Windies all-rounder Kieron Pollard has said that the Cricket Winides’ chairman and the board’s behaviour since amnesty has made it very clear to them that CWI had no interest in picking them for the World Cup qualifiers.
Courtney Browne, the chairman of selectors, had recently said that Pollard, Sunil Narine, Darren Bravo and Andre Russell had all opted out of the qualifiers as “their priority was playing in the Pakistan Super League.”
Pollard, however, accused CWI of poor communication and sending him mixed messages regarding his West Indies future.
The all-rounder said he was perplexed that CWI sought out players to play in the qualifiers only in January, which was some time after he had secured his Big Bash League and Pakistan Super League contracts.
“Despite performing well in the 2016 tri-series, when I was handed a recall, where [the] team got to final, for the next series in Dubai Denesh Ramdin and I were dropped, with selectors saying I showed no ‘commitment to batting’,” Pollard told Cricbuzz.
“Now, after only playing two of the 11 West Indies ODI series since 2015 World Cup, suddenly after months of either zero or limited communication about my ODI future, you (selectors) want me to drop everything and play qualifiers.”
“These are the ridiculous situations they consistently put players in, then they go to media with the clear attempt to paint us as money hungry mercenaries and (say that we are) not committed to West Indies cricket.”
Pollard highlighted the muddled squad selections for both the England and New Zealand tours as evidence of the aforementioned point.
“When the selectors picked that team in England, while Chris Gayle and Marlon Samuels were recalled, the Bravo brothers and Narine were contacted about playing – I wasn’t,” he continued. “I was told initially that they were not going to pick me for the T20 game and that only captain Carlos Brathwaite would be flown in.”
This, Pollard noted, left him confused about his future and he began to deliberate his next course of action.
Pollard said he sought out the chairman of selectors to try and identify what path was laid out before him. He wanted to know if he was in CWI’s ODI and T20I plans, or if he was free to play T20 league cricket outside.
“I told the chairman I am a grown man and have decisions to make. I wasn’t demanding that he pick me, just wanted clarity on if I can now seek to play T20 leagues freely and not expect to be picked. And, whether there were different rules for players in this amnesty,” said Pollard.
“Suddenly after that two months of poor communication, the board changed its mind and said they are picking T20 players for England and Browne said in his conversation with the other selectors that I was now ‘available’ for 50-over and T20 selection for the series in New Zealand.
“This indecision was one of the reasons Samuel Badree didn’t play and went to Pakistan with the World XI. That’s the madness that goes on behind the scenes which people don’t know about.”
Despite all the drama, Pollard, like most senior players, was waiting to see what would happen with the new contracts and tentatively began making plans with Trinidad & Tobago to play in the Super50 and first-class cricket.
However, this plan too did not come to fruition.
“Remember, selectors said I was ‘available’, but I was in the end only picked in T20Is. At this point, my PSL contract was secured and while it was known by then West Indies would be in qualifiers, no dates were set.
“So, I contacted the Trinidad coach and told him of my early plan to play some part in the Super50 and the four-day games. At that stage, I was not approached by Big Bash until Narine pulled out,” Pollard explained.
“I pulled out of New Zealand series due to personal reasons which needed my attention in Trinidad, then the Big Bash deal came.
“I was also observing the Darren Bravo selection madness where CWI said it has a policy where Super50 players can only be replaced in squads if they are being called up for West Indies duty.
“Based on that I told coach Kelvin Williams to not disadvantage the team, and scrap the plan for me to play,” Pollard recalled.
The 30-year-old also revealed how Browne only gave the players four days (January 3 – January 7) to confirm their availability for the qualifiers. He found it ridiculous given how CWI had known of his plans since September.
“All I said was I can’t play Super50. This clearly ruled me out of being chosen for the qualifiers. But, two weeks later (there were) big headlines questioning our commitment,” added Pollard.
“He (Browne) didn’t say ‘you can’t play full Super50, fine, let’s talk about maybe playing a few games. You are making a dollar there, (but) we need you for qualifiers here. Make a suggestion.
“But no, these guys want to use the cricketers, pick and drop us when they want. My choice to get all these (T20 Leagues) contracts was a meticulous process for [the] last six months in response to the board’s communication or lack thereof.”
Pollard concluded by noting the precedent was set by the board when they clashed with players during the early days of the IPL. That, he felt, has snowballed into the standoff now.
“When we players saw immediately that IPL was going to blow up in 2008, all we asked for [was] one window the play in it and they fought us. Only recently West Indies stopped playing home season internationals during IPL months, while most boards did so long ago.
“Now you have eight or nine leagues, it would have been easier for us to compromise if that was done initially with the IPL. That’s the poor vision of the West Indies board in the last decade.
“So how can Caribbean people sit on their computers and phones and say and believe we are not committed to West Indies given all that board has done?”