Kingstown (St. Vincent): St. Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves called on the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) to reverse its decision to axe three senior players, including former captain Dwayne Bravo, from the West Indies One Day International (ODI) squad.
In a two-page letter to WICB president Dave Cameron and copied to regional leaders as well as the president of the West Indies Players Association (WIPA), Wavell Hinds, the St. Vincent and the Grenadines prime minister Wednesday said the WICB had given an undertaking that the players would not be victimised following the controversial tour of India earlier this year, reports CMC.
Gonsalves reminded Cameron of the meeting held in Trinidad and Tobago to resolve the issues surrounding the aborted tour of India and the "solemn undertaking by the WICB" that the selection of the teams (Test, One Day, T-20) for the imminent tour of South Africa would be done on merit from the available pool of players, including the "India 14".
"Your solemn undertaking was honoured by the WICB in the selection of the test team for South Africa. But it is evident to all objective observers that the WICB has dishonoured that undertaking in respect of the recently announced touring party for the One-Day International series in South Africa," Gonsalves wrote in the letter that was also copied to Queen's Counsel Ralph Thorne, the players representatives and Caribbean Community (CARICOM) secretary general Irwin La Rocque.
Cameron said earlier this week that the decision by the board to approve a recommendation for rookie fast bowler Jason Holder to be appointed new one-day captain was unanimous.
WICB selectors, chaired by Clive Lloyd, recommended the 23-year-old Barbados pacer Jason Holder as the captain of the ODI squad ahead of the five-match series against South Africa and just two months before the ICC World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.
Holder takes over the reins of team from seasoned all-rounder Bravo, who has been sacked after just 19 months in charge and also dropped from the 15-member squad named to face the South Africans.
Holder has played one Test and 21 One-Day Internationals since making his international debut in February last year.
In his letter, which was released to the media, PM Gonsalves said the "peremptory removal" of Bravo from the captaincy and the non selection of Kieron Pollard and Darren Sammy "reeks of village vengeance, discrimination and victimisation".
Sammy has since been recalled to the team, but Gonsalves said: "it is inconceivable that on the cusp of the World Cup, such a decision of folly could have been made or embraced. Since the decision glaringly lacks cricketing merit, reasonable persons are left to conclude that there is more in "the mortar beside the pestle'."
Gonsalves said he is also aware that the excuse is trotted out by the administrators of West Indies cricket that the selection of the ODI team is done by selectors and not the WICB itself.
"The sensible answer to this formalistic doctrine is that there is not such a wall of separation between the WICB and the selectors as to amount to a suicide pact," he said.
"At the end of the day you and the WICB are responsible for this farce which is injurious to West Indies cricket."