Payment dispute looms large over series

October 09, 2014 12:22 am | Updated November 16, 2021 07:17 pm IST - KOCHI:

The dispute over a payment agreement involving West Indies’s cricketers — a longstanding problem afflicting the team — threatens to disrupt the India-West Indies series. While there was endless speculation about the possibility of the first ODI being boycotted by the West Indies, the match did eventually take place here on Wednesday.

However, the fate of the rest of the series remains in the realm of conjecture with West Indies ODI skipper Dwayne Bravo, in a letter to the West Indies Players Association (WIPA) on Wednesday morning, writing that the decision to play didn’t imply any acceptance of the West Indies Cricket Board’s (WICB) conditions.

“This decision should not in any way be construed as an acceptance by the players of the unreasonable terms and conditions put forward to us by WICB, nor is it an acceptance of the purported new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU),” he wrote.

Bravo’s letter also sought the resignation of its president and chief executive Wavell Hinds and other officials with conflict of interest.

Threat of strike

Trouble began to brew on Tuesday following Bravo’s first letter to Hinds accusing him of treating the players like “little school boys”, and arriving at a new MoU with the WICB sans any consultation with the players.

While it wasn’t explicitly stated, the threat of strike action wasn’t ruled out as Bravo wrote that his team’s morale was “at an all-time low.”

Incidentally, the team didn’t arrive at the ground here for practice on Tuesday and neither did Bravo turn up for the customary captains’ press conference.

The West Indies media manager Philip Spooner had told The Hindu that there were “internal meetings”, contents of which he couldn’t divulge.

The seeds of the controversy were sowed when, on September 18, Hinds and WICB president Whycliffe ‘Dave’ Cameron signed a fresh collective bargaining agreement and MoU in Barbados.

The players duly resented the proposals that significantly sheared their salaries.

“We are disappointed with the lack of proper representation and the players are now forced to make this proposal without any details as to how this new purported agreement was even arrived at and by whom, since the only advice we have received from you as president and CEO of WIPA is to not sign the contract /agreement that was sent by the WICB,” wrote Bravo in Tuesday’s letter.

“We wish at this stage to once again reiterate our position as a way forward, let us continue under the old structure until we are able to properly negotiate a fair and reasonable agreement in the bestinterest of West Indies cricket.”

In response to that letter, the WICB in a press release on Tuesday had apologised to “fans, the BCCI, and all other stakeholders.”

It added that every effort was made to ensure that all commitments were fulfilled and cricket was played.

The Board also called for a “reasoned approach,” and said further announcements would be made “as may be necessary.”

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