Benn, Sammy in line for enhanced central contracts
Left-arm spinner Sulieman Benn and allrounder Darren Sammy are in line to receive enhanced central retainer contracts for 2010-11, Cricinfo has learnt. The contracts are up for renewal next month - 15 players will benefit, as opposed to the current 14 - and the review process underway has identified Benn and Sammy as the two who have improved over the previous season.
Sammy holds a category B contract while Benn holds a C. The WICB Cricket and Selection Committees met recently to review the performances of all the players on WICB retainer contracts and it is understood these two are the only players with improved performances, though the board's decision will not be based on on-field performance alone.
Sammy has had an impressive 2010 mainly in Twenty20 cricket, with a five-for against Zimbabwe, an average of 14.95 at a relatively tidy economy rate of 6.24. He's averaged 39.25 in ODIs this year, the highlight being a brutal, unbeaten 58 against South Africa in Antigua where he belted two fours and six sixes in a 24-ball knock. His improvement, compared to 2009, especially in ODIs, has been significant. He averaged 70 with the ball last year and 24.62 with the bat.
Benn has had his share of disciplinary problems this season, requiring the match referee's intervention during the tour of Australia last year and the home Test series against South Africa this year. But he's been one of West Indies' more consistent performers in the same period. He grabbed 15 wickets in the three-Test series against South Africa, including two hauls of five wickets or more in an innings, and has developed as one of West Indies' main strike bowlers. In 2009, he played nine Tests averaging 41.37 as opposed to 30.66 in three Tests this year.
The WICB said it is in the process of finalising the selection criteria - to be made public - that would be part of a policy document intended serve as a guideline for picking West Indies teams in the future. Ten other players will be offered developmental contracts for the same period.
The players on WICB retainer central contracts for 2009-10 are: Dwayne Bravo, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Chris Gayle, Ramnaresh Sarwan. Denesh Ramdin, Darren Sammy, Jerome Taylor, Sulieman Benn, Dave Bernard, Narsingh Deonarine, Travis Dowlin, Brendan Nash, Ravi Rampaul, Kemar Roach.