Lovell Sets Record Straight
Former Guyana medium fast bowler Roderick Lovell called a media briefing at the Demerara Cricket Club yesterday to set the record straight on allegations that he lobbied for the exclusion from the Demerara 20/20 cricket team of four Georgetown cricketers and gave his account of what transpired at the selection meeting.
The 36-year-old, who played his two first-class matches in 1998, explained that his main reason for calling the media briefing was to respond to the allegations made by the Demerara Cricket Board (DCB) through newspaper reports.
The right-hander, who represents the Guyana Defence Force in local cricket, stressed that he went into the meeting to pick the best possible Demerara team but was forced to ask to be excused from the process because of the level of insularity being perpetrated by the other three selectors.
“If I had gone ahead with the policy of the acting Chairman Pretipaul Jaigobin the meeting would have lasted less than five minutes since all we would have had to do was sign to a list of players that had already been selected,” Lovell explained.
The all-rounder said he felt that since their were no trial matches, about 20 players would have been named from which the final 14 would have been selected but said that Jaigobin already had his list of the team and standby players. He denied the accusations that he lobbied for the exclusion of four City players adding that while he is the Georgetown representative on the DCB he is not politically associated with the Georgetown Cricket Association (GCA).
“My job is to help pick the best possible Demerara team. I don’t get involved in the cricket politics. I found it strange that Jaigobin and the West Demerara representative (Krisenchand Mangal) were selectors even though they were DCB executives who had very little practical knowledge of cricket, even at the County level,” Lovell informed.
East Coast’s Latchman Yadram was the other Demerara selector and Lovell feels that the DCB has breached the unwritten code of confidentiality about what goes on at a selection meeting by claiming that he lobbied against four city players and calling names.
“I said at the meeting that I felt some of our talented young players are not best suited for 20/20 cricket at this point in their careers and should be educated about the different levels and styles of cricket if they hoped to develop their art. If we continue to expose our youngsters to 20/20 cricket too early we will lose them in a few years time because their real cricketing skills will not have developed,” Lovell opined.
This is already happening to off-spinner Zaheer Mohamed who only last year was one of the better spinners and flighters of the ball in the region while fans are fearful that the constant exposure to 20/20 cricket could affect Veerasammy Permaul’s ability to be destructive at the first-class level. Lovell said he questioned the selection of wicketkeeper Maxwell Fraser, who had a poor game in the final at Providence, but the three other selectors all claimed he was the best wicketkeeper in Demerara.
“When I asked why National 20/20 Keeper Derwin Christian’s name was not even mentioned I was told by the West Demerara representative (Mr. Mangal) that the DCC Keeper had gotten away when the Guyana team recently toured Canada. I then asked how come he was selected in the Guyana team for last month’s regional one-day competition and was never disciplined by the Guyana Board,” Lovell continued.
“I then asked if no Christian. why then no Joseph Perry who played for Demerara in the 50-overs competition. I was then told that if I could not agree with their names we would go to a vote. It was at this point that I asked to be excused since if three people were against my views voting would only be a waste of time and I was not needed since I would not sign to a team I did not agree with,” Lovell stated.
What influenced Lovell to leave the meeting was the fact that in defending the Selection of Ravi Sarwan ahead of Orin Forde, Jaigobin said Sarwan could also bowl leg-spin.
“When I asked where Sarwan would bat if he played I was told at number seven. I then said that usually the number seven would go in with a few overs remaining and would need to go after the bowling. I felt Forde was better suited in that role but when Jaigobin said that Sarwan could bowl leg-spin I was shocked since everyone who watches cricket and knows the game should be aware that Sarwan bowls off-spin. When you have people without a practical knowledge of cricket you end up in situations like these,” Lovell said.
“I also queried about Gajanand Singh’s eligibility and was told that he had met all the requirements to play for Demerara because he was playing for New Aqua Line Farm in West Demerara. I was never told about the guest player rule. I don’t think Demerara needs to use a guest player since there are lots of talented players in Demerara who could make the team,” Lovell added.
Lovell said that he is not pleased with the unprofessional manner in which the DCB President is operating. “The President’s role should be to contact the person involved if there are perceived problems with the selection of a team instead of listening to others and making public statements when he was not present at the meeting,” Lovell lamented.
“I think we need to change the DCB constitution which says that a representative on the selection panel should come from each area since I feel that the best four people should be used as selectors regardless where they are from since in the end it’s the best Demerara team they should be interested in selecting,” said Lovell, who said he is still available to be a Demerara selector at any time.
Most of the players in Georgetown and also in other parts of the country are in total disagreement with the DCB’s policy of having Jaigobin, who watches cricket as an ordinary fan and does not have a practical knowledge of the game, head its selection panel and the DCB’s disregard of players who have played at the inter county level or higher as members on their panel.
Several cricketers in the City are now planning their next move if the DCB continue to appoint selectors from among their executive who don’t have a clue about the technical knowledge of the game.
Persons who are involved in cricket in both the East Coast and West Demerara areas told Kaieteur Sports that their support of candidates for the upcoming DCB elections could now change because of the manner in which the DCB seems to be hijacking the selection process by appointing their executives who are not equipped for the job.
For those who have had the honour of representing their county at cricket, the new policy by this DCB of having non-cricketer-executives as selectors is heartbreaking, and if allowed to continue could destroy cricket in Demerara and ultimately in Guyana.