BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC) – A prominent lawyer retained by some West Indies players during the recent strike impasse, has accused the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) of victimisation in the axing of the experienced trio of Dwayne Bravo, Darren Sammy and Kieron Pollard from the one-day squad to face South Africa.
Barbadian Ralph Thorne QC, who still represents Bravo, said his client had been “wronged” and he would “await his instructions” before deciding on the next move.
Bravo, Sammy and Pollard were members of the one-day side which took the controversial decision to quit the tour of India last October, sparking a bitter impasse with the WICB and players union, WIPA.
“The demotions of Bravo, Sammy and Pollard exclusively to the T20 team reveals evidence of the victimisation that we have fought against,” Thorne told the Sunday Sun newspaper in Barbados.
“A region’s best cricketers normally wind down their careers by moving to the longer versions of the game. The WICB is reversing that trend by sending its most senior players in the opposite direction.
“Until these selections and de-selections make sense, we will have to continue to accuse the WICB of victimisation.”
Bravo served as the players’ spokesman on the ill-fated tour of India, a role that brought him into conflict with the WICB and WIPA president and chief executive, Wavell Hinds.
Appointed to lead the ODI side last year May, Bravo was dumped in favour of 23-year-old emerging all-rounder Jason Holder for the South Africa series starting next month, and is now unlikely to be selected for the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand bowling off in February.
In the wake of the abandoned tour, the WICB appointed a three-man task force to investigate the circumstances surrounding the players’ controversial action. The task force, headed by Michael Gordon QC and which submitted its report to the board a week ago, said the WICB, WIPA and the player were all to be blamed.
“The chairman of the task force told me in writing that they had no powers of coercion nor sanction against any player,” Thorne said.
“I will not reasonably conclude that in spite of his assurances, the WICB has exploited portions of the report to dismiss Bravo.”
He added: “When Mr Bravo telephoned me this week from Australia we knew that the WICB was about to do him wrong. Still I was hoping they would not have wronged my client in this way.
“Mr Bravo has been victimised and I will await his instructions before I act further. In the meantime, I will also await the position of WIPA on this matter.”
The 31-year-old Bravo has played 164 ODIs, scoring 2968 runs at an average of 25 and taking 199 wickets at 29.51 apiece.
Since taking over ahead of last year’s Champions Trophy in England, Bravo has led the West Indies to series victories only over minnows Ireland – a one-off game in Jamaica – and over Bangladesh, ranked number nine in the World.
Pollard, meanwhile, averages 25 with the bat from 91 ODIs while Sammy averages 23 from 115 matches, and has taken 79 wickets at 44 apiece.
Despite their exclusion from the ODI squad, all three players have remained a part of the Twenty20 set-up for the three-match series in South Africa.