ST JOHN’S, Antigua, CMC – Legendary former pacer Sir Curtly Ambrose says tweaks need to be made to the controversial eligibility rule, in order to have the best players available for West Indies duty.
Sir Curtly, who currently serves as a West Indies team bowling consultant, said while he appreciated the objective of the rule, the overall focus should be on ensuring the region always fielded its best XI.
“I still believe that there are a few guys out there who I believe can play the ODIs and the Test cricket but there is a criteria that you have to play the First Class cricket here in the region to be selected or eligible for Test cricket and you have to also play the regional one day tournament to play for the ODI [team],” the Observer newspaper quoted Sir Curtly as saying on a sports radio show here.
“I can understand that because you must have some structure but I still believe that we should be looking to get our best team.
“I am not saying guys should just walk into the team willy-nilly but if there is a situation where guys are available and we are looking to get our best team, I still believe we should get them in.”
Currently, the West Indies Cricket Board requires players to make themselves available for the Regional First Class Championship in order to qualify for the Test team. Similarly, players need to play the Regional Super50 if they are to be considered for selection for ODIs.
However, many of the leading players like Chris Gayle, Kieron Pollard, Dwayne Bravo, Andre Russell, Darren Sammy and Sunil Narine, all ply their trade in Twenty20 tournaments across the globe often conflicting with the scheduling of Caribbean tournaments.
For instance, the Australian Big Bash clashed with the Regional Super50 last January, and West Indies players opted for the T20 tournament.
This means, West Indies are likely to have a weakened squad for the upcoming Tri-Series in June, involving South Africa and Australia.
Sir Curtly, one of the finest fast bowlers the sport has seen, advocated for a better relationship between the players and administrators in order to address the many existing issues.
“If you have a better relationship or a great relationship, I believe the cricket will get better because guys will go to play cricket feeling relaxed knowing that their business off the field is being taken care of, so all they have to worry about is playing cricket,” the Antiguan said.
“I honestly believe a better relationship between board and players will change our cricket and make it better.”