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A THORNY ISSUE: I wish I was Bravo or Pollard

Andi Thornhill

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IT WAS just a matter of dollars and sense.
Let us settle on that as being the possible reason that Trinidadians Dwayne Bravo and Keiron Pollard reportedly turned down lucrative central contracts from the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB).
For any player to turn his back on US$80 000 would tell you that he is not hand-to-mouth and he has plenty of financial muscle.
In the context of what Bravo and Pollard can earn from plying their trade in the shorter versions of the game, what the board offers might be nothing more than scratch grain to them.
Any working man would envy the position they are in. Also, any of us given the chance to better our financial health for our sakes and that of our families would probably have done the same thing.
At the end of the day, bills have to be paid and we must remember that there is life after a sportsman’s career has ended.
God forbid, injury can cut a player’s career short and his earning power can end automatically. If it came down to that, wouldn’t he want to be in an independent position to look after himself and maintain his previous lifestyle?
Nobody blessed with pride and self-esteem wants to be depending on handouts and being patronised because people pity them.
Honestly, I don’t see their non-acceptance of a central contract as a sign that they are not committed to West Indies cricket. They have not said that they won’t be available to represent the region if selected.
They had an option and chose the one they thought best for them at this time. Similarly, the board has the option of not offering them central contracts in the future based on the current experience.
The scales are balanced in that respect, plus it creates an opportunity for others to be considered for central contracts or for the board to save money by not bringing anyone new into the pool or upgrading someone else’s status.
The point also has to be made that a contract, central or developmental, does not guarantee you a place on the team because meritocracy has to be applied whether you are contracted or not. The best available team should always play.
Another point that has to be reinforced is that history is a great teacher and the truth is that current players are aware that the careers of some of their noted predecessors ended on a sour note by the board.
They more than likely heard the story of unhappy endings for the likes of Sir Viv Richards, Gordon Greenidge, Desmond Haynes and the late Malcolm Marshall, among others.
Don’t let us mince words. In the real world when it is thought that your shelf life has expired, employers would gladly show you the door today and replace you by tomorrow.
This new generation of players is well aware of these things. Once you educate people expect the wool to come off their eyes.
This is all that has happened in the Bravo/Pollard situation, and don’t be surprised if more high-profile players follow their lead in the next round of offers.
It’s all about doing the maths.
• Andi Thornhill is sports editor at the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation. He can be reached at [email protected]