The Caribbean’s stars may return to international cricket after Cricket West Indies (CWI) announced a temporary player amnesty, the first step towards removing the contentious eligibility rule.
CWI’s Chief Executive Officer, Johnny Grave, said that a working group of the Cricket Committee was expected to make recommendations on the rule to the board of directors soon, which would be discussed at a meeting in September.
In the interim, Grave said, all “registered players” would be eligible for selection.
He said the agreement forms part of a wider strategy to be more inclusive and to improve players relations aimed at re-engaging all players within the system so that they can perform at their best for the Windies team.
The move by CWI comes when West Indies is almost certainly set to miss out on automatic qualification for the 2019 World Cup in England.
The West Indies team is in the ninth position in the ICC One-Day rankings with only hosts England and the remaining top seven nations in the world by Sept. 30, assured of automatic qualification. Ten teams will then contest a qualifying tournament next year for the two remaining spots at the World Cup.
West Indies has one more chance to achieve direct qualification when the team faces England in a five-match series in September.
Graves said CWI was already preparing for the prospect of playing in next year’s qualification tournament in order to reach the World Cup.
Without their top players, West Indies team has struggled in the short format of the game, winning just four of the 21 matches including an embarrassing loss to minnows Afghanistan in St. Lucia last month.