Dwayne Bravo's and Kieron Pollard's exclusion from World Cup squad "ridiculous": Chris Gayle
Destructive opening batsman Chris Gayle has criticised the West Indies selectors for omitting all-rounders Dwayne Bravo and Kieron Pollard from West Indies’ 15-member squad for the upcoming World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. Along with the World Cup, the duo wasn't named in the ODI squad for the series against South Africa as well.
Calling the decision “ridiculous”, the 35-year-old Jamaican said that he was hurt by the selectors’ decision to exclude the duo from the squad for the mega event.
"How can those two guys not be in the team?" Gayle asked at the post-match press conference in Johannesburg, after helping the West Indies claim victory in the three-match T20 series against South Africa with one match still to play. He scored a quick-fire 90 in the second T20 yesterday, thereby helping the West Indies chase down a record target of 232 from 20 overs.
"To me it got to be like victimisation when you look at it towards those two guys. Come on, guys. It is just ridiculous. Come on. Ridiculous. Really hurt. Ridiculous. Honestly, it throws me off. We can only talk. We can express our feelings, which I'm doing at this point in time. The squad already is announced. It is just sad,” he added.
Pollard and Bravo add a lot of value: Gayle
Gayle also said that their batting line--up will be weakened considerably without Bravo and Pollard, and they will be hampered on the field as well.
"It is a big batting line-up when you look at our team. But it's just disappointing when you look at the 50-over format - we won't be at our strongest.
"We don't have our strongest team without Pollard, nor Bravo. So that is actually sad for us. It is a really big blow for us to actually lose two key players, two key all-rounders as well, very good in the outfield. I don't know what's the history behind it, but it is a ridiculous selection from my point of view," the opener said.
He added that he was pleased with the side winning the three-match T20 series against South Africa with one match still to play, but expressed confusion over the direction in which the team was heading.
"I don't know where our cricket is actually going to …where we are heading with this sort of situation. But it is really sad. Actually we won the [Twenty20] series with our best team and now there will be changes, with two of our biggest players in ODI cricket not involved in the 50-over format and the World Cup. It really hurts, but I'm really really glad that we won the series for Pollard and Bravo," he said.
Shocked by the reason for their exclusion: Gayle
Gayle was further taken aback when he was the informed by Bravo that the reason for their exclusion was that the selectors were looking to rebuild the side.
"Bravo said to me, to be honest with you, the team they selected for the World Cup is actually to re-build for the next World Cup, which I can't understand. Basically what they are telling us: we are not going to win the World Cup [but] build for the next World Cup which is really ridiculous," he said.
West Indies start their World Cup campaign against Ireland at the Saxton Oval in Nelson, New Zealand, on February 16.