Former West Indies one-day captain Dwayne Bravo believes Cricket West Indies (CWI) president Dave Cameron is attempting to deflect attention from the failure of his administration by focusing on the decision of a few senior West Indies players who declined to play in the ICC World Cup qualifiers in March.
The players – Darren Bravo, Kieron Pollard, Sunil Narine – have all signed contracts for the Pakistan Super League which clashes with the qualifiers which bowls off in Bangladesh. All three have had fractious relationships with the regional governing body for various reasons.
In a radio interview yesterday, Bravo challenged Cameron who he said acts as a “bully” when he doesn’t get his way.
“They are not available because they made previous engagements. Most of the players signed our (PSL) contracts in November,” Bravo said.
The talented all-rounder said CWI officials knew the cricketers had signed contracts to play in Pakistan as they granted them No-Objection Certificates (NOCs).
“I think they just trying to shift the blame for their failures – shift the blame to the players by using us by saying they reach out to the senior players and the senior players turned their backs on West Indies cricket. So if the West Indies go in the qualifiers and don’t get through and don’t make it to the World Cup, then they have somebody to blame.
“Remember in 2015 when the team went to the last World Cup when Pollard and myself get dropped, the president (Cameron) and the chairman of selectors (Clive Lloyd) say they taking the ODI team to a new direction. (They said) they’re going to invest in the youngsters and build for 2019. Why now in 2018, going into 2019, the same team they building for the next World Cup, why you now need all these drastic changes? The guys that are not in the squad are the same people that was available to play for you and you did not select them.”
The Trinidadian said it is only as West Indies cricket is in a crisis and the regional side is in danger of missing the 2019 World Cup, that the board realises the value of the senior players.
The 34 year old all-rounder, currently in Australia at the Big Bash League, said the regional cricket boss is misleading the public and painting the players as mercenaries.
Bravo said the decision by the WICB to force the players to play in the regional tournaments instead of T20 tournaments where they are paid sometimes 1,000 times more, failed drastically and caused unnecessary friction.
He said the so-called olive branches extended by the board to the senior players now is a sham. He said the new temporary amnesty, allowing players to be selected for the West Indies despite not playing in the equivalent format at the regional tournaments, is a ruse to lure the marquee players back to qualify to the World Cup, only to spit them out after.
Bravo said if the board was serious about integrating the senior players back into the fold, they would have offered them the new retainer packages.
“How can we be your best players if none of us were offered white ball contracts?” he asked.
Bravo, who boasts 199 wickets in ODIs – third behind Courtney Walsh and Curtly Ambrose – defended his record as captain in which he claims to have won 48 percent of his matches. He said Darren Sammy won 36 percent, Chris Gayle 32 percent and current skipper Jason Holder has won 25 percent.
“You remove (me) from an ODI team in 2014 to now winning 25 percent. We draw an ODI series in New Zealand under my captaincy. But then they sack me and say the ODI team showing no progress and our (Bravo and Pollard) ODI stats not good.”
Bravo said he was grateful for the attempts by CARICOM to rein in the West Indies Cricket Board through TT Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley, his Grenadian counterpart Dr Keith Mitchell and St Vincent’s Ralph Gonzalves but does not think they can do more.
“I was happy to see they get involved to make a difference but then you have a (WICB) president who thinks he is the US President, he thinks he is President of the world, he thinks he is the most powerful man in the Caribbean, so he ignores CARICOM and control a set of people who listen to him. It’s a team of individuals who do not have West Indies cricket at heart.”
Bravo also said he is not buying the outrage of TTCB president Azim Bassarath as he has no faith in him.