A return to the West Indies ODI team is a distinct possibility for the Bravo brothers, Sunil Narine and Kieron Pollard, following discussions between the players and Cricket West Indies (CWI). The development could potentially pave the way for the players to be involved in the 2019 World Cup.
The development has been aided by a board decision to move their next domestic 50-over competition to October this year, instead of February 2019 – a switch that means there will be minimal clash between the Super50 and the various domestic Twenty20 leagues Caribbean stars are such an integral part of.
The players have been asked to play in the Super50, perform and push for a recall.
“The overall message to Pollard, the Bravo brothers and Narine was ‘come and play in the Super50 Cup’, so that Courtney [Browne, chairman of selectors] and his selection panel will have all the players in system playing,” Johnny Grave, board CEO, told ESPNcricinfo.
“This will not only increase the standard and hopefully give the panel a headache but will help our selectors better gauge and assess our young players if they’re scoring runs against Dwayne Bravo or Sunil in the final overs or getting Darren [Bravo] and Pollard out.”
Browne told ESPNcricinfo he was looking forward to seeing the players in action. “It’s a very important tournament for us in preparation for the World Cup. People that want to put their names in the hat for consideration would need to play Super50 and perform.”
Although far from resolved, this would represent a distinct thaw in the relationship between the board and players in what has been a difficult year. It began with Narine, Pollard and Darren Bravo choosing the PSL over helping West Indies in their World Cup Qualifiers, a decision that left Grave and CWI “hugely disappointed”.
Matters escalated in April when the Bravo brothers, Pollard and Narine claimed they were denied an opportunity to help the Caribbean after being ignored for a Hurricane Relief charity game between West Indies and a World XI side.
Even then, however, Grave had spoken of meeting with the players after the IPL to discuss futures, meetings which have now taken place. This breakthrough of sorts continues Graves’ policy of building bridges with disaffected players. Last year’s amnesty resulted in Chris Gayle and Marlon Samuels returning to the team, Andre Russell’s recent selection into a West Indies squad, improved player contracts and now this olive branch.
“Jimmy Adams [director cricket operations] and I met with Dwayne, Darren, Pollard and Narine’s agent in Trinidad,” Grave said. “We met with them individually because they all have different circumstances. I would describe the meetings as positive, as everyone was looking to the future rather than the past.
“We talked through our entire schedule, not just now and to the 2019 World Cup, but also through all the matches and tours scheduled up to the World T20 in Australia 2020.
“We asked the players individually to take time to consider the requirements of Cricket West Indies, where we are going with the teams and how we are looking for prepare for international series.
“We have asked them to send us in writing a summary of their reflections confirming their availability and commitment to play for the Windies in different formats of the game.”
The scheduling switch of the Super50, Grave said, wasn’t aimed at getting the quartet to play but the result of a holistic review of the domestic system.
“We changed the contractual year to start July 1st, so that the off-season would be April-June when we would do new contracts, appraisals and renewals, while players in the system can do their core conditioning work, as well as obviously have a break”, Grave explained.
“So now we start contracts in July and go almost straight into CPL. Hence in the review it just made sense to continue with white-ball cricket by having the Super50 in November with October to prepare for the change in format.
“Only because we are hosting the ICC Women’s World T20 in the Caribbean it meant moving the Super50 to October for this year.”
That switch has coincided with the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) moving to January, instead of its November slot. Grave said CWI had discussions with BCB on the matter, as West Indies are due to tour Bangladesh in November.
“It has transpired that the only league we will be clashing with this year is the Afghanistan League but you are always going to clash with some T20 league whenever you schedule it,” Grave said. “But it has potentially fallen at a good time as we used to clash with both the Big Bash and Pakistan Super League.
“We had discussions with BCB [Bangladesh Cricket Board] around when the BPL would be as we are touring them in November. We were very clear to them our Super50 was in October and it would be less disruptive for us if the BPL was played in January.
“That’s probably the only tactical thing we have done with our schedules to assist players in having this window available to play for us in the Super50.” (ESPNCricinfo)