That’s how cricket administrator Conde Riley has described an outburst by West Indies opener Chris Gayle, critical of the West Indies Cricket Board selectors’ decision to omit batting all-rounders Dwayne Bravo and Kieron Pollard from the 15-man squad for next month’s ICC World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.
Following West Indies’ victory in the international T20 match against South Africa at the Wanderers Ground yesterday, the belligerent Jamaican left-hander launched a verbal attack on the selectors during a post-match conference. He not only suggested that Bravo and Pollard had been victimized, but he also noted that the selectors had not chosen the best possible team.
“There’s no way you can tell me those guys shouldn’t be in the team. For me it’s got to be victimisation towards those two guys. Come on guys, it’s just ridiculous. Honestly, it choked me up . . . Bravo said to me the team they selected is to build for the next World Cup, which I can’t understand. What they’re telling us then, is this team selected is not going there to win the World Cup. Building for the next World Cup is ridiculous. I cannot understand what Bravo told me. . .I don’t know where our cricket is heading with this sort of situation. It’s really sad,” Gayle said.
Riley told Barbados TODAY that chairman of selectors Clive Lloyd and his team had chosen the West Indies squad and Gayle was calling their judgement into question while representing the region in South Africa.
“The selectors have chosen a team which they believe is the best to represent the West Indies at the World Cup and he [Gayle] must respect that,” Riley said.
The former WICB director said he could not understand what the furore was all about and noted that over his past 20 One-Day Internationals, Pollard had averaged about 17 and was principally a T20 player. Riley said he had no problems with the West Indies selectors giving opportunities to other young regional players.
Following the selection of the team, Lloyd had expressed full confidence in the squad.
”I believe we have selected a very good team that will do West Indies proud at the World Cup. We have a good mixture of some good, seasoned players and some good youngsters who will fly the West Indies flag in Australia and New Zealand. If they play to their potential, I am quite sure we will do very well. I have really high hopes in this team. I believe they can do something special. We have the talent, and if we can play to our potential, we have a very good chance of lifting that trophy,” Lloyd said.
Bravo and Pollard, both averaging in the mid-20s after 255 One-Day Internationals between them, were vocal members of the side that abandoned the tour of India in October 2014 over a contract dispute. Bravo, who was captain at the time, also acted as the players’ representative and was at the forefront of the battle with the WICB and players’ union, WIPA.
It is unclear whether Gayle will face disciplinary action. He previously was out of West Indies cricket for more than a year after critical remarks directed at the WICB and then team coach Ottis Gibson during a radio talk show in Jamaica in 2011.