Darren Bravo appears to have rejected the chance of a return to the West Indies side by launching a claim for damages against the WICB.
Bravo, who has not played for West Indies since he was sent home from Zimbabwe in November 2016 following his criticism of board president, Dave Cameron, is claiming lost earnings of around USD120,000 based upon what he could have made from ODIs against Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka, BPL and PSL contracts, and regional Caribbean competitions.
The claim has come as a surprise to officials at WICB who believed they were on the verge of a reconciliation with Bravo. They are also surprised at the suggestion he was prevented from playing in the BPL or PSL as no application for an NOC (no objection certificate) was made ahead of either tournament and, when Bravo did apply for such a certificate ahead of the IPL, it was granted immediately.
“It is true that Darren has initiated legal action against us,” WICB chief executive Johnny Grave told ESPNcricinfo. “It has come as a surprise as I was under the impression we had agreed a way back for him. I’m very disappointed and yes, a bit frustrated.”
Grave believed he had made significant progress towards resolving the stand-off with Bravo. Having inherited the disagreement when he was appointed at the start of this year, Grave gained agreement from Cameron over a partial apology to Bravo (the president is prepared to acknowledge he was wrong to suggest Bravo had ever received a Grade A contract from WICB). He also thought he had agreed on the wording of an apology from Bravo to the president with Bravo’s legal advisors. Indeed, he was hoping news of Bravo’s reconciliation could be announced during the ODI series against England with a view to him playing in the Test series against Pakistan.
As things stand, though, Bravo’s tweet calling the president a “big idiot” has not been deleted and the apology has not been made public by Bravo. The launching of legal proceedings against the board on the eve of West Indies’ series against Pakistan suggest a conflict still exists.
“I just want what is best for West Indies cricket,” Grave said. “And having the best players available is part of that. Of course a player of Darren’s experience would be an asset.
“I thought everything was agreed with his legal advisors. We didn’t want this to play out publicly but yes, it is true, his attorney is asking for damages and West Indies supporters deserve an explanation as to why he is not in the squad in Jamaica.
“There is still a lot of sympathy for Darren. He was frustrated at the time of that tweet and we understand that. We want to move on and we want to move on with him. But that issue does have to be resolved before he can play for West Indies.
“We have a talented young side who are working hard and have a great attitude. They may lack a bit of experience right now, but we’re playing a lot of cricket this year and we hope that will help them progress. If Darren wants to be part of that, he is welcome. You’d have to ask him whether he does.
“The door remains open for Darren. We would love him to be playing for us and we will continue to work towards that. But I am scratching my head at this point wondering what more we can do.”
One of the causes of disagreement between the board and the players in recent times has been the insistence that they should be available to play in domestic cricket in order to be considered eligible for the West Indies sides. While there is yet to be any formal announcement of a change in that policy, both Grave and new director of cricket, Jimmy Adams, have hinted they are in favour of a more flexible approach and it is likely a change will be confirmed in October when the new central contracts are announced. It is also likely WICB will bring in separate red- and white-ball contracts.
It is also understood there will be no clash between West Indies’ international schedule and the IPL in 2018 or 2019. That would allow players to sign contracts with the WICB (worth somewhere in the region of USD130,000) and appear in the most lucrative T20 league. Bravo has an IPL contract with Kolkata Knight Riders worth around USD74,000 though he is yet to appear in this year’s tournament.