Main focus must be Windies cricket, says Sir Richie

KINGSTON, Jamaica, CMC – Team manager Sir Richie Richardson believes regional players must make West Indies cricket their top priority.

The former Windies captain and outstanding batsman said he supported players making the most of financial opportunities but said commitment to country needed to supersede all else.

“I understand players wanting the opportunity to go and play cricket elsewhere and I support that. I want players to be comfortable and make as much money as possible,” the Jamaica Gleaner newspaper quoted Sir Richie as saying.

“But for me, personally, West Indies cricket has to be number one. What happens if all the players decide that they are going to play cricket all over the world and ignore West Indies cricket? Our cricket would die.”

He was speaking against the backdrop of off-spinner Sunil Narine’s controversial omission for the upcoming three-Test series against New Zealand starting at Sabina Park here Sunday.

Narine opted to remain with Kolkata Knight Riders for the June 1st Indian Premier League final, missing the stipulated deadline – also June 1st – for his return to join the West Indies preparation camp in Barbados.

He was ruled ineligible for selection for the Test series but is free to play in the Twenty20 series which follows.

“Rules and regulations are there. The players signed a retainer contract with the West Indies Cricket Board, making a commitment to West Indies cricket,” Richardson pointed out.

“At the end of the day, if it was not for West Indies cricket none of us would have been here.” However, Richardson said that to avoid such conflicts in the future, decisions needed to be made in order to create a definitive window in the international calendar for the IPL.

“It’s unfortunate that there is a clash [with the IPL]. I think what perhaps should be done is all the countries around the world should get together and make sure that there is a clear window for IPL,” he contended.

“This would ensure that there are no conflicts where the players are concerned.”

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