West Indies legend Desmond Haynes believes Kieron Pollard needs time in his new role as limited-overs captain, writes Will Cracknell.
The former opener, 63, who scored 35 centuries in 166 test matches, feels Pollard should be given a chance before conclusions are drawn about the success of his appointment.
West Indies are currently 1-0 up in a three-match T20 series against Afghanistan, before heading to India in December.
Haynes said: “I think it’s unfair to knock someone before you know what sort of role they’re going to play.
“I know Kieron as a T20 captain from the early years at the Barbados Tridents. I know his ability as a leader of men.
“He’ll be a very good T20 captain, but we need to give him some time in the 50 over format to see how well he performs and how well he looks after the guys.”
Haynes is pleased with Pollard’s return to the international scene after a three-year absence.
He said: “The goal is to get these guys wanting to play cricket for the West Indies and if they show they are dedicated then I think it is good to welcome them back.”
West Indies, ranked eighth in the ICC test rankings, will play a one-off fixture against Afghanistan before not returning to the five-day format until taking on England at The Oval in June.
And Haynes is optimistic about the prospect of progressing up the rankings after the re-appointment of Phil Simmons as head coach.
He said: “I believe we have a good young crop of cricketers who with the right guidance can really make us proud.
“If you look at world cricket today – apart from India, who are exceptional – all the others teams are at that rebuilding stage, on a par with each other.
“That gives me hope for West Indies Cricket that we can come back.”
Haynes spoke of the delight he took in fellow-Barbadian Jofra Archer’s magnificent performances for England over the summer.
He explained: “If I was a young Jofra Archer getting the opportunity to play cricket for England I would have taken it, hands down.
“Jofra is a unique talent. Barbadians wish him well.
“We get used to the idea that there are going to be some Barbadians who are going to play for England – Ricky Ellcock, Roland Butcher, Gladstone Small – so Jofra is just joining that list of guys.”
Elsewhere in international cricket, Haynes had little sympathy for Bangladesh captain Shakib Al-Hasan, who was banned from cricket for two years, with one year suspended, after breaching the sport’s anti-corruption code.
Haynes said: “We’re living in a different world now. Some people try to pretend they’re your friends only because they want to win your confidence.
“But for a seasoned campaigner – every tour you’ve been to, you get the lecture. If someone approaches you, you must report it.
“I always say to my friends: ‘If you play and do well you stand a chance to make some good money. Don’t mess it up by being tempted into anything like that.’”
Closer to home, Haynes believes the lack of opportunity for England players to represent their counties has contributed to a devaluing of the county game.
He explained: “I always felt county cricket was on a very steep slope.
“Once you start talking about ‘Team England’ and you’re not giving the England guys the chance to come back and play for the county, you lose that membership drive. Then the counties don’t have the boost of test cricketers.
“Now you’re having another one-day competition which again is not in line with the counties. So I agree it doesn’t look good for country cricket.
“I think you need country cricket to have some form where you can test whether a player is ready for the highest level.”
The Barbados cricket legends were at World Travel Market with Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc., promoting travel to Barbados to enjoy its rich cricket heritage.
That heritage includes the famous Kensington Oval which will host the West Indies vs England test match in January and ODI cricket in February, and Sir Garfield Sobers’ International Schools Cricket Tournament in Barbados in July 2020. For more information visit www.visitbarbados.org.