PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, CMC – Former West Indies manager, Omar Khan, believes the latest selection fracas involving key senior players, reflects a continued breakdown in the relationship between players and Cricket West Indies.
His comments came after it was announced Thursday that Darren Bravo, Sunil Narine, Kieron Pollard and Andre Russell had declined selection for the upcoming ICC World Cup Qualifiers in order to participate in the Pakistan Super League.
But while CWI chief executive, Johnny Grave, called the players’ decision “hugely disappointing”, Khan said the situation pointed to ongoing issues which required resolution.
“I think there is still that situation where the communication and the relationship between players and the board is not where it is supposed to be,” Khan told the NewsDay publication.
“There is a big gap in the relationship and I am hoping that proper, genuine, meaningful dialogue between both parties [can occur] as we go forward [to] try and solve those issues.”
West Indies selectors were hoping to have their strongest side available for the March 4-25 tournament in Zimbabwe as the Caribbean side seeks to secure one of the remaining two spots available for the 2019 World Cup in England.
However, chief selector Courtney Browne said when the four players were contacted, they “indicated that they were unavailable to help us qualify as their priority was playing in the Pakistan Super League.”
Khan said it was disappointing that the breakdown had resulted in the two parties unable to find common ground.
“It is sad that we have reached a situation where the players cannot come to some sort of agreement with the board in terms of representing the West Indies for these tournaments,” said Khan, operations manager with Guyana Amazon Warriors in the Caribbean Premier League.
“But at the end of the day the players have their contracts and commitments to the leagues and if that is the case then so be it.”
Neither Narine, Pollard nor Bravo have represented West Indies in nearly 15 months.
Narine and Pollard pulled out of the Twenty20 series in New Zealand last December for “personal reasons” while Bravo was locked in an impasse with CWI, which was only resolved last July.
Russell, meanwhile, is now returning to the game after a one-year ban for an anti-doping whereabouts breach.
Despite the quartet’s absence, West Indies will boast the likes of Chris Gayle and Marlon Samuels, and Khan believes the side possess enough quality to excel in the qualifiers.
“I think it is a great opportunity for the players to go there and show that they are ready to represent West Indies,” he said.