Batsman Darren Bravo has challenged Cricket West Indies to prove he was the one to post a controversial message on his Twitter account against the board president Dave Cameron, which resulted in his expulsion from the side's Zimbabwe tour last year.
In November, Bravo was sent home days before the start of a tri-series, following a tweet on his account which called Cameron "Big Idiot". Bravo's reaction was a response to Cameron's statement that the batsman had been offered a Grade C contract due to his slipping average.
Bravo's contract was revoked immediately and both parties have since been locked in a bitter legal dispute. Bravo has also been sidelined from all cricket, outside the Caribbean Premier League, in the West Indies, including his own regional team Trinidad & Tobago.
Last week, speaking to the Caribbean television network Line & Length, Cameron said that Bravo would need to delete the tweet to be eligible to play for West Indies again. "What Darren Bravo has to do first and foremost is take down the tweet," Cameron said. "Every day that tweet is an infraction. Secondly he needs to accept that he has done something wrong and then we can move forward from there."
This week, speaking to the same channel, Bravo was non-committal when asked if he would delete the tweet. "Even though you saw a tweet on my account, on my Twitter account, no one actually asked me if I did that," Bravo said.
In his first interview since his exclusion from the side, Bravo recounted the events that followed the tweet. He claimed that neither the West Indies coach nor the manager or media manager ever enquired if he had posted the tweet. "No one asked me: 'Darren Bravo, did you tweet that?' No one asked me anything. So I went to sleep."
The next morning, Bravo recounted, he received two "sudden emails". "One from Richard Pybus, former director of cricket stating my contract has been terminated and I am being sent home and the other from Roland Holder (cricket operations manager) with my flight details. But no one actually asked me anything. So I was left in a situation of what is really going on here. And it was also a situation where they gave me an ultimatum, after being sent home, to take down the tweet by 4 pm and apologise on Twitter. But, at the end of the day, no one can prove that Darren Bravo actually went on his Twitter account and tweeted that. There was no due process. No one asked me any, anything. Up to this day no one has called me and asked me anything. So it has been very disappointing."
When asked if he had posted the tweet, Bravo said his legal team - comprising attorneys Leslie Haynes and Donna Symmonds - was best placed to respond. "I wouldn't answer that question right now. The best person to answer that question is my legal team."
Symmonds told the television network her client will not rush into taking any step until everything related to the issue was reviewed "in totality". "As far as we are concerned his contractual rights have been breached. There has been a rush to judgement."
Symmonds said that negotiations between the two parties broke down seemingly at a position when they believed Bravo could be "reintegrated" into the set-up. According to Symmonds, Johnny Grave, the Cricket West Indies CEO, "made an offer" to Bravo, which signaled some agreement could be reached.
"It had been agreed that certain statement would be made by the president (Cameron) and certain statements by Darren. And with regard to the tweet Darren had agreed to do certain things as well, but the sticking point was one other matter. We had made a suggestion as to how that could be resolved and we have never had a response," Symmonds said.
Bravo's legal team, however, alleged that Grave broke the "good faith" by making a public statement, telling ESPNcricinfo in April that he was frustrated by Bravo's damages claim of $120,000.
Symmonds alleged Grave "scuttled" the negotiations completely. "I would have to say a breach of good faith and it caused the negotiations to breakdown, so we are no longer there," she said.
Bravo said he was hungry to play for West Indies once again. "Yes, I want to play cricket for West Indies again, but at the end of the day when I step on to the field I want to be able to be happy, I want to be able to enjoy my cricket once more. That is something I have been lacking probably for the last year playing for West Indies. That is the total honest truth."
Bravo said Test cricket has always been his "forte", a format where he finds himself "happy", to the extent that he gave up two IPL contracts previously and even stood down from the West Indies squad for the 2016 World T20, to focus on first-class cricket.
"I had two IPL contracts before Kolkata Knight Riders. I give up those two contracts. I also had opportunity to go and play in the T20 World Cup that West Indies won in India. I gave up that to stay home and play first-class cricket. I could have jumped on the plane, gone to the T20 World Cup in India. If I get selected all well and good. If I don't get selected, no problem, but I would have got approximately US$ 7,000 for one T20 game. I decided to stay home to play first-class cricket (where) I get paid $1300 (per match). I have a very important part to play in the quest to revitalise West Indies cricket in the longer format of the game.
"I have given up so much for West Indies cricket and the way I have been treated is like, my efforts and my energy and my whatever went all down the drain. And I don't like the way I have been treated. Yes, I want to play Test cricket, but I have to make decisions, as I said about my family and stuff like that."
Bravo virtually ruled himself out of selection for the England tour in August-September, saying he will be "fulfilling" his contract in the Caribbean Premier League where he represents Trinbago Knight Riders.