Since the start of 2000, the West Indies have used 28 players in 14 Tests a staggering statistic however you look at it.

It's been due to a combination of reasons: the retirement of a stalwart, a player who came out of retirement, a suspension and spate of injuries on the last three overseas tours.

But the principal factor has to be selectors' preference to chop and change in their search to build a winning team. Their efforts have proved futile to this point.

The chopping and changing has not been limited to the past 12 months. It has been going on for a little while, probably dating back to 1997 to coincide with the start of the West Indies' wretched overseas record of 23 defeats in their last 27 matches.

Here are a few examples:

Daren Ganga was picked as a 19-year-old for the 1998-99 tour of South Africa. Since then, he was dropped for the 1999 home series against Australia; picked for the 1999 Christmas trip to New Zealand; dropped for the 2000 home series against Zimbabwe and Pakistan; reportedly picked for the 2000 summer tour of England only to give way when a star player made himself available at the last hour; picked for the 2000-01 tour of Australia; dropped for the 2001 home series against South Africa; picked for the three brief successive tours of Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka and Sharjah; and dropped for the current series.

On the evidence of the trends, he is certain to be back, most likely for overseas tours of India and Bangladesh later this year.

Ramnaresh Sarwan, our most promising young batsman, has passed 50 ten times in 18 matches. Yet, he has been dropped three times.

Another young batsman, Wavell Hinds, has a century and seven half-centuries in 20 Tests. He too has been dropped three times.

Mervyn Dillon, who started his career so promisingly when the Indians were here five years ago, was dropped four times in his first eight Tests, Only since the retirement of Curtly Ambrose has he commanded a settled place in the team.

Marlon Black has played five Tests. He, too, has been dropped three times.

Mahendra Nagamootoo had played two Tests before yesterday and dropped after each.

Neil McGarell has played four Tests and been dropped twice.

The selectors have had their reasons for dropping these players. Put it down to lack of performance. When Player 'A' fails, we call Player 'B'. When Player 'B' fails, we go back to player 'A'. When Player 'A' fails again, we again opt to Player 'B'.

And the pattern goes on and on. Are we playing musical chairs or what?

My mind goes to last season when Ezra Stuart, the then CMC cricket reporter, asked captain Carl Hooper if he and his fellow selectors had considered players like Stuart Williams, Junior Murray and Wilden Cornwall during the One-Day International series against South Africa?

Stuart Williams and Cornwall and everybody, believe me, they have been mentioned and discussed at length, but they [the selectors] seem to think maybe it is time to give some of the younger players a chance in an extended run, Hooper responded.

Some might say those words are not reflected the actions of the panel.

Less than a year later, Williams and Murray are recalled after three years in the wilderness after their phenomenal form in the Busta Series.

I am not in favour of Williams' resurrection, but having brought him back, the selectors must be prepared to give him a run. Already, many are saying that if he does not produce in the first two Tests, he should be promptly discarded again. But it has been that kind of thinking that has led to wholesale changes in the past and it is about time it is stopped.

In our everyday jobs, if we were to be formally assessed over a two-week period, many of us could be found wanting. If however, that appraisal took place after six months, in that time we might be able to show a certain degree of competency. The same might apply to professional cricketers.

Our selectors have not been prepared to give our players maximum exposure. In light of depressing results, they have responded by making the changes.

They can't say they have not used our resources, but how they have used them might be part of the problem. No player will feel comfortable if he knows he is going to be discarded after two or three modest performances.

I detect a level of desperation among the selectors, who have stressed that it is important that we start this series of a good footing. Hence, they have gone for the form players.

If the results continue to be same, will they then turn to someone like Robert Samuels or even Carlisle Best, whose prolific form has won him successive Man-Of-The-Match awards in the quarter-final, semifinal and final in the local Masters (Over-40s) competition.