Bravo, Pollard off Windies World Cup Squad

Cricket with Dalchand Bissoon 

Kieron Pollard – axed from the squad.
Kieron Pollard – axed from the squad.

The West Indies Cricket Board selection panel headed by former West Indies captain Clive Lloyd announced the 15-man squad for the ICC World Cup 2015 to be played in Australia and New Zealand from Feb. 14 to March 29.

As expected, experienced campaigners and former one-day captain Dwayne Bravo and team-mate Kieron Pollard were axed from the squad.

Bravo was recently replaced as one-day captain and was also dropped from the ODI squad against South Africa which is to start tomorrow (Jan. 16). Pollard was also omitted but both played in the T20 matches.

Bravo has appeared in 164 ODIs scoring 2,968 runs at an average of 25.36 and has taken 199 wickets, an average of 29.51, since making his debut against England at Georgetown, Guyana, in 2004. Pollard has played in 91 ODIs and has scored 2,042 runs, an average of 35.20, and collected 44 wickets, an average of 38.11, since his debut against South Africa at St. George’s Grenada, in 2007.

According to the Chief Selector, “I believe we have selected a very good team which will do West Indies proud at the World Cup. We have a good mixture of some good seasoned players and some good youngsters who will fly the West Indies flag in Australia and New Zealand,” said Lloyd.

However, the selectors were criticized by several cricket fans for the omission of these two world-class players from the ODI side against South Africa and the World Cup squad, and called it “victimisation”.

Both players were members of the Windies ODI team which abandoned the tour of India last October over a contract dispute with the WICB and the WIPA. Bravo as captain then, acted as the players” representative.

Chris Gayle, who has played in 258 ODI for the West Indies, slammed the WICB and the selection panel for dropping the two senior players from the ODI series and the World Cup squad. He called the move “ridiculous” and also felt it was a case of “victimisation”.

“How can those guys not be in the team? We don’t have our strongest team without Bravo and Pollard. It is a really a big blow for us to actually lose two key allrounders,” said Gayle.

West Indies will do battle in Group B at the prestigious World Cup alongside Ireland, Pakistan, India, South Africa, United Arab Emirates and Zimbabwe.

The full squad: Jason Holder (captain), Marlon Samuels (vice-captain), Sulieman Benn, Darren Bravo, Jonathan Carter, Sheldon Cottrell, Christopher Gayle, Sunil Narine, Denesh Narine, Kemar Roach, Andre Russell, Darren Sammy, Lendi Simmons, Dwayne Smith and Jerome Taylor.

Meanwhile, the WICB directors last Saturday approved 12 central retainer contracts for the following players: Sulieman Benn, Kraigg Brathwaite, Darren Bravo, Dwayne Bravo, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Jason Holder, Denesh Ramdin, Kemar Roach, Andre Russell, Darren Sammy, Marlon Samuels and Jerome Taylor.

Chris Gayle and Sunil Narine were offered annual retainer contracts but they declined.

The contracts cover the period Oct. 1, 2014, to Sept. 30, 2015.