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West Indies Players Associations (WIPA) President Wavell Hinds and Cricket West Indies (CWI) Directors were either silent or gave mixed messages in response to board president Dave Cameron's threat to T&T trio Kieron Pollard, Darren Bravo and Sunil Narine, that they may not play for Windies again.
Speaking to Jamaican Network TVJ Sports on January 25, Cameron made these controversial remarks after the three players chose to play in Pakistan Super League over World Cup Qualifiers: "We asked them to do the math and balance, give us an opportunity and play for us this time.
"We were very disappointed about it (players' decision) and the board in its wisdom, feels that after this World Cup - the qualifiers - we'll probably not invite those players to be a part of Cricket West Indies going forward."
However, he took a different view towards his countryman Andre Russell. "I think he (Russell) has presented a reasonably good case for the amount of 50 overs cricket at this point in time.
"While he will play the Super50, he will not play the qualifiers but we believe he should be available for Cricket West Indies going forward."
T&T Cricket Board President Azim Bassarath defended the players and knocked back Cameron's statement in a January 28th news article.
"Mr. Cameron in his personal capacity and as president cannot speak on behalf of the board. That mater was never brought before the entire board. For him to give the impression that he is speaking on behalf of the board, I can't agree with his statement."
Bassarath added, "How the board is constructed he does not have a say in who represents West Indies. That is for the selectors to decide. It is not for Dave Cameron to decide who plays for West Indies.
"It's not correct for Cameron to come out and speak about players like that. That is not encouragement or motivation for top players to come back and play for West Indies."
Hinds: Selection must be independent, transparent
Contacted by Cricbuzz, WIPA president Wavell Hinds while not stating when asked whether he agreed or disagreed with Cameron's statement, said: "WIPA will continue to ensure that the process for selection to ALL West Indies (Windies) Men's and Women's Team are rooted and guided by CWI's selection policy as so approved by its board of directors.
"The execution of the selection policy MUST reside with an independent, transparent, fair and fearless panel, duly appointed by CWI board of directors."
Jamaica director Donovan Bennett stated his agreement with Cameron. "I have to agree (with Cameron), I don't think he made a definitive statement. He said the possibility exists that they may not play, but I would want to support Cameron on that view," said Bennett.
"Yes, he (Azim Bassarath) is right also, any decision like that would have to go to board for ratification - but I don't think that precludes the president from stating his personal opinion.
"There is no way we can continue like this, some of these guys (have) been unavailable for maybe two years making all sorts of excuses, but at the same time using local competition to sharper skills, facilities to keep themselves fit at great cost to us," Bennett added.
"But when times comes around for them to represent the region, they are not available. And I'm particularly upset at present situation because Windies cricket is at a crossroads, fighting for survival.
"We are trying to qualify for a global event, for the first time - so in a scenario like that for players to make themselves unavailable for whatever reason, I have a problem with that."
Riley wants to revisit amnesty
Barbados Director Conde Riley was elusive also but noted he would like to see the amnesty revisited.
"The idea was we (board) recognize players are trying to secure their future, so we (board) would meet you half way and ask you (players) if you are available to play for the West Indies," said Riley.
"So, I, as a director, am disappointed that we won't have them, but at the same time, I understand that they are trying to secure their futures and I have no problem with that.
"What we have to do though, as a board, is revisit the amnesty and have another sit down with players. It hasn't worked as well as we would have hoped, but I hope going forward we can get the guys on board," Riley reasoned.
"I want players to be forthright and comfortable, if they want to play in T20 leagues, say so but also give back a bit. This thing about the board being anti-player I'm past that.
"Carlos Brathwaite recently went to Big Bash (and) was back for Barbados in the ongoing Super50 and will be off to Zimbabwe. That's the sort of commitment I would like to see from all players across the region and not have a fight over it.
"We recognize that we have given a window for all players to go to IPL because that's the most lucrative league. But at times we will ask them to represent West Indies since they came through all our youth development setups.
"This is not about giving back to the board, but the young players who will gain a lot from their experience."
CWI director refuses to comment
Cricbuzz also contacted the director's quartet of Guyana - Anand Sanasie and Anand Kalladeen - along with Windwards Islands duo Julian Charles from St Lucia and Kishore Shallow from St.Vincent and the Grenadines. All declined to comment.
Billy Heaven (Jamaica), Enoch Lewis and Denrick Liburb (both Leewards Islands) could not be reached.
Observing the situation FICA executive chairman Tony Irish noted how this latest Windies players and board standoff could have great implications in world cricket.
"Without commenting on the specifics of the West Indies situation the problem is a forerunner of what is to come more widely in world cricket if the current cricket structure continues," said Irish.
"This is a free agency issue and as we all know West Indies is the first cricket nation to be hit by the real challenges of player-free agency. Similar situations will arise for other countries in time unless a proper balance is found between the traditional player market and the new player market.
"FICA flagged these types of issues a long time ago. The answer doesn't lie in attempting to restrict or to punish players, and CWI won't solve these types of issues on its own. Proper balance in the structure requires global will and global action."
(SOURCE - Cricbuzz)
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