. . . but Bravo opts out for personal reasons
The West Indies tour of South Africa will go ahead after 14 West Indies players selected for the series signed their match/tour contracts by today’s 5 p.m. deadline, but left-handed batting star Darren Bravo has withdrawn from the 15-man squad in a surprise move.
Both developments were confirmed by the West Indies Cricket Board who it thanked the players for their “timely and positive responses and looks forward to a successful tour of South Africa”.
The board also said that Bravo had opted out the three-Test series because of “personal reasons”, and added that a replacement player would be announced shortly.
“Darren Bravo wrote to hairman of Selectors Clive Lloyd and requested not to be considered for the Test series due to personal reasons,” the board said in a statement.
“The WICB extends its best wishes to Bravo as he seeks to address his personal matters and looks forward to his return to the game.”
Bravo, the younger brother of One-Day captain Dwayne Bravo, has been a key member of the West Indies top order in recent years. The attractive left-hander has so far compiled 2311 runs from 32 Tests at a healthy average of 43, and has already been tipped to carry the Windies batting in the future.
The 25-year-old was one of the players who walked off the tour of India last month because of a contracts dispute with players union, WIPA.
Controversy subsequently surrounded Bravo again after he was left out of Trinidad and Tobago’s squad for the first two matches of the regional first class season, with selectors claiming that he had not made himself available.
Only last year, Bravo also abruptly left the tour of New Zealand for personal reasons.
Meanwhile, the players’ decision to sign the match tour contracts ended the speculation surrounding the South Africa tour, and paved the way for business to return to normal following the controversial end to the one-day tour of India last month.
The contracts were at the centre of the controversial abandoned tour last month, with players contending the new terms would have resulted in a significant reduction in their earnings. Following a series of meetings between the WICB, WIPA and the players, it was decided the contract would go to arbitration.
In selecting the squad last week, the WICB have players a week to sign the contracts in order to avoid the chaos of the last tour.
The development comes after Cricket South Africa said Monday it expected the tour to come off as planned, and that it did not envisage any disruptions.
“We are quite confident and optimistic. Even listening to player comments . . . but certainly the official feedback we’ve had is quite positive and encouraging that it will happen,” CSA chief executive Haroon Lorgat said.
West Indies will bowl off their series with the first Test at SuperSport Park in Guateng on December 17th, with the second Test scheduled for Port Elizabeth starting Boxing Day.
The regional squad will play a one-day series following the final Test which starts January 2nd next year at Centurion.