West Indies’ big guns back in the frame after amnesty deal
THE West Indies board has reached an agreement with the players’ union for a “temporary amnesty”, paving the way for Chris Gayle, Sunil Narine and its other leading cricketers, to return to the national one-day international side.
Players have been embroiled in contractual disputes with Cricket West Indies (CWI) for several years, with the team even abandoning a tour of India midway through their 2014 series over a payment structure row.
CWI currently only selects players for the international sides if they feature in the same format in domestic competitions. This policy has led to many high-profile players being absent from the ODI side as they skipped the domestic 50-over tournament in order to take part in lucrative overseas Twenty20 leagues.
The agreement could see players like Gayle, Narine, Dwayne Bravo, Kieron Pollard and Samuel Badree, who feature regularly in T20 leagues across the world, returning to the West Indies 50-overs side.
West Indies have had little success outside the shortest format and their weakened 50-overs side missed out on qualification for the recent Champions Trophy, played among the top eight teams in world cricket.
They are ranked ninth in ODIs and could also miss out on automatic qualification for the 2019 World Cup in England and Wales.
The top eight sides in the rankings at the September 30 cut-off, including hosts England, earn automatic berths, with the rest required to go through a qualification tournament to make up the 10-team event.
“We recognise that it is highly unlikely that we will now automatically qualify for the 2019 World Cup,” CWI chief executive Johnny Grave said in a statement. “So whilst the qualifying tournament has yet to be confirmed by ICC, we may only have eight ODIs against England and New Zealand in the next six months to prepare.
“It is crucial that we can have our best-performing Windies players available for selection in these important games.” — Reuters