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Holder-Pooran-Myers said ‘No’ to West Indies central contract proposal

Former two captains Jason Holder and Nicholas Pooran along with all-rounder Kyle Mayers have withdrawn their central contract proposals for West Indies Cricket Board. Four new players have been included in the list for men’s and women’s central contracts for the 2023-24 season—Alzarri Joseph, Kieron Pollard, Tejay Chandrapaul, and Gurkeerat Singh Mann.

In an announcement made yesterday, Cricket West Indies (CWI) declared that even though Holder, Pooran, and Mayers aren’t included in the central contracts, their performances in all international T20 matches during this time frame will be considered. None of these three were part of the recent three-match One Day International (ODI) series against England, but they are included in the squad for the upcoming T20 series starting on December 14.

However, their availability beyond the 20-over format for the other two versions hasn’t been confirmed. Among them, Holder, aged 32, has the most substantial Test career. Out of 64 Tests, he has led West Indies in 37, showcasing his prowess as a pace-bowling all-rounder. He captained in 86 out of 138 ODIs. He played the last Test against India in July and featured in ODIs at the beginning of the same month during the World Cup Qualifiers.

Though Pooran, aged 28, lacks Test experience, he has captained in 17 ODIs. On the other hand, Mayers, aged 31, had a notable Test debut, scoring an unbeaten 210 against Bangladesh in Chattogram, securing a record win for West Indies by achieving the 395-run target. Until now, he has played 28 ODIs and 18 Tests.

Due to franchise-based cricket leagues and contractual disputes, the withdrawal of central contract proposals is not entirely new for the board, having happened in West Indies cricket for more than a generation. As early as 2010, cricketers like Chris Gayle, Kieron Pollard, and Dwayne Bravo had also withdrawn contract proposals to become freelance cricketers. Even Gayle was the captain of West Indies at that time.

For the 2024 IPL season, Mayers and Pooran have retained their interests in the Super Giants. Rajasthan Royals released Holder, prompting him to seek a new team in the auction this month. Pooran is set to play in the Abu Dhabi T20 and IPL simultaneously. Concurrently, the T20 World Cup is also scheduled for the same year.

Desmond Haynes, West Indies Men’s chief selector, stated, “In all three versions, before a busy year of cricket, we have had extensive discussions with both head coaches. We want to know what brand of cricket they want to play, and we are clear on the path we want to take. We expect power from those offered central contracts as we are gearing up for the ICC T20 World Cup in 2024 and beyond. We have Test series against Australia and England, and we are trying to build a nucleus for the 50-over World Cup in 2027.”

Central Contracts for West Indies Men’s Team 2023-24:
Alzarri Joseph, Craig Brathwaite, Kieron Pollard, Tejay Chandrapaul, Joshua Da Silva, Shai Hope, Akil Hosein, Alzarri Joseph, Brandon King, Gurkeerat Singh Mann, Rovman Powell, Keemo Paul, Khary Pierre, Jayden Seales, and Romario Shepherd.

Excluded: Jermaine Blackwood, Ankrumah Bonner, Jason Holder, Kyle Mayers, Obed McCoy, Nicholas Pooran, Odean Smith, and Hayden Walsh Jr.

New Inclusions: Alzarri Joseph, Kieron Pollard, Tejay Chandrapaul, and Gurkeerat Singh Mann.

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