Former captain Darren Sammy expressed his fear for the future of Windies cricket, feeling the current treacherous mood behind the scenes won’t encourage players to stop turning towards a more lucrative, and hassle-free franchise-based T20 cricket. While most of Windies stars ply their trade all around the world in T20 leagues, and rather successfully, Windies cricket – particularly in the 50-over and Test format – is enduring a rapid decline. Sammy’s forecast of the future is thus, understandably grim.
“The way we structure our cricket, we’re not going anywhere,” Sammy told BBC Radio Five Live on Monday (June 19). “I’m very scared we will be relegated to be playing against Ireland and Scotland. It’s very sad for us. I can’t tell a player not to play in a league when it could make them financially stable to look after their family.”
The WICB has been at constant loggerheads with some of its best players – owing to pay disputes and other disciplinary issues. Back in October 2014, West Indies boycotted an ODI tour of India midway through it due to a long-standing tussle between the players, the board and the players’ association over the pay structure. Dwayne Bravo, the captain of the side then, hasn’t featured in an ODI since. Time and again, big personalities like Kieron Pollard have found themselves clashing with the board and finding themselves out of reckoning for the national side. While Pollard and the likes have kept their careers going via T20 leagues, the progress of the national team has stalled. Sammy too has been at the receiving end of WICB’s wrath, after his emotional speech following triumph at the ICC World T20 2016 against the administrators. Expectedly, Sammy hasn’t donned West Indian colours since.
“With the current administration I don’t see that [return of big names] happening,” Sammy said. Windies have already missed out on a major ICC event – the recently-concluded Champions Trophy – owing to their lowly standing in the ODI rankings (9th). Having drawn the series against Afghanistan 1-1, their task of making a direct entry into the 2019 World Cup has gotten complicated as they need to find favourable results against India in the forthcoming series before the cut-off date of September 30 for the World Cup qualification.
“If you really have West Indies cricket at heart you will have the right players for all the formats playing and helping you get to tournaments,” he added ahead of their upcoming tour of England,” Sammy stated, although West Indies have named a 13-man squad for the first two of the five-match series against India – bereft of the big names like Pollard and Bravo. The series begins on June 23.