By Phil Lanning
ROB CROSS admits that he is “devastated” after his shock omission from the Cazoo Premier League.
The 2018 World Champion was left out of the eight-player line-up despite winning the European Championship last October.
Cross, 31, becomes only the second reigning major TV winner to miss out on a place in the league.
The PDC announced that Gerwyn Price, Peter Wright, Michael van Gerwen, Michael Smith, Gary Anderson, James Wade, Joe Cullen and Jonny Clayton claimed the spots for the 17-week tournament which starts on Thursday in Cardiff.
Cross said: “Obviously, I’m gutted and devastated, whichever word you want to use.
“I thought the criteria for the Premier League was a major TV tournament winner gets a place. I was wrong.
“I’ve got absolutely nothing against any of the players who got a pick. I wish them all the very best for the tournament, they are all great guys. I’m delighted for Joe Cullen who gets his chance after a brilliant Masters win on Sunday night.
“I thought winning the European Championship was a major title, it obviously isn’t and probably not an important event as we all thought it was.”
Cross is a four-times major winner, including that fairytale debut World Championship win over Phil Taylor four years ago. He has gone on to win the World Matchplay and European Championship twice after a final victory against Michael van Gerwen last October. He is also a previous runner-up in the Premier League and UK Open.
He added: “It’s a ruthless decision-making process. While it isn’t a clear process and made in an office, it will always leave someone gutted. If it was just based on top eight in the world or winning TV majors, it would be fairer in my mind.
“We are all trying to run a business which includes travel, looking after loyal sponsorship and organising life. To suddenly not be in is a big blow.
“All I can do is fight back and prove myself yet again. It’s frustrating but life is all about reacting to setbacks.
“Now suddenly I have 17 weeks with a bit more extra time. It will enable me to concentrate on other tournaments and the ProTours and spend more time with my family. At least they still love me!”
Images by Taylor Lanning.