West Indies first! Board CEO stresses that policy remain intact for regional players
PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad (CMC):
THE West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) has insisted that its West Indies First policy remain intact despite the decision by two players not to be considered for selection for the Test series against Bangladesh starting this weekend.
Former chairman of selectors, Michael Findlay, had challenged a WICB statement which said the players' decision would have no adverse effect on their future selection.
However, board CEO Michael Muirhead said the governing body had to take responsibility for this particular situation.
"We have never played cricket this late in the season," Muirhead told the Express.
"Normally, players are on leave, and we have infringed on that break and it happens that it also clashes with the Champions League," he explained.
A notable omission from the 13-man squad announced on Friday was off-spinner Sunil Narine, who is expected to represent Indian Premier League (IPL) champions Kolkata Knight Riders in the Champions League Twenty20, which runs from September 13 to October 14 in India.
He will be joined by Jamaica all-rounder André Russell, who also opted out of consideration for the upcoming series to represent Knight Riders in the Champions League.
"None of the other nations committed to playing in that (Champions League) window," said Muirhead.
"We felt we would not seek to penalise any player. It's still Windies first; we are very strong on that."
Muirhead described the scheduling of the Bangladesh series as an "anomaly".
"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."
However, the CEO has insisted that the board's Windies First policy would be in full effect for the West Indies series against England next year.
"Next year during the IPL, we will be playing England and it (leniency) would certainly not hold for that," he stressed.
" ...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."