Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo
West Indies allrounder Dwayne Bravo has revealed that his exclusion from the squad for the World Cup did not come as a surprise, and he and Kieron Pollard were expecting the axe - which he called a "big joke" - from the West Indies Cricket Board selection panel, headed by Clive Lloyd. He also said the team management was prepared to lose the World Cup before it started and instead build for the next tournament.
In an interview with ESPNcricinfo, Bravo said the pair "laughed" when Lloyd sat down the pair in Cape Town in January to explain the reasons he felt they were not fit to be part of the World Cup squad. "We actually laughed when he said it to us. To be honest, we knew it was coming. We know the type of people in charge of our cricket are actually mature enough to make sensible decisions and the right decisions for the benefit of cricket," Bravo said. "If we had got selected we actually would have been surprised. We expected it. There was nothing that shocked us.
"The explanation that they gave us was too many allrounders or they want to try young players, whatever the case might be… Kieron Pollard is 27, I am 31. Also as far as our form was concerned, as I said, the last 12 months I had been West Indies' best player. So to be left out with those explanations, obviously, all we could have done is laugh. It was a big joke."
Bravo has endured a tough time in the last eight months since he led West Indies' player boycott on their India tour, during which the team abandoned the series mid-way over a contracts dispute involving the WICB and the players. Subsequently, Bravo was axed as ODI captain and dropped from the World Cup squad despite being one of the top performers in the team in the preceding 12 months before the selection. In January, he announced his Test retirement at the age of 31.
Citing West Indies' poor performance at the World Cup as a shame, Bravo said that the management had gone into the tournament prepared to lose, even as a more senior group had worked for the tournament for three years.
"Another World Cup come, finish. They (were) happy with their decision. They were prepared not to win this World Cup," he said. "It is a shame that before the World Cup even started, they were already prepared to lose and look forward to building for the next World Cup, whereas in the last three years we were building for this World Cup. But it is all water under the bridge now. I am not someone to hold on to anything."
The allrounder finished as the highest wicket-taker in IPL 2015 but said that the performance was not meant to prove a point and he still considers himself "one of the better allrounders in the region". Bravo welcomed West Indies head coach Phil Simmons' move to keep the Test team's doors open for IPL returnees, including Pollard, Sunil Narine, Lendl Simmons and Andre Russell. Bravo said that he was not currently open to the idea of returning to Test cricket.
"No. There is a lot more that needs to be changed in order for me to even think of coming back into Test cricket. At the moment I am happy with my decision and I don't see it changing anytime soon unless something drastic changes."