Eight players from the controversial tour of India have been included in a full strength West Indies squad announced for the tour of South Africa, as selectors moved swiftly to erase any claims of victimisation.
The 15-man contingent will be led by regular captain Denesh Ramdin and includes Darren Bravo, Jason Holder, Leon Johnson, Kemar Roach, Marlon Samuels and Jerome Taylor. All of whom walked off the tour of India in a contracts row with their union, the West Indies Players Association, reports CMC.
However, in a bid to avoid a repeat of the chaotic situation that led to the players’ unprecedented action, the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) said it has given the players a week to sign match tour contracts.
“All players selected have been notified of their selection and that their selection is contingent upon their signing the Match Tour Contract which was sent to each player selected Tuesday, Nov 11,” the WICB said in a statement Wednesday.
“The deadline for the return of signed Match Tour Contracts to the WICB is 5 p.m. (ECT), Tuesday, Nov 18.”
It was the issue of match tour contracts that led to the chaos on the India tour, as West Indies players contended they would lose up to 75 percent of their earnings with the new agreement.
After lobbying WIPA and then the WICB without success, the players walked off the tour with two matches remaining to be played (One ODI and a T20). Their action also scuppered the three-Test series.
Subsequently, there has been widespread media speculation that Ramdin would be sacked as captain, and the players involved in the walk-out overlooked, but selectors have stuck with the Trinidadian as skipper and the leading names.
St. Vincent’s Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves, who intervened and mediated the dispute, said recently he had sought and gained assurances from the WICB that the players involved in the strike would not be victimised through the selection process.
Chairman of selectors Clive Lloyd said Wednesday it was always the intention of the selection panel to pick the best squad available to represent the region.
“Of course, at all times the selection panel aims to select the best and strongest team available,” the legendary former Test skipper said.
“We look forward to this squad giving a good account of themselves for the three Tests in South Africa.”
The tour is expected to be a difficult one for West Indies, especially coming off the fractious India tour, the subsequent dispute and also facing the world’s number one side.
Despite this, Lloyd said it was important that the Windies started the tour strongly.
“There is a significant amount of international cricket to be played over the next six months, including Test matches against some of the higher ranked teams in world cricket and as such it would be critical for the squad to get off on a positive note in South Africa,” Lloyd pointed out.
Squad: Denesh Ramdin (captain), Sulieman Benn, Jermaine Blackwood, Kraigg Brathwaite, Darren Bravo, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Sheldon Cottrell, Shannon Gabriel, Chris Gayle, Jason Holder, Leon Johnson, Kemar Roach, Marlon Samuels, Jerome Taylor, Chadwick Walton.