Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo
West Indies batsman Darren Bravo has opted out of the tour of South Africa for personal reasons. Bravo is the only name missing from the original squad of 15 chosen last week by the WICB, which had made it mandatory that all players had to sign the tour contracts before the Tuesday afternoon. The WICB indicated through a media release that it would name a replacement for Bravo in due course.
Bravo had also asked the Trinidad & Tobago selectors earlier to not consider him for the regional four-day competition which started last week. The WICB did not disclose the circumstances behind Bravo's pull-out. "Darren Bravo wrote to chairman of selectors Clive Lloyd and requested not to be considered for the Test series due to personal reasons," the WICB release stated. "The WICB extends its best wishes to Bravo as he seeks to address his personal matters and looks forward to his return to the game."
The signing of player contracts had assumed a critical importance in the aftermath of the West Indies ODI squad pulling out of the India tour last month. That revolt was lead by Dwayne Bravo, the West Indies ODI captain, who said the players felt discriminated against by the actions of the West Indies Players Association, which had gone ahead and signed a combined business agreement along with the new memorandum of understanding with WICB. Dwayne Bravo insisted the MoU would hurt the players' payment structure drastically and the WIPA had bypassed them by signing the agreement.
Even as it faced withering criticism from the BCCI, which slapped a $42 million penalty for abandoning the India tour, the WICB did not penalise the players. After their return from India the WICB swiftly moved to alleviate the player concerns by holding meetings which were attended by senior players including Bravo and Test captain Denesh Ramdin, along with WICB president Dave Cameron and WIPA president Wavell Hinds.
But doubts remained about whether the players would consider boycotting the South Africa tour, which starts in December. The question marks further increased after Trinidad & Tobago Cricket Board replaced Ramdin as the captain in the regional four-day competition. At the same time the Jamaica Cricket Association decided to not include Marlon Samuels in the squad for the first-class tournament. Samuels was the only player who disagreed with the pull-out from the India tour.
But by signing the contracts for the South Africa tour the players have put faith in the ongoing negotiations with WICB and WIPA. "The WICB thanks the players for their timely and positive responses and looks forward to a successful tour of South Africa," the WICB release said.