The issue of Andre Russell’s loyalty to West Indies cricket was up for discussion on the Mason&Guest talk show in Barbados on Tuesday night and it sparked a contentious conversation between the show’s host Andrew Mason and CWI West Indies Vice-President Kishore Shallow.

Mason believes the CWI is seemingly willing to bend over backwards to accommodate the players’ fancies.

Russell had declared himself unavailable for the West Indies tour of Pakistan for three T20 Internationals citing personal reasons. A relatively inexperienced West Indies team has so far lost two of the three matches with one match to go on Thursday.

Meanwhile, Russell signed on to represent the Melbourne Stars in Australia’s Big Bash League. On the weekend, he scored an unbeaten 42 from 21 balls and was named Man of the Match in the Stars’ six-wicket win over the Sydney Thunder.

On Tuesday, Dr Shallow sought to explain why Russell was in Australia and not in Pakistan helping the West Indies.

“Russell indicated to the lead selector that he was mentally fatigued in the bubble and in the Big Bash League, where he is now, he would be required to be in a bubble,” Dr Shallow said. “That was the rationale provided to the lead selector.”

An obviously exasperated Mason was unable to contain his displeasure at the situation where certain players only choose to represent the West Indies when it suits them to.

“Yes, Dr Shallow, they have got to get the opportunity to make money but there is a word called ‘sacrifice’,” Mason declared, adding that such situations are almost unique to the West Indies.
“The other players don’t do it to their countries, and I am sure Russell is going to be ready to play for us in the world cup and we are going to pick him.

“We cannot continue with the foolishness with these guys.”

Sir Andy Roberts also weighed in on Dr Shallow’s explanation, suggesting that the players seem to make their decisions based on money only.

“These guys just don’t want to play for the West Indies because the fees ain't that high,” said the long-retired fast bowler. “I am not saying that they should not be allowed to go but they should only go if the West Indies do not require their services.”

This is not the first time Russell has faced criticism over his decisions on when to represent the West Indies.

In December 2020, the iconic Antiguan fast bowler publicly criticized Andre Russell, who declined an invitation to play for the West Indies against New Zealand but later went to play in the Sri Lanka Premier League T20.

Chief selector Roger Harper told media that Russell declined the West Indies invitation citing the need to clear his mind after being in quarantine lockdown for both the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) in Trinidad and Tobago where he played for the Jamaica Tallawahs franchise and then, the Indian Premier League (IPL) in Abu Dhabi where he played for the Kolkata Knight Riders.

“Because he wants to clear his head for a while to get his mind together, I have no problem with that because cricket is a high-pressure game,” Ambrose said then.

“So if you want to clear your head for a while, take your mind off cricket I have no issues with that, but if you are going to reject playing for your nation, your country, and then two weeks later you’re playing for somebody else, that to me is a no-no.”

In a later interview, Ambrose provided further clarity.

“The game has evolved. There is a lot more cricket being played now and many different T20 tournaments around the globe and there’s lots more money as well, so guys are going to go where the money is and I have no issues with that,” Ambrose said.

“A cricket career can be a very short one, once you have an injury it could be all over for you so with guys going around plying their trade with different franchises making money to set themselves up financially, I have no issues with it.

“However, I think it needs to strike a balance somewhere because most of these guys who are playing their trade around the world, it’s because they played for the West Indies team why people saw them and gave them contracts.

So for me, you need to find a balance somewhere where you can give back to West Indies cricket. You need to give back to West Indies cricket at some point as opposed to abandoning West Indies

The Guyana Cricket Board elections scheduled for today have been postponed keeping the hopes of Guyana Cricket Board Secretary Anand Sanasie's hopes alive of challenging incumbent Ricky Skerritt for the presidency of Cricket West Indies. 

Should the current board be swept from power, it would delegitimize Sanasie's run for the presidency.

According to reports emerging from Guyana, the elections, the first in more than a decade, was put off after reported mounting pressure to have it delayed, according to cricket commentator and talk show host Andrew Mason, who reported early this morning that there was an attempt at the highest level to stop the elections.

He reported that a lot of pressure was being put on the counties that would have been voting and that the Minister of Sport in Guyana Charles Ramson Jr was to meet with the president of Guyana on the matter.

A later report just after midday Jamaica time, said that the elections would not be held.

“The Ombudsman turned up just before 1 ‘0’ clock and said as the result of an email he received last night (Thursday) the elections could not be held today."

This was due mainly to the no show of the Essequibo Cricket Board, one of three counties that would have been voting in the elections.

“The Essequibo board said it was simply not ready,” according to Mason, who added that the boards of Berbice and Demerara are upset about the development.

Earlier this week, lawyers for Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) Secretary Anand Sanasie wrote to Guyana’s Culture, Youth and Sports Minister Charles Ramson Jr and Attorney Kamal Ramkarran, objecting to the appointment of both a cricket Ombudsman as well as the seven-day time period given for the staging of elections, claiming they were illegal under the Guyana Cricket Administration Act.

In response, Ramson Jr said he was on firm legal ground and well within the powers of the Guyana Cricket Administration Act.

 

 

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