnson Charles. He played two of the three fixtures, made 20 in one and two in the other, to average 11 at the top of the innings, after having been one of the top batsmen against Australia and South Africa.
Even Daren Sammy, who spent most of his 12-year international career batting down the order, stands comparison with Brathwaite and players like Evin Lewis, who made 22 runs in his sole innings against Pakistan, or current West Indies ODI captain, Jason Holder, with 58 runs from three innings.
Sammy, the former ODI captain, last played for the regional side in March 2015, against New Zealand. In 126 ODI contests over the course of his career, batting at number eight or lower, the 32-year-old scored 1871 runs, at an average of 24.94, and took 81 wickets at an average of 47.54.
2015 was one of Sammy’s strongest years. He hit 284 runs in 11 matches, including a career-best 89 against Ireland, averaging 35.50 for that relatively brief period. It was his second best year in terms of average production, despite his relatively sedentary run rate of 93.92 runs per 100 balls faced.
In 2015, Tony Cozier (now deceased) wrote that “Cameron and Pybus need to answer for West Indies’ on-field problems,” referring to WICB president Dave Cameron and director of cricket Richard Pybus. Rather than following Mr Cozier’s advice, the Board has since doubled down on the deafening silence.
The Zimbabwe series will begin on 14 November with a match between the hosts and Sri Lanka. West Indies’ first match in the series will be against Sri Lanka on 16 November. The final will be played on 27 November. It will certainly be interesting to see how this demoralised unit fares.
WI ODI squad for Zimbabwe: Sulieman Benn, Carlos Brathwaite, Kraigg Brathwaite, Darren Bravo, Jonathan Carter, Johnson Charles, Shannon Gabriel, Jason Holder (capt), Shai Hope, Alzarri Joseph, Evin Lewis, Sunil Narine, Ashley Nurse, Rovman Powell, Marlon Samuels