Oral Tracey | Return of ‘selfish’ Bravo another sign of West Indies rot
After approximately two and half years in the international cricket wilderness, Trinidadian all-rounder Dwayne Bravo made his return to the West Indies team for the just-concluded three-match T20 series against Ireland.
Surprisingly, the response to Bravo’s return has been sharply split between support and dissent.
The most prominent dissenting sentiment surrounding Bravo’s return is the view that Bravo had not played international cricket since 2018, and has also been out of all cricket, injured since early 2019, and was therefore in no credible game shape to merit walking straight into the West Indies team.
There is also a huge elephant in the room that contextualises Bravo’s initial non-selection and ensuing retirement in 2018, which did not unfold in a vacuum. He played a central role in perhaps the most controversial and embarrassing incident in the storied history of West Indies cricket, when he led that now-infamous walk off during the ill-fated 2014 tour of India.
Dave Cameron, the then Cricket West Indies Board president, notoriously shares the culpability in that woefully mismanaged contract dispute with the players, led by Bravo, which eventually led to the players abandoning the tour. However, the walk off was always too extreme and damaging an option to take. The players had a professional obligation to represent the region, the people and themselves, while seeking civilised channels to treat their disputes and disagreements with the board, away from the glaring lights of public scrutiny.
Regardless of one’s impression of Cameron as a leader and as a person, it is quite understandable why the leadership of the board would have lost the trust and confidence in the players on that tour, and especially Bravo as the leader of the group.
The Trinidadian was simply facing the consequences of his actions, which rendered as reasonable, Mr Cameron and his then board opting to look beyond Bravo and company towards a younger generation of West Indian cricketers with a different attitude, and different levels of commitment to take West Indies cricket forward.
Against that backdrop of not being selected on a consistent basis, Bravo took the conscious decision to officially walk away from West Indies cricket. He had options, such as continuing to play regional and franchise cricket, continuing to speak openly about his passion and desire to represent his dear West Indies. Bravo could have kept his options open and allow his performances to do the talking, instead he chose the finality of retirement.
Lo and behold, Dave Cameron is no longer the board president, and Bravo’s good friend and countryman is now the captain of the team. Bravo is all of a sudden loving West Indies cricket again. It does not add up. Not for the first time, Dwayne Bravo is being allowed the use of West Indies cricket at his own convenience.
Welcoming back Bravo to the fold with open arms, while appearing to be the correct political move by the new president, represents a further compromise of the standards and principles of West Indies cricket. We have rewarded Bravo for his selfishness and unprofessionalism. His coming out of retirement, and the ensuing stroll right back into the team are indices of how weak and broken the once-mighty institution has become.
The signs were evident by the debacle of that ill-fated Indian tour, and have subsequently continued. Dwayne Bravo was petty and selfish in 2014 as he grabbed up his marbles and ran away, now he is back with his marbles and, on his terms, is ready to play again. On principle, he should be ushered back into international obscurity, marbles and all.