By Orin Davidson
Hetty is back.
Yes, swashbuckling West Indies batsman Shimron Hetmyer has passed the fitness he failed recently and is now eligible for selection for the Test series segment of the clash with Sri Lanka.
Cricket West Indies (CWI) Cricket Director Jimmy Adams took the opportunity to break the news following Monday’s media conference, staged to promote the series and which featured star batsman Chris Gayle.
Hetmyer’s passing grade was announced one day after team coach Phil Simmons disclosed Roston Chase’s qualification for Test election after meeting the fitness requirements last weekend.
Adams made the confirmation, which brings much needed relief to the two player’s fan base, especially Hetmyer’s, who were anguished after the attractive lefthander was deemed ineligible for the limited overs series. It was shortly after he smashed a quick -fire 114 to lead his native Guyana to victory over the Windward Islands in the CWI Super50 50 overs competition semifinals, on Thursday.
It is not clear when Hetmyer passed the yoyo test as Adams did not take questions following his announcement after Gayle’s interaction with the media.
The failure was Hetmyer’s second disqualification from West Indies selection for not meeting the fitness qualification as he was blanked when the team toured Sri Lanka early in 2020.
The new fitness requirement has generated a fair measure of controversy as exemptions are given to some players, who according to Adams, have physiological issues and are recovering from injury.
Rakeem Cornwall, is a case in point as the off spinner was chosen in the Test team for three recent series against England, New Zealand and Bangladesh despite weighing more than 300 pounds.
However, the off spinner was a success story in Bangladesh as he emerged as one of the team’s top bowlers in an upset 2-0 win over the home squad earlier this year.
Gayle, who has been the subject of attention by the fitness police as well, stated clearly he is quite fit and capable of doing lots of running. It is not clear when he was tested by the CWI, as officials have been mum on the issue, but from all appearances he achieved the required standard at a time when his younger teammates also comprising fast bowlers Oshane Thomas and Sheldon Cottrell, failed.
The 41-year-old self proclaimed “Universe Boss”, who prefers to hit boundaries than run singles, and who is the world’s most successful T20 batsman, said he is ready to roll for West Indies after a two-year absence.
“It’s a pleasure to be back, I always love to represent West Indies anytime, any place”, he stated.
Without hinting at imminent retirement, the hard hitting opening batsman attributed his longevity in the game to his mental strength. “Its a mind thing, when your mind is clear, you can do anything,” the fun loving Jamaican declared.
“I eat right, almost anything and am having a good time”, Gayle added.