The West Indies Cricket Board has defended its decision not to sanction the players who have skipped the upcoming Test series against Bangladesh to play in the Champions League Twenty20 competition in India, but insists there is no wavering on its new West Indies First policy.
Last week, the WICB released the squad for the first Test against the Bangladeshis with the notice that “two players who were considered for selection to the Test squad have opted to play in the Champions League which has an ICC approved window on the international schedule. The players’ decisions will not have any deleterious effect on consideration for future West Indies selection.”
That statement has since been challenged by former chairman of selectors Michael Findlay who suggested that, “when the selectors are naming the team for the next series, they will certainly have to look at, we are not sure about this player, because he may choose to play somewhere else.”
However, CEO of the Board Michael Muirhead, said yesterday the governing body had to take responsibility for this particular situation.
“We have never played cricket this late in the season and normally players are on leave and we have infringed on that break and it happens that it also clashes with the Champions League,” Muirhead told the Express yesterday.
He added that, “none of the other nations committed to playing in that (Champions League) window. We felt we would not seek to penalise any player. It’s still Windies first, we are very strong on that.”
Asked why the Bangladesh series had been scheduled at this time, the CEO called the situation an “anomaly” and added: “We had to do some movement to accommodate CPL (Caribbean Premier League). There was some shifting in the scheduling and it just happened this way and we had no alternative.”
The Champions League is scheduled to run from September 13 to October 4.
Pressed as to the identity of the two players, Muirhead declined to name names, saying, I’d rather not say who those names are but you can deduce who those names are.”
However, the CEO insisted that the Board’s Windies First policy would be in full effect when England come to the Caribbean next year.
“Next year during the IPL we will be playing England and it (leniency) would certainly not hold for that ...We are informing players in advance about the schedule as to what their commitment to West Indies cricket is going forward, and we expect that decisions will be made to put West Indies cricket first.”