West Indies news

I am fully committed - Jerome Taylor

Nagraj Gollapudi

May 27, 2012

Comments: 70 | Text size: A | A

Matt Prior is bowled by Jerome Taylor, West Indies v England, first Test, Sabina Park, Kingston, February 7, 2009
Jerome Taylor's finest hour came against England at Sabina Park Jewel Samad / © AFP
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Jerome Taylor, the West Indies fast bowler who has been overlooked on fitness grounds for the tour of England, has hit back at allegations by the WICB chief executive Ernest Hiliare that he has failed to commit to rehabilitation programmes put in place in the past two years to quicken his return to the Test side.

Hilaire questioned Taylor's commitment as a professional cricketer during a visit to the first Test at Lord's, saying he was very "difficult" to deal with during the various rehabilitation progammes in the last two years.

But Taylor has told ESPNcricinfo that on his home island of Jamaica nobody had ever seen fit to question his commitment and that he was "disgruntled" at the West Indies board's policy of making demands on him that applied to no other players and that these demands had stalled his comeback to international cricket.

Hilaire was critical of Taylor's indifference towards the WICB medical programmes on Sky TV. "I know, for example, Jerome was on contract, he was injured, he was put on a programme," he said. "It was exceedingly difficult to get him to commit to the programme and to apply himself, to even get him to go to Kingston to get his medical check-ups and to do what had to be done.

"He was in that programme supervised by Jimmy Adams. And there were a lot of difficulties with Jerome. He came back, got injured again, and he was put on another programme. And he was asked to play an entire series of the first-class season to demonstrate that he was fit.

"He took a break, went to Jamaica to a funeral came back and got injured. He was put on a programme. Next thing we heard he was in the IPL. Since then he has not played for Jamaica nor has he played in the IPL this year. There is only so much you can do. You have a player, you are providing for him to be on the medical programme, you are providing for him to be in that rehabilitation programme and he doesn't commit himself to it as a professional."

Taylor, who has had differences with the board over communication about his injury, dismissed Hiliaire's remarks. "I have no idea what Mr Hilaire is actually saying," he said. "Basically I do not know where he is getting his information from. As far as commitment is concerned towards cricket I don't think my efforts can ever be questioned. If you ask anybody in Jamaica, where I have played my cricket, they will tell you I am somebody who has always shown commitment towards cricket and my development."

He also said he has completely recovered from the back injury, having travelled to the USA where a combination of strength training, acupuncture and deep tissue massage were part of his recovery process.

"Everything is feeling all right. I am just going through the paces, taking my time not to rush back to anything but also making sure no stone is left uncovered," he said. According to Taylor, the WICB has not been in touch for the past 18 months except for speaking recently with the Jamaica Cricket Association president: "Nobody from the WICB has been in contact with me recently. The only person I have been in touch with was the JCA president."

Letter sent by Jerome Taylor to the WICB on June 30, 2011

  • Dear Mr. Howard,

  • I am seeking some clarification as to my eligibility for selection to the West Indies cricket team. Since I have received no official word from the WICB and have only seen what is written in the press, I am writing to you as Director of Cricket to see if you can shed some light on the situation for me.

  • I refer to the WICB press release dated May 29th 2011 which was made available to the press at the same time that the squads for the Digicel Pearls T20 and the first two ODI's were announced. The selection notes at the foot of the release, note number five in fact, states that the selectors are of the view that I am required to play a full season of regional cricket in order to prove my fitness to perform adequately at the international level before I can be considered for selection. As it stands it appears that I will not be qualified to play for the West Indies for the rest of 2011 as there is no domestic cricket scheduled before the international commitments for the year are over.

  • I am a bit confused as to exactly why that is so as I played in the last regional tournament representing Jamaica until missing the last game through injury. There was no domestic cricket being played after my recovery but I have played other cricket and proved my fitness so I am asking for some clarification as to the policy of the West Indies Cricket Board regarding players returning from injury as it doesn't seem as if the same thing applies to all players in the same situation.

    I look forward to your early response.

  • Yours respectfully,

  • Jerome Taylor.

Taylor last played for West Indies in the home ODI series against South Africa in mid-2010 but a chronic spine injury resurfaced to sideline him once again. He did go on to play the IPL in 2011 season for Pune Warrirors but back spasms ended his chances of a quick comeback to the international fold.

An attacking fast bowler, Taylor's best spell came ironically against England in the first week of February in 2009 when he cut through the England batting order in the second innings in Jamaica with extreme pace and swing to roll out the visitors for 51, setting up a famous innings victory. West Indies have managed to secure just two Test victories since that success.

A year ago, the WICB excluded Taylor from their limited-overs squads against India and announced that the selectors wanted him to prove his fitness during the first-class competition and then fulfill an entire season of four-day cricket to be eligible for a return to Test cricket.

"The selection committee is of the view that Jerome Taylor is required to play a full season of regional cricket in order to prove his fitness to compete adequately at the international level before being considered for selection," the release said.

Michael Holding, the former West Indies fast bowler, argues that this stipulation was unfair to a youngster like Taylor. "I don't care if Jerome Taylor wasn't committed to the rehab program or if he even had a broken leg and couldn't play," he said. "I am dealing with the principle of dealing with a young man in his twenties and putting stipulations in place which will basically rule him out for at least 18 months and possibly more."

Holding also accused Hilaire of feigning ignorance about Taylor playing the IPL as it was mandatory for any player to get an No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the home board. "He had to get that from the WICB. Is there some other phantom WICB that gave him the NOC?" he said.

According to Taylor he is "currently" not injured and is working in his native St Elizabeth in Jamaica, training at the St Elizabeth Technical School with the senior coach there. "I am not injured. I am working hard on my fitness along with the coach and we are making sure everything is sorted in due time," he said.

Taylor said making a comeback will not be difficult, but that he failed to understand why only he has been asked to pass stringent, long-term fitness standards before being reconsidered for selection.

"I have never seen any other player who has to play a full season, which to me I think is unfair," he said. "That is the only thing that has me disgruntled somewhat because if you are going to have to some criteria for returning to cricket, then let it be the criteria for all and not only for me. To me it is unclear why I have to play a full season. It makes no sense."

Taylor sent a letter (see sidebar) on June 30 last year to Tony Howard, the WICB cricket manager, "seeking some clarification as to my eligibility for selection to the West Indies cricket team." Though he got a call from a WICB official, who said the board would like Taylor to meet the national selectors, Taylor's response was why no on would reply to him in writing.

Taylor, 27, has not ruled out taking the new ball for West Indies again. But for that to happen both him and WICB have to sit down and talk. He added he was certain what exactly he needed to do to get back in favour with the WICB.

"What is happening now is not in my control," he said. "Since I have to play a full season for the comeback and if that is the criteria I have no grouse about it and I wouldn't want to get into a quarrel or argument with anyone. The only thing I can do is to make sure I do what I have to do, make sure that I get myself in a position where I am ready when they are ready to pick me."

At the same time Taylor, whose contract was bought out by Pune Warriors for the fifth IPL season, does not just want to sit idle."I am not going to sit around and wait, just carry on with life serenely. I want to play some cricket. Cricket is happening around the world."

If West Indies are not interested, perhaps the life of a Twenty20 itinerant awaits.

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

RSS Feeds: Nagraj Gollapudi

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Mayfield on (May 30, 2012, 15:19 GMT)

Headline: WI WERE LOSING BEFORE GIBSON TOOK THE POSITION. What would you do if you took the reins of an organization and your two top employees refused to sign on the dotted line? What would you do if the org. was in a failing mode for years? How would you turn it around? How would you change the losing mindset and culture of the org? Would you keep the same staff or would you have to make drastic changes? Many on this board, who are voicing their biases, and not thier rational thinking, would respond to these challenges in the same manner as I or anyone else who understands what it takes to turn around a failing org. The captain and vc(gayle + bravo) refused to sign CCs. What a message to send to the younger players. By all accounts, the senior players, were not showing the professionalism that was required. Another good message to send to the youn players. So you want to blame the decline on Gibson. Some of you should be given the job and let's see what you would do to change it.

Posted by Rally_Windies on (May 29, 2012, 17:58 GMT)

Prashanth12

I'm sure the team you just selected would have be leading England 2-0 ....

You could also include Doenarine and Rampaul in your squad of 13...

when conditions do not favour spin, drop Narine and Barath ...

Make Chanderpaul open with Gayle (chanders averages 60 opening) and play doenarine and Samuels at 5&6 , with Sammy, Taylor, Rampaul and Roach ...

both Taylor and Sammy have Test 100's and can bat.. and if the over rate is to slow, both Samuels and Doenarine can operate, resting the quicks for short quick burst while still taking wickets... (Shillingfrod can dry up runs when he is bowling well, but is not a wicket taking option. and when he is bowling badly, he leaks runs and still can't get wickets, for the life of me I can't figure out, why with Doenarine and Samuels in the middle order why the WICB went with Shilly over Miller, I thought the left arm spinner would have been the better option)

Posted by essky on (May 29, 2012, 16:15 GMT)

@Mayfield agreed except for bashing the board, this board needs revamping, no doubt about it. In fact WI cricket needs revamping, in the meantime we need to make best use of what we have and we are not doing that at the moment. Too many egos in the mix, both sides, but ppl want to see good players playing good cricket, not the West Indies B, because all we are doing at the moment is proving that commitment and discipline can only take us so far, talent is needed, and all the Top teams now are calling for 2nd tier test cricket. Who doubts that they would be all too eager to put West Indies there as punishment for embarrassing them for so many years.

Posted by essky on (May 29, 2012, 16:05 GMT)

Ok, the point is made, anyone who isn't willing to shape up , even the seniors, will have to ship out. Now the time is right, actually after Australia was the best time, but now is still not too late. if the Coach, Board whoever continues this show of power, WI will suffer, the players and the people who love the game. If we wait to long to bring back the experienced, stronger players, then it will reach the point of desperation, and they will come back with too much power, where they call the shots because the team needs them, and we end up in the same old boat. I'm sure all WI players, in fact the whole world knows, discipline and commitment to maintain ones place. but you can't be wrong and strong, or you won't stay strong for too long. Bring them back and we might even win with Sammy as captain, with his poor tactical acumen.

Posted by Prashanth12 on (May 29, 2012, 9:09 GMT)

My playingXI for west indies is Gayle,Bharath,Sarwan,Darren Bravo,Chanderpaul,Samuels,Ramdin,Sammy,Taylor,Roach,Narine 12thman Dawyne Bravo

Posted by Mayfield on (May 29, 2012, 0:23 GMT)

Keep blaming the board, Gison, Sammy and anyone else that you want to blame. Folks are acting like if with the players thay are calling for the WI were world beaters. Far from such. If this was the case, no one could put forth an argument. But we all know better. If these players would have put forth the effort Sammy put forth with his talent(which is no where close to Gayle, Sarwan, Bravo and Taylor), WI would not be in the predicament that they are in and have been in for god knows how long. Nothing is always one sided, both sides share the blame. STOP BASHING THE BOARD

Posted by PassingThrough on (May 28, 2012, 22:14 GMT)

@SirViv1973

I agree with you in your entire comment...

Posted by SirViv1973 on (May 28, 2012, 21:56 GMT)

@kerron Moore Dwayne Smith his already made his test debut & made an outstanding run a ball hundred, the problem was what came after, he played 9 more tests and didn't reach 50 once! and as for all the players you mentioned none of them are being kept out the side by Sammy. Sammy's current role in the team is as a the 3rd seamer & none of the guys you mentioned could feel that role. Its easy to criticize this guy but together with the coach they have made WI a more competive outfit & managed to instill some pride. To me the bigger problem is WI just don't have a keeper who can bat. if they had someone who could bat at 6 and aver in the mid 30's then Sammy could bat at 7 & that we free up a space for a genuine extra seamer. However I would say at present Sammy could actually bat at 6 himself apart from SC & MS he has scored more runs in this series than any other WI batsmen & if he keeps working on his batting & gets his aver up over 30 then perhaps this could his role in the team.

Posted by SirViv1973 on (May 28, 2012, 20:18 GMT)

Having watched plenty of the current series there are some seriously positive signs for WI cricket. The team has been far more competitive than what Ind were last summer for instance if Ind were in WI position on the first day of 136 -6 they would have been rolled for less than 200 & lost by an inns. Gibson and Sammy have installed some pride & fighting spirit but the truth is they are 3 to 4 good players short of being a good side who can win test matches against the better teams. They are certainly short of a bowler Taylor at his best could fill that void, If Gayle and Sarwan could also be added to the batting then perhaps plucky performances could finally be turned in to test match wins. These seniors players need to be offered the chance to buy in to what OG & have started. If they do prove to be too difficult to work with this time round then the board will need to move on without them & this will remain at best a competitive outfit short of top quality players

Posted by PassingThrough on (May 28, 2012, 19:35 GMT)

@blackie,

Just want to put your comment on Jerome Taylor into greater perspective, believe me I am not a Taylor fan but he was one of the Windies more incisive quicker bowlers until I think a bit of indiscipline was his down fall. But you match his stats against the Captain Sammy who has taken 69 wickets in 47 innings at 32, what therefore makes him a shoe in as the Windies third seamer, please explain. He takes a wicket every 16 overs, so he will get wickets but after a long bowl, it has been proven that our more incisive bowlers are those who have control as well as pace roach, rampaul and edwards in fact history has indicated that this has always been so. I tend to agree with Holding, the Windies need better man management..

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