“Hetmyer the Test opener” not initial plan when squad was selected
– says Lead Selector Roger Harper
By Brandon Corlette
John Campbell and Kraigg Brathwaite are considered the two best Test openers in the Caribbean, and they are the lone specialist openers in the Test squad selected to play New Zealand in the two Test matches.
It has been made clear that Guyana’s Shimron Hetmyer has been selected in the Test squad to boost the West Indies’ middle-order. Lead selector Roger Harper said on Wednesday in a virtual press conference that Hetmyer opening the batting in Test has not been considered at all.
However, while responding to a question posed by this daily publication, Harper discreetly said ‘things’ can change, and depending on the circumstances, Hetmyer opening the batting could be considered as time passes.
In recent press conferences, Harper has said the talented Hetmyer has the ability to become one of the best batsmen in the world, but
after 16 Test matches and 30 innings for the West Indies, Hetmyer is yet to score a Test century.
Despite his poor showing in the longer formats, Hetmyer has shown skill and ability on different occasions wherever he plays. However, consistency has been his issue, as it has been for many other Caribbean batting talents.
During his virtual media interaction after the squad was announced, Harper disclosed that he personally believes Hetmyer has the ability to be one of the best batsmen in the world, even in Test cricket.
“I would like to think that, having missed the England tour, he (Hetmyer) is hungry to get back, and (is) anxious to show what a quality player he is in all formats of the game, especially in Test cricket.
“I personally feel that Hetmyer has the ability to be one of the best batsmen in the world, in Test cricket as well. As he gets to understand the rhythm of Test cricket and the approach needed, he would show that, and help the team to build big totals,” Harper predicted in a recent press conference.
With West Indies’ batting to be under the microscope again, Harper posited that the return of Hetmyer would bolster the team. Harper is expecting Hetmyer to give the squad more options in the middle order, and embrace the opportunity to show what a good player he is.
Hetmyer’s familiar role in Test cricket sees him batting at number six, but Jermaine Blackwood has made that spot his own, with good returns in England. Darren Bravo may follow after the openers, Campbell and Brathwaite, while Shamarh Brooks, who showed great promise, is expected to keep his number four spot in the batting order.
Vice-captain Roston Chase is the number five batsman, and he is followed by Jermaine Blackwood at six. Jason Holder and Shane Dowrich will complete the numbers seven and eight spots in the batting line-up, followed by the bowlers.
The 23-year-old Hetmyer, who played his last Test match in November 2019, opted out of the Test tour to England because of COVID-19 concerns. For now, it is safe to say that the Hetmyer experience at the top of the order will not come to light, but only time will tell whether or not Hetmyer the opener will be a surprise in the upcoming Test series.