West Indies news July 13, 2017

CWI agrees truce with star players over availability


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Dobell: Hard-line selection policy to be relaxed

The biggest names in Caribbean cricket could be about to return to the West Indies team after significant progress was made in negotiations between players and the board.

Not only has a resolution been agreed to the Darren Bravo impasse, but the likes of Kieron Pollard, Sunil Narine, Dwayne Bravo and Chris Gayle are also available for selection for the ODI side after an amnesty was proposed by WIPA, the players' union.

That means they could be available for the limited-overs section of the tour to England that starts in a few weeks.

Gayle, who marked his international return after 15 months during the one-off Twenty20 International against India in Kingston last week, said during an event in Bengaluru on Thursday that "things have been steadily improving" and playing the 2019 World Cup, for which West Indies may have to qualify, is still a burning desire.

"The fans were happy to see me back on the field representing West Indies. Hopefully, things can get better. Hopefully I can play a few more games. I definitely want to play the 2019 World Cup," Gayle said. "Things are beginning to open up a little more now between players and the board. It's looking good, and we've to try and build from this to get the best players out on the field."

The key to the resolution has been Cricket West Indies abandoning its contentious policy regarding player availability for regional cricket. Whereas, in recent years, CWI policy dictated that players would only be eligible for West Indies selection if they had played in the corresponding format in regional cricket, the board is now in the process of softening that hardline stance.

It is anticipated it will be formally relaxed when the new round of central contracts are introduced in October, with a new range of white-ball contracts also adding to the players' security and flexibility.

Both Jimmy Adams, Director Of Cricket, and Johnny Grave, CWI CEO, have previously intimated their desire to change the policy, with Adams labelling it "unsustainable".

In the meantime, though, an amnesty has been proposed to those who have not been involved in regional cricket, giving them the chance to represent West Indies again. The likes of Marlon Samuels, Lendl Simmons, Darren Sammy and, once his WADA ban is served, Andre Russell could be other beneficiaries.

While the amnesty has yet to be ratified by the board of CWI, ESPNcricinfo understands a conference call will take place before the end of the week where it is hoped the proposal will be accepted.

Darren Bravo, who has been suspended since November 2016 when he was sent home from the tour of Zimbabwe following his Twitter condemnation of board president, Dave Cameron, is also set to return.

Both parties have released statements of apology* and Bravo's tweet will be deleted with no admission of liability and without prejudice to the pursuit of any claim for damages. That will not only allow Bravo to take a full part in the forthcoming CPL season but render him eligible for West Indies selection once more. Having not played much red ball cricket of late, he is not thought to be a realistic candidate for the Test tour of England. He could well feature in the ODI team, though.

That method of solution had been suggested as far back as February. But Bravo instead pursued legal action against the board, claiming lost earnings. It seems that action is on-going despite the apparent thawing in relations, though it is understood no damages have been paid to date.

A similar resolution is expected imminently in the case of Nicholas Pooran. The 21-year-old wicketkeeper batsman made his West Indies debut last September in the three-match T20 series against Pakistan in the UAE after excelling with Barbados Tridents in the 2016 Caribbean Premier League, but he has not appeared in domestic cricket since last year's CPL. Pooran was drafted first overall by Leeward Islands in the 2016 Professional Cricket League draft, but had his Leewards contract canceled for both the four-day and 50-over squads when he took up an offer to play for Khulna Titans in the 2016 Bangladesh Premier League.

Pooran subsequently appeared for Islamabad United in the Pakistan Super League, City Kaitak in the Hong Kong T20 Blitz and was part of the Mumbai Indians squad at this year's IPL. He played for a WICB President's XI that took on Afghanistan in a T20 tour match on May 30 in St Kitts and also retained his place with Barbados Tridents in the 2017 CPL for $70,000, which places him in the top 10 highest paid West Indians in the tournament. However, Pooran's exile from four-day and 50-over domestic competitions seemed set to continue when he went unclaimed in the 2017 PCL draft that took place on July 7 in Jamaica, which would have precluded him from eligibility for West Indies selection in ODIs and Tests under the hardline selection policy.

It all amounts to encouraging news for long-suffering West Indies supporters. With the side having slipped to 9th in the ODI rankings (they are 8th in the Test rankings and 5th in T20), it is almost impossible for them to qualify automatically for the 2019 World Cup ahead of the ODI rankings qualification cut-off date in September.

The availability of some familiar faces is a significant step in the right direction.

*1700 GMT - This story was updated with statements from Darren Bravo and Dave Cameron

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • PIOPX on July 17, 2017, 13:08 GMT

    The WI players and its management are representing a region of countries and not themselves.Hope all worked out for the good of the people of the region.Set aside the past issues and work for the pride of the region.

  • Shabeer on July 17, 2017, 5:09 GMT

    odi x1 : 1. Gayle 2. Lewis 3. Lend Simmons 4. Darren Bravo 5. Samuels 6. Hope (wk) 7. Dwayne Bravo 8. Pollard 9. Narine 10. Holder 11. Williams

    T20 x1 : 1. Gayle 2. Lewis 3. Lend Simmons 4. Hope (wk) 5. Samuels 6. Dwayne Bravo 7. Pollard 8. Russel 9. Narine 10. Holder 11. Williams

    Test x1 : 1. Gayle 2. KC Braithwaite 3. Darren Bravo 4. Hope (wk) 5. Samuels 6. Blackwood 7. Narine 8. Holder 9. Bishoo 10. Roach 11. Williams

  • peterj3490202 on July 16, 2017, 0:24 GMT

    I cannot help but contribute, thank you for the opportunity. For those persons who persist in calling Daren (correct spelling) Sammy a non contributing captain, please allow me to enlighten you on something even Stevie Wonder can see: Daren Sammy is a people genius which means he has the brilliant ability ON THE FIELD to UNITE players AND bring out the best in them. That, my friends is a unique and rare talent, and no other West Indies captain in the 21st century has it, so that is an immense contribution. Brian Lara, with all due respect, was a cricket genius but a horrendous people person. His players generally disliked playing under him, he was unable to bring out their best, and he has one of the worst captaining records ever. Check the facts for yourself. Daren Sammy, simply put, moved every WI team under his leadership UP the rankings. The only reason he was removed by the board (don't fool yourself) is to have someone else get the glory when WI gets on top.

  • Michael on July 15, 2017, 15:04 GMT

    @ANTHONY...sorry...that comment about Pooran was directed at Denis and not you.When Sammy was in.. every man ,jack wanted him out INCLUDING some of those SAME popular names. Now you are saying he should skipper the ODIs team....that IS a ludicrous suggestion big man. @ Denis..all that long talk about Hope is just a hot of hot air and will take you no where except aloft in a hot air balloon.The golden boy is here to stay.. BEHIND and IN FRONT of the stumps..get use to it big man and you will sleep better.

  • Speak on July 15, 2017, 14:43 GMT

    WHOA...........So the self proclaimed "Boss of the universe" wants to play in WC 2019. Good for him ....... If you have the footage or recording of the recent T20 match between India and the WI.....look at the opening overs when the Indian batsman cracked an early four. Mr Boss could not move quickly enough to field it neither could he chase it down before it hit the boundary board. It looked pathetic. Age catches up with everyone as a course of nature......

  • Venkataraman on July 15, 2017, 14:14 GMT

    Come on WI. It is unimaginable to see Cricket WC without WI.

  • Michael on July 15, 2017, 10:53 GMT

    Some people calling for Gayle to be made captain forgetting that Gayle was removed as captain for being a bad influence on the team previously. Some people calling for Pollard to be made captain with 101 ODIs and av.only 25.7 with the bat and 50 wkts av. 39.12 with the ball Meanwhile Pollard in 88 T20Is av.20.59....yet more people are saying that Holder who averages 22.52 with the bat after 63 ODIs and has 84 wkts av 32.50 with the ball doesn't deserve a place on the team. Pooran who was asked to remove the gloves by the Tridents captain in a match at the mecca and replaced by an American because his keeping was so poor should now keep for the WI in all formats.....lord have mercy !!

  • Michael on July 15, 2017, 10:19 GMT

    @ANTHONY ....and your suggestion to bring back Chanderpaul is also ludicrous.What talent is there in Pooran may I ask ? for he has proven NOTHING to date even the Trinidad selectors don't want him and none of the other franchises don't want him either. His attitude is ok,his problem is that he is being ill advised by a fellow player who has already made it.

  • ilyas on July 15, 2017, 9:19 GMT

    Look half these players won't play as they are near the end of the careers. As for those calling for Sammy oh please!! Wi cannot afford a non-contributing captain. The guy can't bowl above 50mph and he is a one innings in 20 player. You all were the same people calling for his head previously. The one plus is the intensity and experience these guys will bring to help the younger players. Russell, younger bravo are the key players. The one that concerns me most is pooran - great talent but attitude is worrying for one so young. Seems like a younger umar akmal.

  • anthony on July 15, 2017, 7:32 GMT

    @randolf your scenario is ludicrous.this is a fast improving windies test team under the impressive Holder even before this amnesty.But that aside this incredible news.the odi and t20 sides will benefit tremendously but so can the test team.if the board are really ready to reconcile they simply MUST bring back shiv Chanderpaul to the england tour.the man has scored 4 centuries and is as good as ever.anything else and this is a sham.my test 16 squad for england......gayle,k braithwaite,d bravo,s hope(wk),chanderpaul,chase,holder,c braithwaite,joseph,gabriel,bishoo....subs cummins,pollard,powell,dowrich......i would make darren sammy captain of odi sides...my odi team gayle,bravo,samuels,hope (wk) ,pollard,sammy,dj bravo,holder,c braithwaite,a russell.narine....subs joseph,gabriel,dowrich,bishoo

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