"How can those two guys not be in the team?"
Chris Gayle had blurted out after the then West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) decided to omit Dwyane Bravo and Kieron Pollard from the 2015 World Cup squad.
Things took a turn when the selectors announced that the players omitted had to play super 50, a domestic List A competition to be considered for selection. The likes of Gayle, Dwayne, Pollard, Darren Sammy, Andre Russell and Sunil Narine, all of whom plied a lot of their trade in foreign T20 leagues, were dropped and a handful of others picked.
A year after the fiasco, the selectors once again sprung a surprise when they selected Pollard and Narine for a tri-series in the Caribbean involving Australia and South Africa as the other teams. Several commented on the sudden change of mind of the selectors with Dwyane Bravo calling it “magic”.
One minute we have to be available for domestic super 50 to be selected and the next minute, it seems we don't. Magic! Get serious people!
— Dwayne DJ Bravo (@DJBravo47) May 19, 2016
— Chris Gayle (@henrygayle) May 19, 2016
Darren Bravo, meanwhile revolted against the board, called the chairman a 'big idiot’ and made himself unavailable for selection.
"I have given up so much for West Indies cricket and the way I have been treated is like, my efforts and my energy and my whatever went all down the drain. And I don't like the way I have been treated. Yes, I want to play Test cricket, but I have to make decisions, as I said about my family and stuff like that”, Darren had commented then.
Eventually, what it meant was West Indies more often than not took the field with a half-strength side. When the side took on Pakistan in an ODI series in Guyana, the likes of Gayle, the two Bravos, Sammy, Pollard, Narine, Lendl Simmons and Carlos Brathwaite were playing in the Indian Premier League (IPL).
A large number of these high profile players have declined a contract with the Board placing emphasis on the super 50 competition for ODI selection. Even legendary batsman Viv Richards commented on the issue openly and came out blaming the board.
"When you have an arrogant administrative unit, guys are going to pick and choose," Richards had spoken as revealed by ESPNcricinfo in April, 2017.
"We must remember that many of the players come from humble backgrounds. I have no qualms in saying this, some of these administrators think they are as important as the players on the field. They are not. It is all about the attraction of the environment that the players on the field would have created for them to be in an administrative position.”
But now, the selectors have seemingly made a U-turn in terms of their selection policy yet again. Gayle, returning for the first time in ODIs since the 2015 World Cup, and Marlon Samuels, are back in the ODI squad for the England ODIs two days after the team lost 19 wickets in a day in the pink ball Test in Edgbaston.
Probably, the missed chance to feature in the Champions Trophy coupled with the upcoming 2019 World Cup might have prompted the selectors to go back to their experienced guns. The debacle at Edgbaston by their batsmen might also have played a role in this bizarre turn of events.
The chairman of selectors, 'big idiot’ man, Courtney Browne, also stressed that Narine and Darren have declined to be considered for England ODIs while Dwyane deemed himself unfit. The other points in the squad selected include the omission of Roston Chase, Jonathan Carter and Kieron Powell, the addition of opener Sunil Ambris and the return of Jerome Taylor.
The selection comes on the back of a truce between the players and the board last month. The WICB President, Dave Cameron, issued a statement in July as below regarding the Darren issue and also declared that the policy maintained by the CWI (Cricket West Indies) was “unsustainable” as Director of Cricket Jimmy Adams stated.
CWI abandoned its policy regarding players appearing for regional cricket and things have seemingly eased out since then. The current selection also points towards the same. If they can manage to bring back more of these high profile players to the ODI setup, West Indies have hope. But for now this is a baby step, in the right direction, and they need to build better relationships between the board and players in order to function as one of the main cricketing nations.