That world cricket may not see the West Indies playing again is not an alarmist view anymore. It’s as possible as tomorrow’s sunrise. For, the problems concerning the players and the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) are too deep-rooted for even the best of optimists.
At the heart of the problem, though, is the players union whose chief, Wavell Hinds (a former West Indies batsman), expected the players to sign contracts whose contents were not what they agreed to.
Of course, the players realised that the terms were unfair once they reached India, and they ought to have woken up before. That seems to be their only fault.
According to reports, the players were being made to part with around 70 per cent of their earnings, which would help develop cricket around the Caribbean islands. Although they agreed to some funds going towards development, 70 per cent was something that caught them off-guard.
West Indian cricket pundits reckon leaving India after the fourth one-day international in Dharamsala was only imminent, considering they were all set to walk away before the first one-dayer at Kochi.
The players are being viewed as greedy, but it is always easy to attack them because they don’t always get a platform to clear the air. However, it is in the interest of West Indies cricket that the administrators take the first step towards peace. With so many Twenty20 leagues these days, players could take the easy route and turn freelancers. This will only lead to further deterioration of Test cricket in a land that has produced the best all-round players across all eras, leave alone numerous players who made Test cricket hip in the 1970s and 1980s.
The West Indies board must renegotiate with the player association but before that, the trust between the players and the representative body must come to the fore again. The Board can’t afford to see their sons leave their home, because stories of prodigal sons will continue to be few and far between. The time for Caribbean cricket administrators to get real is now.