Windies stars opt to play PSL ahead of WC qualifiers

Kieron Pollard, Sunil Narine, Darren Bravo and Andre Russell have all opted to play in the Pakistan Super League (PSL) instead of helping the West Indies qualify for the 2019 World Cup.

The World Cup qualifiers will take place from 4-25 March in Zimbabwe while the PSL runs from 22 February until 25 March.

Batsmen Chris Gayle and Marlon Samuels were selected in the Windies’ 15-man squad but Pollard, Narine, Bravo and Russell have indicated that they will skip the event to play in the PSL.

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Chairman of selectors Courtney Browne said in a statement:  “We contacted some of our well-known senior cricketers to ascertain their availability for the tournament and we are pleased that Chris Gayle and Marlon Samuels have indicated their full support and commitment to the cause.

“Kieron Pollard, Sunil Narine, Darren Bravo and Andre Russell however indicated that they were unavailable to help us qualify as their priority was playing in the Pakistan Super League.”

Johnny Grave, Cricket West Indies chief executive officer, further told ESPNCricinfo: “Their positions were clear that they were unable to help us qualify and they are all committed to participate in the PSL.

“We understand and respect the players’ decisions. We are hugely disappointed that they have not made themselves available to help the West Indies qualify for the World Cup.”

Jason Holder will captain the team in the qualifiers that sees the return of allrounder Carlos Brathwaite, fast bowler Kemar Roach and leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo to the squad.

The Windies will depart to Zimbabwe on 10 February and play two warm-up games before the tournament gets underway where they are grouped with Ireland, Netherlands, Papua New Guinea in group A.

West Indies ODI squad: Jason Holder (capt), Jason Mohammed (vice-capt), Devendra Bishoo, Carlos Brathwaite, Sheldon Cottrell, Chris Gayle, Shimron Hetmyer, Shai Hope, Evin Lewis, Nikita Miller, Ashley Nurse, Rovman Powell, Kemar Roach, Marlon Samuels, Kesrick Williams