ST JOHN’S, Antigua, CMC – Cricket West Indies’ new selection panel says it has reached out to several previously marginalised senior players, including retired all-rounder Dwayne Bravo, and is hoping to have them available for future selection.
This comes as CWI looks to revamp is selection policy, with the aim of keeping the process free of outside interference and ultimately selecting the strongest squads possible for international assignments.
Speaking at a media conference here this week, newly-appointed interim chairman of selectors, Robert Haynes, said contact had already been made with the likes of Bravo and Pollard, with the players indicating their desire to represent the Caribbean side.
“Between the coach (Floyd Reifer) and I, we’ve been talking to a lot of players and for sure. We’ve been in contact with these players and we want them to understand that once they’re available we’ll be thinking about them,” Haynes said.
“And they all agree they want to play for West Indies and that to me is very important, and it’s also important to the fans around the Caribbean that when you have your top players involved in international cricket and not representing the West Indies, and these guys are hungry for victory.
“Honestly, I believe it’s a good move in terms of the policy because I must admit the fact that I would not have been here if I did not agree with the policy in terms of going forward, and it’s really something I’m looking forward to, working with Jimmy and the other stakeholders, and the coach and the captain.”
He added: “For me it’s a tremendous feeling and it’s something I’ve been looking forward to for a number of years – to get all of our players involved in West Indies cricket.”
Last year, Bravo retired from all forms of cricket following his participation for Trinidad and Tobago Red Force in the Regional Super50, saying it was important to “leave the international arena for the next generation of players”.
The 35-year-old played 40 Tests, 164 One-Day Internationals and 66 T20 Internationals, but had not turned out for the Windies since the ill-fated T20 series against Pakistan in United Arab Emirates in 2016.
Kieron Pollard, meanwhile, last represented West Indies on the T20 tour of India last October. Like Bravo, his name has been associated with selection for next month’s 50-overs World Cup in England but he has not played an ODI in three years.
Another Trinidadian, off-spinner Sunil Narine, has also remained on the sidelines of recent, last seen in West Indies colours two years ago.
CWI president Ricky Skerritt said many of these players were still committed to West Indies duty and a system now needed to developed which could see them returning to international cricket.
“This has been a very volatile issue and our policy has been very clear,” said Skerritt, who assumed the presidency last month after toppling three-term incumbent Dave Cameron.
“There’s a myth that our elite players don’t want to play for the West Indies. Over the last couple of weeks, we’ve engaged several of them and prior to the election, I personally engaged several of them and the desire and hunger to play for their West Indian colours is as strong as ever.
“What we have to do is to make sure we put systems in place that can respect the players and help the players to respect their responsibility when they are actually involved in West Indies cricket, and do it in a way that is clearly communicated and that there’s mutual respect and understanding.
“I have no doubt that in the hearts and in the minds of all of these players, the performance of the West Indies team and being involved in a successful West Indies team setup is important to them.”
The Courtney Browne-led selection panel was this week sacked and replaced by Haynes, Reifer and director of cricket Jimmy Adams. selectors.
And Skerritt said going forward, selection would be based purely on a cricketing criteria and not insularity.
“Obviously we have to get some of the types of interference that has prevailed in the past out of the way of cricket,” he noted.
“We said cricket first and cricket is best handled by people who understand cricket, who have played cricket, who love cricket and who focus on cricket and not on insular needs.”
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