A West Indian cricketing crisis has been averted, with near full-strength team set to participate in the World T20; 12 of the original 15 picked by the WICB for the tournament have signed the required contracts. Among the three who have not signed is batsman Darren Bravo, who has written to the board saying he wants to focus on Test cricket. Allrounder Kieron Pollard and spinner Sunil Narine had pulled out a few days ago, citing incomplete rehab work on injury and bowling action respectively.
The WICB named allrounder Carlos Brathwaite and offspinner Ashley Nurse replacements for Pollard and Narine, and an alternative for Bravo will be picked soon.
The threat of the WICB sending a second-string squad to the World T20 escalated after Darren Sammy, West Indies’ Twenty20 captain, exchanged a series of emails with board chief executive Michael Muirhead, asking for the player remuneration to be revised. Muirhead was unrelenting on the matter, though, and told Sammy that if each member of the original squad of 15, which was picked on January 29, did not write individually to the WICB by February 14, the board would conclude he “refused” selection.
An episode like the controversial pull-out from the India tour in 2014 – over the revised contracts that significantly cut the internationals’ salaries – will not be repeated emerged last week after Sammy told Muirhead that the players will play in the World T20, but the WICB “cannot continue to be unfair and unreasonable”.
Meanwhile, Bravo said the reason he was opting out was because his long-term goal was to do well in Test cricket. “I’m very grateful and humbled for the opportunity to represent the West Indies at the World Cup,” Bravo was quoted in a WICB media release. “However, I’m of the firm belief that I have a very big part to play in the resurgence of West Indies cricket in the longer formats of the game and I will like the opportunity to play in our Professional Cricket League [the regional first-class tournament] because it will put me in good stead and will allow me to achieve those goals that I have aligned myself for the year 2016 and beyond.”