PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, CMC – Discarded all-rounder Dwayne Bravo has accused Cricket West Indies of using senior players as scapegoats for its muddled selection policy and the team’s subsequent failure to qualify automatically for the 2019 Cricket World Cup.
Further, the experienced campaigner said these players, who in the past were repeatedly overlooked by selectors, are now having their commitment to West Indies cricket falsely questioned, simply to find excuses in case the Windies flop at the ICC World Cup qualifiers in March.
He argued that CWI had made it clear prior to the 2015 World Cup that they were moving on to younger players in order to build a team for the 2019 edition, but were now attempting to blame senior players for the disarray in the ODI setup.
“The West Indies knew they had to play the qualifiers since [last September] in England,” the outspoken Bravo told I95FM Radio from Australia where he is currently playing in the Big Bash League.
“They knew for a while they had to play the qualifiers so I think they just trying to shift the blame for their failures, shift the blame towards the players by using these three players (Kieron Pollard, Sunil Narine and Darren Bravo) – and even including myself – by saying they have reached out to the senior players and the senior players turned their backs on West Indies cricket.
“So therefore, if it is that the West Indies go there in the qualifiers and they don’t get through that stage and they don’t make it to the World Cup, then they have somebody to blame. [They would then say] ‘the big boys didn’t want to play, the senior guys didn’t want to play so what do you expect’.”
He continued: “In 2015 when the team went to the last World Cup when Pollard and myself got dropped, the president (Dave Cameron) and chairman of selectors at that time (Clive Lloyd) said they were taking the ODI team in a new direction, they were going to invest in the youngsters and build for 2019.
“So their aim in 2015 was to build for 2019 – that was their aim and their vision. So why now in 2018, going into 2019, the same team that they were building for the next World Cup, why all of a sudden [do] you need all of these drastic changes now.
“These are the same [players] you invest in and the guys who were not in the squad, are the same people who were available to play for you and you did not select.”
Last Thursday, in announcing a 15-member squad for the qualifiers in Zimbabwe, CWI said it had reached out to Pollard, Darren Bravo, Narine and Andre Russell, but all declined selection in favour of fulfilling commitments in the Pakistan Super League.
Chief selector Courtney Browne said in a statement that the four players had indicated that they were “unavailable to help us qualify as their priority was playing in the Pakistan Super League.”
Browne said Dwayne Bravo had not been contacted because “he had indicated previously that he is no longer available to play cricket for the West Indies.”
In 2014, the 34-year-old Bravo was sacked as captain after 19 months in charge and also dropped from the squad, just nine weeks after playing a leading role in the team’s controversial decision to abandon the one-day tour of India.
Pollard was also axed but subsequently recalled for the Tri-Nations Series in the Caribbean in 2016 before being dropped again for the Tri-Nations Series in Zimbabwe later that year.
Bravo said in the years when he was inexplicably kept out the squad, he was fit and available to represent West Indies.
“Out of the 15-member squad who was in India in 2014, Dwayne Bravo is the only player yet to play a One-Day International since then so people should calculate and see how many … ODI series have been played since then and I’ve been overlooked,” Bravo pointed out.
“All those years I was fit – apart from last year which is the biggest injury I’ve ever had and couldn’t play for eight months. But prior to that I was fit, I was performing but just overlooked. “Now you seeing where again the commitment word [keeps being used loosely]. When you talk about commitment, commitment goes both ways. Cricket West Indies, the selectors and their policy, they never showed any commitment to players, they never showed any commitment to me.”