Taylor used to be the West Indies lethal opening bowler
West Indian fast bowler Jerome Taylor, who was left out of the England tour due to fitness concerns, has lashed out at West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) chief executive Ernest Hiliare over allegations that relate to his rehabilitation program.
Hiliare, has accused Taylor of neglecting his rehabilitation programmes over the past two years, which was supposed to help quicken his recovery after getting injured.
The WICB chief executive also questioned whether Taylor was really committed to the future of West Indies cricket, stating that Taylor had been very difficult to deal with during the last two years.
Speaking exclusively to ESPNcricinfo in his home town of Jamaica, Taylor declared that no one else had ever questioned his commitment, and also said that he was “disgruntled” at the WICB for enforcing demands on him which applied to none of the other West Indian cricketers, which he noted has stalled his international comeback for his country.
However, Hiliare, who spoke exclusively to Sky TV was very critical of Taylor’s attitude towards the WICB medical programme, and said: “I know, for example, Jerome was on contract, he was injured, he was put on a programme, 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.”
Hiliare, also noted that there was only so much the WICB could do to help Taylor speed up his recovery and get him representing his country once again.
“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,” Hiliare said.
But, Taylor insists that he has no idea what Hiliare is talking about.
“I have no idea what Mr Hilaire is actually saying, 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,” Taylor said.
Taylor, claims that his back is fully recovered, thanks to strength training, acupuncture and deep tissue massage, which he did while in the USA.
“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.
The pace bowler also stated that no one from the WICB has been in contact with him for a while now.
“Nobody from the WICB has been in contact with me recently. The only person I have been in touch with was the JCA president,” he said.
Taylor, last played for the West Indies in mid-2010 against South Africa, during which he developed a chronic spine injury which has kept him on the sidelines ever since.
Being an attacking fast bowler, Taylor’s best bowling performance came against England, where he cut through the batting lineup to reduce them to a total of just 51 runs, which resulted in the West Indies winning by an innings.
Since that famous victory in February of 2009, the West Indies have only managed to win two Test matches.
About a year ago, the WICB removed Taylor from the ODI roster, and the national selectors believed that Taylor should compete in an entire season of domestic cricket before they would consider putting his name back on the roster.
During that time, the WICB released a statement which said: “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.”
West Indian fast bowling legend Michael Holding, announced that the conditions which the WICB have placed on Taylor were unfair.
“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 said.
According to Taylor, he is currently working at St Elizabeth Technical School with his senior coach, and claims he has made a full recovery from his back injury.
“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, also stated that he would have no problems making a comeback, but didn’t understand why he had to pass a whole range of fitness standards before being considered 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,” he said.
Taylor, also said that he had sent a letter on June 30 last year to Tony Howard, the WICB manager in order to seek “some clarification as to my eligibility for selection to the West Indies cricket team.”
However, even though Taylor received a call from the cricket board saying that the national selectors would like to meet him, he was still wondering why no one was replying to him in writing.
Taylor, who is currently 27, has not ruled out his chances for returning to the international stage, but he did mention that he and the WICB would need to talk about the current situation.
“What is happening now is not in my control, 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,” Taylor said.
But, Taylor is refusing to play the waiting game for much longer, and stated that he would move on if it came down to that.
“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,” he said.