The big-ticket Windies cricketers could be back in action soon after Cricket West Indies (CWI) confirmed on Monday (July 17) that they have reached an agreement towards a temporary player amnesty.
CWI, however, said the agreement would be based on existing rules, which necessitate players to make themselves available for the domestic tournaments in the formats of international cricket they wished to play.
The development came after Johnny Grave, the CWI chief executive officer, met with the West Indies Players Association (WIPA). A working group of the CWI cricket committee will now present their findings on players’ eligibility criteria by the end of the month and their recommendations will be tabled in September at the meeting of the board of directors.
The board added that the players would be available for selection while the recommendations were being chalked out.
“The agreement forms part of a wider strategy to be more inclusive and to improve player relations aimed at re-engaging all players within our system so that they can perform at their best for the Windies teams,” said Grave.
Grave went on to add that the decision was taken to give Windies the best chance of qualifying for the 2019 50-over World Cup, while conceding that direct qualification for the tournament was “highly unlikely” for the team.
“We recognise that it is highly unlikely that we will now automatically qualify for the 2019 World Cup, so whilst the qualifying tournament [in 2018] 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,” he said. “It is crucial that we can have our best performing Windies players available for selection in these important games.”
Dave Cameron, the CWI president, said that a player registration process would be formed by October to ensure players show commitment to the national side.
“Also to come on stream is a registration process which will seek to “compile the full list of all players in the Windies system, male and female and all age groups,” he said. “This will show commitment on the part of the players to be available for the format/s of the game they wish to play; a commitment to participate in the regional set-up and to honour the system to be in place by then. Ideally we must be able to identify the full slate and categories of players we have in the West Indies.”
Among the star players who have not been in the mix, Chris Gayle was selected to play in the one-off Twenty20 International against India recently, and later said, “Things are beginning to open up a little more now, between players and the board. It’s looking good, we’ve to try and build from this to get the best players out on the field. I can’t get into specific details. Just from the little I’ve experienced since coming back, there is still more discussions to be done. From a personal point of view, I’ll have to be monitored as well, playing for the West Indies. It’s positive. That’s the good thing about it. We’ve to just look to carry on from here.”
That was on July 13, and was followed by CWI announcing that Darren Bravo’s reintegration into Windies cricket had been formalised after the batsman apologised to the board and to Cameron for his Twitter outburst in November last year.
Windies are currently ranked No. 9 in the ICC ODI rankings and will have to get into the top eight by September to ensure direct qualification for the World Cup.