Haynes questions Evin Lewis’ commitment to West Indies

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West Indies batsman Evin Lewis hits a six against Australia at the Darren Sammy Cricket Ground, Gros Islet, St Lucia, in 2021. FILE PHOTO –

LEAD selector of the West Indies men’s cricket team Desmond Haynes is questioning the commitment of West Indies batsman Evin Lewis after Lewis failed recently to complete a fitness test.

That led to his being overlooked for an upcoming series against Bangladesh.

The West Indies squads for the T20 and ODI series were announced by Cricket West Indies, on Tuesday. Lewis was not named in the squads.

The T20 series starts on Saturday at Windsor Park in Dominica, from 1.30 pm.

Speaking to journalists on Zoom on Wednesday, Haynes said arrangements were put in place for Lewis to complete a run to assess his fitness while he was playing in the 2022 Indian Premier League (IPL), which ended on May 29.

“I spoke to Evin probably a couple weeks ago, when it was reported to me that Evin was asked to do a fitness test in India with his IPL franchise (Lucknow Super Giants), and because of an injury it was suggested that he would do a 2K run,” Haynes said.

Haynes said the feedback he got from Lewis was not encouraging.

“When I reached out to him…I asked him (about) all the things that I have heard regarding the injury. He said, ‘Yes.’ I said, ‘You were asked to do a 2K?’ He said, ‘Yes.’ I said, “Did you do it?’ he said, ‘No.’ I said, ‘Did you not try to make arrangements to redo the test?’ He said, ‘No.’

“The vibes I got from him that he was not interested in doing it anyway. It is nothing I can do. I would really like a time…where we could just get an opportunity to pick all of these guys, but sometimes I am not too sure if these guys want to play.”

This is not the first time CWI has had an issue with Lewis’s fitness. In 2020, he was omitted from the ODI squad for the West Indies tour of Sri Lanka.

In May, Lewis was left out of the West Indies ODI tours of The Netherlands and Pakistan after failing another fitness test.

“Evin Lewis was not considered for selection after failing to meet CWI’s fitness criteria,” a CWI media release said.

West Indies toured The Netherlands from May 31-June 4 and Pakistan from June 8-12.

Lewis has a solid record for West Indies in ODIs and T20 Internationals. In 57 ODIs he has scored 1,847 runs at an average of 36.94 with four centuries and ten half centuries. In 50 T20 matches he has compiled 1,423 runs at an average of 30.93, including two centuries and ten fifties.

The last time he played an ODI for West Indies was in July 2021 and in T20 cricket his last outing was in November 2021.

Left-handed batsman Shimron Hetmyer is another player who has failed multiple fitness tests in recent years.

Haynes said for the Bangladesh T20 series and ODI series, Hetmyer was not overlooked because of fitness.

“I think Hetty is reported to be having some injury problems and we are hoping that he can work to get himself fit to get back into the colours of the West Indies.”

All-rounder Fabian Allen and left-arm pacer Sheldon Cottrell are also not in the T20 or ODI team for the Bangladesh matches.

Allen has requested leave and Cottrell is injured.

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