Bravo, Pooran offered central contracts; Ambris, Bishoo off list

Recently recalled batsman Darren Bravo and fellow Trinidadian left-hander Nicholas Pooran were among seven new players handed retainer contracts by Cricket West Indies (CWI) for the next year, but batsman Sunil Ambris and leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo have been dropped from the list.

CWI announced Monday that Bravo and Pooran would be joined by all-rounder Fabian Allen, opener John Campbell, fast bowlers Sheldon Cottrell and Oshane Thomas, along with left-arm spinner Jomel Warrican as players to land retainers which run from July 1 to June 30 next year.

Dashing left-hander Shimron Hetmyer has, meanwhile, been upgraded to an all-format contract, one of three players along with Bravo and all-rounder Keemo Paul to be awarded this type of retainer in the new cycle.

Captain Jason Holder, batsman Shai Hope, and fast bowlers Alzarri Joseph and Kemar Roach are the other four players already on all-format contracts.

According to CWI, Director of Cricket Jimmy Adams made verbal offers to all players, and contracts will only be issued after the regional body signs off on a new four-year memorandum of understanding with the West Indies Players’ Association.

“We believe the 2019-20 contract list provides us with a multi-talented group of players who can represent West Indies men and women across all formats over the contract period,” interim chairman of the selectors, Robert Haynes said.

“We believe the mix of players selected are important for the development of our teams going forward and we have looked to award contracts to players who have shown commitment and performance during the past year.”

Bravo, 30, has played 52 Tests and 110 One-Day Internationals, but only returned to the squad late last year following an acrimonious fallout with former Board President Dave Cameron.

He has since struggled to rediscover his touch and managed only 59 runs from three Tests against England earlier this year, while averaging 31 in eight ODI innings during the contract evaluation period of April 1, 2018 to March 31 this year.

The 23-year-old Pooran, meanwhile, West Indies’ leading batsman at the World Cup, has been offered a white-ball contract.

He gathered 367 runs at an average of 52 during the Caribbean side’s recent failed campaign at the global showpiece in England, and was the only specialist batsman to notch a hundred.

Pooran is one of six players to be offered white-ball contracts along with Allen, Cottrell, Thomas, along with Carlos Brathwaite and Rovman Powell, who was overlooked for the World Cup.

Test vice-captain Kraigg Brathwaite heads the list of six players offered red-ball contracts, with batsmen Campbell and Roston Chase, wicketkeeper Shane Dowrich, fast bowler Shannon Gabriel and left-arm spinner Jomel Warrican also named.

The 27-year-old Warrican played three Tests late last year against India and Bangladesh — his first in nearly two years — picking up 10 wickets.

There is no place for Ambris, however, who was called up to the West Indies World Cup squad to replace the injured Andre Russell. He averaged 21 in four Tests on the tour of the Asian subcontinent last year and failed to play a single ODI during the contract evaluation period.

However, he averaged 92 in five matches during the Tri-Nations in Ireland last May, including a stunning 148 against the hosts — his maiden ODI hundred.

Bishoo, meanwhile, took 15 wickets in eight Tests last year and even more disappointingly, grabbed only seven wickets in 14 matches during the evaluation period.

Adams revealed that players would need to meet a “minimum standard of fitness” in order to be awarded their contracts.

“To assist in our drive towards a new fitness and conditioning culture, the CWI board of directors has approved our recommendation that the award of all new West Indies men’s contracts this year will be conditional on each player achieving a minimum standard of fitness,” he pointed out.

“This new policy will also be introduced to all men’s regional franchise contracts and West Indies Women’s contracts next year for the 2020-21 season.”

A total of 15 women, meanwhile — an increase of three — have been awarded retainers.

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