Wed | Jan 20, 2021

‘Hetmyer can be the best in the world’ - Harper issues charge to WI batsman ahead of NZ tour

Published:Thursday | October 22, 2020 | 2:27 PM

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, (CMC):

Convenor of selectors Roger Harper believes Shimron Hetmyer has the potential to be world-class and has urged him to make up for the missed tour of England by scoring heavily in the upcoming New Zealand series.

The left-hander was recently selected for the two-Test tour of New Zealand in December, returning to the squad after declining selection for last July’s three-Test series against England due to concerns over the raging COVID-19 pandemic.

“I would like to think that having missed the tour [of England], he’s hungry to get back and anxious to show what a quality player he is in all formats of the game, especially in Test cricket,” Harper said.

“I personally think 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, I think he’ll show that; so this is an opportunity for him to showcase his skill and talent, and help the team to build big totals.”

The 23-year-old Hetmyer averages nearly 28 from 16 Tests since making his debut three years ago, and has managed just five half-centuries, with a highest score of 93.

Both he and fellow left-hander Darren Bravo opted out of the England tour and were sorely missed, as West Indies’ batting struggled badly – especially in the last two Tests – resulting in a 2-1 series defeat.

Meanwhile, Harper confirmed that aggressive left-hander Nicholas Pooran came under serious consideration for the Test series, despite having only played international white-ball cricket.

The 25-year-old also played the last of his three first-class matches six years ago, but his excellent white-ball form has triggered calls for his selection to the Test unit.

Pooran averages 49 from 25 One-Day Internationals and while several pundits have urged his selection on this basis, Harper said selectors had opted to monitor the Trinidadian’s development, especially on the four-day games on the New Zealand tour.

“There was a lot of consideration given to Nicholas Pooran, and we’re still looking at it,” Harper explained.

“But as we go forward, I’m sure Pooran will have opportunities … but we thought this was the best way to go.

“Nicholas will have an opportunity to play those four-day games, and we’ll have an opportunity to see him in [those] and then we’ll decide.

“There’s no absolute rule that he has to [play four-day cricket before Test selection], but this is the decision that the panel made.”

Pooran will feature in the three Twenty20 Internationals, which form part of the New Zealand tour which runs from November 27 to December 15.