WICB president says World Cup squad picked on merit
St George's (Grenada), Jan 12 (IANS) West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) president Dave Cameron has rejected claims that all-rounders Dwayne Bravo and Kieron Pollard were axed from the World Cup squad because of their roles in the controversial abandoned tour of India.
Neither player was named in the 15-member squad on Saturday to contest the World Cup, which bowls off in Australia and New Zealand next month. They were also overlooked for the five-match series against South Africa starting this Friday,
When the squad for South Africa was announced last month, St Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves wrote to Cameron to complain that the WICB had "dishonoured that undertaking" of not punishing any player involved in the India tour walk-out.
However, Cameron remained adamant the One-Day Internationals (ODI) squads for both the South Africa tour and the World Cup were selected on merit.
"We have not gone back on our agreement. At the point in time we made it very clear we didn't want to use the terminology that was being suggested, because if you made any changes to the team then that could be termed," Cameron said Sunday.
"And so we have been very, very firm that as a body we have entrusted that relationship and that decision making to some of the biggest legends we have in West Indies cricket and their judgement is what the board goes by."
He added: "We have not disciplined anybody. If you talk about non-cricketing reasons, we have reviewed the task force report. As a matter of fact, we had a board meeting yesterday (Saturday) and what we have done is review the task force report and accepted a number of the recommendations for implementation."
The task force was established by the WICB to investigate the reasons behind the abandoned tour and make recommendations on the way forward.
Like the squad in South Africa, the World Cup unit will be skippered by rookie fast bowler Jason Holder who featured on the tour of India last October.
Gonsalves, who brokered an agreement between the players, the WICB and the West Indies Players Association (WIPA), in the wake of the abandoned tour, also contended in his two-page letter to Cameron that the omission of Bravo and Pollard "reeks of village vengeance, discrimination and victimisation" and slammed the decision as "glaringly [lacking] cricketing merit."
Cameron defended the squad selection, arguing that the selectors were embarking on a rebuilding process and infusing the ODI set-up with new blood.
"The team we have selected has a very good mix of experience, youth and a lot of talent. One would remember that the team four years ago didn't do very well in the World Cup and we are ranked number eight today so the selectors have decided they want to put some youth and build for the future and I think it is a very good balance," Cameron said.
On using the World Cup as a starting point for moulding a squad, Cameron argued: "That's a discussion one could have, whether you build for the future or try to win. We're ranked number eight today so realistically if you look at the numbers, we should come number eight, so one has to be very careful."
Pollard and Bravo boast 255 ODIs between them, and despite their unflattering statistics with bat and ball, are powerful batsmen and steady bowlers in the shorter versions of the game.