West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) has often surprised cricket fans and pundits all over the world with its poor team selection and the illogical axing of experienced players. Moreover, the turmoil between the players and the board is not an unknown fact to the world. It has often been the main reason why West Indian players have decided to play franchise cricket over international cricket. But again, the WICB has axed those players from the national team intentionally even though those players wanted to fulfil national duty.
Most recently, Darren Sammy, the man who led West Indies to their second World T20 title in early 2016, was dropped from the national side without any explanation and is yet to feature in national colours again in any format whatsoever. Sammy’s axing was followed by that of Denesh Ramdin, a veteran who has played over 130 ODIs for his country in August 2016. And now WICB has gone in with a totally new squad for the three-match ODI series against England at home axing players like Marlon Samuels and Chris Gayle as well.
We have tried to compile a list of West Indies’ finest and most experienced players who have been left out of the squad and in the process, a ‘Missing XI’ has popped up that looks quite strong on paper to take on any team in the world.
1. Chris Gayle – A veteran of 269 ODIs with 9221 runs under his belt including 22 centuries and 47 half-centuries! He made his last appearance in national colours in West Indies’ World T20 winning campaign in 2016. However, he hasn’t featured in any of the series since then and has been dropped from this ongoing series against England also, due to his participation in the Pakistan Super League.
2. Johnson Charles – A fiery opener and a handy wicket-keeper, Charles has been left out of the squad on the back of a poor domestic 50-over competition. A hard-hitting and destructive batsman by nature, Charles can destroy any opposition single-handedly on his day.
3. Lendl Simmons – Another fine top-order batsman who hasn’t played any ODI since March 2015 (50-over World Cup in Australia) is Lendl Simmons. The last time he played in national colours was in the World T20 final last year. He has played many dependable knocks for the Windies over the years but still has been overlooked for a long time now.
4. Marlon Samuels – One of West Indies’ most experienced and dependable batsmen, Marlon Samuels, also had to face the axe as he played in the Pakistan Super League ignoring the domestic 50-over competition. A veteran of 187 ODIs with 5180 runs to his name, Samuels surely deserves better treatment.
5. Kieron Pollard – It is extremely difficult to keep Kieran Pollard, one of the most destructive all-rounders in cricket today, quiet in any game he plays. Yet, WICB axed him also as he played in the PSL. An experience of 101 ODIs surely doesn’t matter much, right?!
6. Dwayne Bravo – The 'Champion' of West Indies cricket, Dwayne Bravo has been left out of the squad as he is recovering from a hamstring injury. But, had he been fit, he would have been playing in the PSL and hence would have automatically been sidelined as well.
7. Andre Russell – Another destructive Windies all-rounder on the list is Andre Russell, who is facing a one year ban for a doping violation. If he would not have been banned, then again he would have been playing in the PSL making an automatic reason to be excluded from the national squad.
8. Denesh Ramdin – Ramdin is West Indies’ most experienced wicket-keeper at present with 139 ODIs to his name but hasn’t been considered for the national squad since last playing in August 2016.
9. Ravi Rampaul – A man with 117 wickets to his name in 92 ODIs is surely unfortunate not to be considered for a national call-up. Constant negligence on the part of the WICB has forced him to sign Kolpak deal with Surrey.
10. Suleimann Benn – One of those surprising decisions by the WICB again is axing Suleimann Benn who claimed 18 wickets in the domestic 50-over competition. Although 39 wickets in 47 matches doesn’t speak much in favour of a left-arm spinner but he was surely worth to be considered on recent form in home conditions.
11. Sunil Narine – One doesn’t need to speak much about ‘The Magician’. A match winer in his wn right, Narine was again dropped as he played in the PSL.
12th Man: Samuel Badree – Would you believe me if I tell you that the No.3 ranked T20I bowler in the world hasn’t played any ODIs yet?! No? But, this is the harsh reality.