THE EDITOR: Darren Bravo has been omitted from the ODI squad to face India. He is arguably the best batting talent in the West Indies since Brian Lara. His early, consistent success is testimony to that. However, administrative and personal conflicts have conspired to suppress the full potential of this talent.
His public squabble with former Cricket West Indies president Dave Cameron is well known. One would have thought that, in the interest of West Indies cricket, the new administration under Ricky Skerritt would have been more sympathetic to Bravo’s cause.
They should have been more willing to nurture Bravo back to his role as our leading batsman. Instead, he has been dropped unceremoniously.
In his justification of the team picked for the ODI matches against England, interim coach Floyd Reifer said “the composition of the squad reflected the start of the rebuilding effort with the next World Cup (2023) in mind.”
So you pick 40-year-old Chris Gayle (who batted eight times in the 2019 World Cup which included scores of 0, 6, 7, 21, 35 and 36) and drop 30-year-old Bravo (who batted twice, scoring 0 and 19)? How visionary!
John Campbell and Roston Chase have been hailed by Reifer as players on whom we can rebuild for the future. I have no problem with that. Like all West Indian players, they have great potential. But they both failed in recent matches against India A.
In five matches, Chase scored 109 runs with a highest score of 84 and an average of 21.8. That means in four innings he scored a total of 25 runs with an average of 6.25. Campbell batted three times, scoring 30 runs with an average of 10.0.
If they failed so miserably against India A bowlers, what can we expect against India with Jasprith Bumrah, Mohammed Shami and Ishant Sharma in the attack?
The point is, if Reifer can be so gung-ho about selecting Chase and Campbell after such abysmal failure against India’s second-string bowlers, why no sympathy for Bravo? His recent record is certainly no worse than Chase’s and Campbell’s.
Surely, it makes better cricketing sense to give Bravo a run in local conditions rather than “groom” an aging hit-or-miss Gayle for the 2023 World Cup? Then, again, our regional cricket administrators are not exactly famous for cricketing sense.
Instead of helping Bravo to realise his true potential again, the selectors seem hell-bent on keeping a good man down and, possibly, out. One wonders why. Is it possible that Cameron is stilling pulling the strings from behind the scenes?
I suspect it was a toss-up between picking Bravo or Gayle. So tell us, Reifer, what exactly tipped the balance in favour of Gayle? What I refuse to believe is that you are grooming him for the 2023 World Cup.
You justify his selection with “he lends a lot to the dressing room.” In case you didn’t notice, our problems are on the field, not in the dressing room.