Jamie Alter is a senior sub-editor at Cricinfo
West Indies allrounder Dwayne Bravo has said he will consider the monetary benefits at stake before deciding whether to pledge allegiance to West Indies or go freelance. While his ultimate goal was to be remembered as a good West Indian player, Bravo laid out the parameters under which he would take a decision about his future.
"If given a chance [to choose a contract from the WICB or go freelance] I would have to see what money is on offer, and what other offers come along," Bravo said in Bangalore, where he is with Trinidad & Tobago for the Champions League Twenty20. "After that, I will need to discuss it with my manager, my friends and my family before taking a decision. All my life I have dreamed of playing for West Indies and hopefully when I finish my cricketing career, people can look back at my records. That's the most important."
Bravo's comments come in the wake of Kevin Pietersen's view that with lucrative IPL deals on offer, players would not be as keen to accept central contracts from their national boards. Andrew Flintoff had earlier rejected an England contract to concentrate on a freelance career, playing in the IPL and for other clubs around the world.
According to Bravo, those were individual decisions that needed to be taken after careful consideration. "It all boils down to the player and where he sees his career going, where and how he wants to set up his life. It's a tricky question, and one that I don't think any player will answer off the cuff. You have to play it by ear and see how the future goes."
West Indies cricket has been troubled by strained relations between the region's leading players and the WICB regarding their contracts for over five years now. The row reached an all-time low when the board decided to send a second-string squad to the ICC Champions Trophy after the senior players went on strike. For Bravo to watch the West Indies side in South Africa was painful - all the more considering West Indies won the tournament in 2004 and were runners-up in 2006 - and he hoped the issue over contracts would be over soon.
"It was disappointing not to be there this year," he said. "We only got the opportunity to look at the games on television but having said that, it was a decision taken by the players and you have to stand by that. We only hope the matter will be resolved sooner rather than later."
Today, Bravo told the Age that all the striking players would make themselves available for selection for the forthcoming tour of Australia, even though the impasse over the contracts issue continues. Bravo's statement will, nevertheless, come as a breath of fresh air in resolving the ongoing crisis between the WICB and the West Indies Players Association (WIPA), though an official word is awaited.
''We are all going to make ourselves available, that is definite,'' he said. ''We are looking forward to getting back playing international cricket.''
The WICB had stated earlier that only those players who make themselves available for the regional one-day tournament this month in Guyana will be considered for the tour of Australia. Bravo assured that the senior West Indies players, including himself, will participate and give the selectors the chance to pick a full-strength squad for the first time since the World Twenty20 earlier this year.
''We will be taking part in it. All of us are going to be available for selection to go to Australia,'' Bravo said. ''Hopefully, they will select the best squad and we will get our opportunity again to represent the West Indies.''