CliveÂ Lloyd has hit back at Chris Gayle for questioning West Indies' World Cup selection. The chairman of selectors has backed the team picked - under 23-year-old Jason Holder - and defended the decision to drop Dwayne Bravo and Kieron Pollard.
Veterans Bravo and Pollard were sidelined for the World Cup which begins from February 14. The decision surprised many with Jamaican batsman Gayle lashing out at the 'ridiculous' call. While many like him believed that it may have been a fallout of the internal crisis between players and West Indies Cricket Board,Â Lloyd has clarified that the selection was purely based on form. "It was a very difficult decision. I can tell you it went on for two days,"Lloyd told ESPNCricinfo in an interview. "But then you get to a point where you say, right, this is where we want to go. It is very difficult for people to understand or to accept. But we want to move on."
Bravo and Pollard have together featured in 255 ODIs. Both cricketers, many feel, have the right credentials to play the World Cup but they have had their share of rifts with West Indies Cricket Board. Bravo had even led a rebellion over payment issues last year on an India tour.
Lloyd, though, feels the explosive duo has not performed consistently enough recently. "I don't think they have had any exceptional performances. Nobody (of the pair) has got exceptional performances as far as (playing for) West Indies is concerned," said Lloyd, who captained West Indies to World Cup glory. "They have been there and thereabouts. We really and truly want to pick people on what they have done for our cricket and not for anyone else."
LloydÂ though was absolutely determined to prove that there was no personal vendetta against the two seniors. "There is no axe to grind with these guys. Yes, I spoke to them in Cape Town. They understand what the situation is. Don't forget, these guys have been playing for West Indies for a while," he said.
With Bravo and Pollard not being picked, Gayle (35) is the senior-most member in the side. He however believes West Indies are not their best for the World Cup. "He (Gayle) might think so, but the point is that he is not a selector. He is a player," said 70-year-old Lloyd. "I have the greatest respect for him. But he will have to read what we are trying to do. He is part of that team that is going forward. Once he has been told what the situation is he will understand what we are doing."
West Indies play their first World Cup match against Ireland on February 16.