CRICKET West Indies (CWI) director of cricket Jimmy Adams believes the majority of the region’s cricketers are committed to playing for West Indies, despite the lucrative T20 franchise leagues around the world.
West Indies players are among the most popular T20 cricketers in the world and franchises are willing to dig deep in their pockets to sign them.
Sunil Narine, Chris Gayle, Dwayne Bravo, Andre Russell, West Indies white-ball captain Nicholas Pooran and former West Indies white-ball captain Kieron Pollard go for big bucks in T20 drafts.
Some West Indies players have chosen not be contracted by CWI, which gives them the choice to play in T20 leagues around the world instead of representing the maroon.
On Monday, speaking to journalists on Zoom, Adams was asked if players are using West Indies as a platform to get into T20 leagues around the world and then choose to play for West Indies when they see fit. He was also asked if that is a concern and what can CWI do about this challenge?
CWI lead selector Dr Desmond Haynes was also on the Zoom media conference.
“You will have players who will opt not to take contracts because they want the freedom to go and play whenever and wherever,” Adams said.
“While I respect that by the same token I think we kind of understand where those players priorities lie (and) they could be a few others like that around. We live with them and we move on if we have to.”
All West Indies contracted players must receive a No Objection Certificate from CWI to play in T20 leagues.
Adams doesn’t think most of the players have West Indies as a second choice after T20 franchise cricket.
“I don’t think that is a majority, I don’t think it impacts us in a negative sense per say. We have had many players in the last few years who have played who are not contracted players - your Chris Gayles, your Andre Russells.
“Yes it is needs managing for sure at both the international and the levels within the regions around the world. I think given where we are now in world cricket and I believe where we are now in West Indies cricket that we are doing a pretty good job of it.”
Last month, Pollard surprisingly announced his retirement from international cricket. He turns 35 on Thursday.
Pollard, however, will continue to play franchise cricket.
The TT cricketer has been a long-standing member of the Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League (IPL).
West Indies players have competed in other T20 leagues around the world including the Big Bash League in Australia, Pakistan Super League and Bangladesh Premier League.
“T20 cricket and the leagues are here to stay,” Adams said. “I don’t necessarily think that they are a bad thing. At the end of the day what players have nowadays that they did not have in my time and Sir Desmond’s time was choice and I don’t think choice is a bad thing.”
Adams said CWI tries to organise their regional schedule so West Indies players will have to opportunity to participate in top T20 leagues.
“We try to ensure we don’t have any overlaps with either IPL or CPL, so all our contracted players know that there are minimum two windows where they will not have any competing international cricket. As it stands now it is not something that sees us losing control.”