Image courtesy of: Zimbio
The West Indies have been undergoing a tough transition phase after omitting several of their high-profile players in all three formats of the game.
But, things are about to change as Cricket West Indies and the West Indies Players’ Association (WIPA) agreed on an amnesty that would see players like Chris Gayle, Dwayne Bravo, Sunil Narine and Kieron Pollard be eligible for selection for the ODI squad.
Up till now, Cricket West Indies have implemented a mandatory rule where players have to take part in domestic competitions in order to be picked in the national team.
But, with the amnesty that Cricket West Indies and the WIPA have agreed on, some of the biggest names in Caribbean cricket could be back when the West Indies take on England in a few weeks.
“The fans were happy to see me back on the field representing West Indies. Hopefully, things can get better. Hopefully I can play a few more games. I definitely want to play the 2019 World Cup,” Gayle said. “Things are beginning to open up a little more now between players and the board. It’s looking good, and we’ve to try and build from this to get the best players out on the field.”
When asked if the West Indies would field a full-strength squad for the upcoming series against England, Gayle said: “That’s what is actually in discussion. It’s for them to make the announcement, and make it formal so that we know what is what,” Gayle said. “We’ll wait and see what happens.
“I can’t get into specific details, just from the little I’ve experienced since coming back, it’s been good. There’s still more discussion to be done. It’s positive. That’s the good thing about it. We’ve to just look to carry on from here. Once we are guided with the rules, if it is going to change fully, we’ll know how to take things further.”
Gayle also heaped praise on opener Evin Lewis, who recently struck a career-best 125 not out to lead the West Indies to a nine-wicket win in their one-off Twenty20 International against India.
But, while the men from the Caribbean have dominated in the shortest format, Gayle conceded that they have to improve in ODIs, especially since they are in danger of failing to automatically qualify for the 2019 World Cup.
If the West Indies are not among the top eight ODI sides by September 30, they will have to take part in a qualification tournament in order to earn a spot in the 2019 World Cup.
“Two centuries in two T20s against India, it’s fantastic,” Gayle said about Lewis. “He’s a small player but a powerful player. He’s very young and very hungry, he’s one for the future. Once more consistency comes into his play, he will be more dangerous. It was a brilliant innings just the other day to put us into that winning position by batting right through the end was fantastic. That’s what I love to see, especially an opener batting right through to take it till the end and win games.
“With our experience, we all try and share as much as we can before we go; 2019 is just around the corner. We don’t want to miss out like what happened at the Champions Trophy. We will try and push hard for that and everyone can work collectively to make sure we’re part of the World Cup.”
The 37-year-old also conceded that he has to stay in shape in order to still be considered for selection going forward.
“I’m still being active in the gym, putting in the work. These youngsters are very sharp, they try to take your head off saying ‘he’s old now, take him down,'” he said. “You’ve got to be mindful, got to be ready at all times. I’m trying and looking after the body. There’s a lot of travelling, so I try and monitor [my schedules and training] as much as possible.”
Meanwhile, the bitter dispute between batsman Darren Bravo and Cricket West Indies president Dave Cameron seems to have come to an end.
Image courtesy of: Zimbio
Bravo posted a message on Twitter, which called Cameron a “big idiot” after he was demoted to a Grade C contract.
Bravo recently revealed that he was planning to take legal action and aiming to claim damages of $120,000.
However, after a lengthy period of time, it is understood that Bravo will delete the tweet and stop all legal proceedings.
“On the 11th day of November 2016, after viewing statements made about me by Mr. Dave Cameron, President of the Cricket West Indies, on a television sports programme, I tweeted a response which referred to the President which was, in retrospect, inappropriate,” Bravo said in a statement. “As I have always tried to uphold the best traditions of West Indies Cricket and its players, I now therefore wish to withdraw the comment made on my Twitter account and apologize to the President of CWI and to all WINDIES fans.
“I look forward to continuing to play a positive role in both the West Indies’ senior men’s team and regional cricket, as well as helping to grow and develop cricket in the region at all levels.”
In a statement of his own, Cameron said: “In early November 2016, I gave an interview to SportsMax TV during which I discussed player retainer contracts and the grades of contract that had been awarded to certain players. In the course of the interview I stated that Darren Bravo had previously been on an ‘A’ contract, which I have since been advised is not correct.
“I apologize for the misstatement, and wish to assure Mr. Bravo that there was no insult or offense intended towards him. Darren is a senior cricketer who has been a valuable part of the WINDIES set up for a long time, and I would hope to see his game continue to progress and mature, at both regional and international level.”
Meanwhile, wicketkeeper-batsman Nicolas Pooran has been allowed to represent the West Indies in all formats again.
The 21-year-old was left out of the national team and had his Leeward Islands contract cancelled after representing the Khulna Titans in the 2016 Bangladesh Premier League (BPL).