Cricket West Indies announces temporary player amnesty
ST JOHN'S, Antigua (CMC):
The region's stars are now likely to return to international cricket after Cricket West Indies yesterday announced a temporary player amnesty, the first step towards scrapping the contentious eligibility rule.
CWI's chief executive, Johnny Grave, said that a working group of the Cricket Committee were expected to present recommendations on the rule to the Board of Directors shortly, which would be discussed at a meeting in September.
In the interim, Grave said, all "registered players" would be eligible for selection.
"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 Team," Grave said.
The move by CWI comes with West Indies almost certainly set to miss out on automatic qualification for the 2019 World Cup in England.
Superstar opener Chris Gayle has not played since the 2015 World Cup while all-rounder Dwayne Bravo has not suited up since the controversial abandoned tour of India three years ago.
SITTING ON THE SIDELINES
Former Test, one-day and Twenty20 captain Darren Sammy and energetic all-rounder AndrÈ Russell have also sat on the sidelines for the last two years - even though the latter has been serving a one-year suspension for an anti-doping "whereabouts" violation since last January.
Batsman Marlon Samuels was also barred from selection this year because he did not play the full Regional Super50.
The eligibility rule stipulates that players must make themselves available for the domestic tournament in which they wish to represent West Indies. However, those domestic tournaments usually clash with lucrative global T20 leagues.
Recently, incoming director of cricket, Jimmy Adams, described the rule as unsustainable and said it "might not be helping our cricket in the short and long term."