Chief executive officer of Cricket West Indies (CWI) Johnny Grave has explained why the cricketers selected to play for the regional team in the imminent World Cup were allowed to continue playing in the Indian Premier League (IPL) even though they were named in the World Cup squad.
While England, South Africa and Australia recalled their players from the IPL who were selected for their World Cup squad, CWI did not follow suit, and Chris Gayle, Evin Lewis, Andre Russell, Carlos Brathwaite, Nicholas Pooran, Shimron Hetmeyer and Oshane Thomas were allowed to complete their stints in the world’s most lucrative Twenty20 tournament.
“Before the players went into the IPL draft, we had to confirm to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) the availability of our players, and throughout he discussions we had with our players dating back to when I joined Cricket West Indies with Jimmy Adams (CWI director of cricket) back in 2017, we spoke about trying to find a balance between playing for the West Indies and having the opportunities to play in other leagues to maximize the players’ earnings.
“It is true that we guaranteed the players that we would give them the full IPL and Caribbean Premier League ((CPL) windows moving forward. While it was important that we got that balance, it was also important in terms of building trust with the players that maintained our commitment to them to give the full IPL window,” Grave told Barbados TODAY in a telephone interview.
“I think if we had not given the players the full IPL window, we would not have had 13 cricketers playing in this year’s IPL. I am certain everyone has read the comments from the England, Australian, New Zealand and South African players that took part in the IPL in which they stated how much playing in the league helped to prepare them for the World Cup, in terms of playing in front of big crowds with millions of people watching on television and playing in high pressure situations,” the CEO added.
Grave said originally the West Indies had two warm-up matches scheduled against South Africa and New Zealand prior to their first World Cup game against Pakistan, but CWI has arranged an extra fixture against Australia at the Rose Bowl next week as part of their pre-World Cup camp before heading to Bristol for the two official warm-up games.
In terms of the West Indies preparation specifically for the series against Bangladesh and Ireland, Grave said it was great for the team.
“The series has given preparation to the players who were not participating in IPL. They would not have played any cricket since March. It also means that fringe players who may well be called up should any member of the World Cup squad receive any injuries got the opportunity to play in foreign conditions,” Grave said.
Grave stated that he was pleased with the West Indie main preparation for the World Cup.
“I am happy that we have three warm- up games and two weeks of preparation before our first game. We are very conscious that the World Cup is a very long tournament; it is nine ODIs in 35 days. We want to make sure that our players are peaking for those games, so getting the balance between how many warm-up games the team play and how long it is prepared to face up to English conditions is a fine balance. I think the additional game we have organized at the Rose Ball against Australia, plus the two warm-up games the team will play in Bristol and the two weeks they have to get fully acclimatized and get used to the conditions, is the best preparation that they could get,” Grave said.