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Doom time for West Indies cricket, writes Tony Cozier

The voice of West Indies cricket predicts tough times for Caribbean cricket after players pull out of India tour

Tony CozierWest Indies cricket has been repeatedly shaken over the past 15 years by confusion, controversy and chaos. There has been constant squabbling between the board, the WICB, and the players union, the WIPA, over a variety of issues. The disharmony has led to two strikes by the leading players. Others have been averted only through political intervention.

As a consequence, the team sunk lower and lower on the International Cricket Council Test and ODI rankings until reaching its present state, above only Bangladesh and Zimbabwe.

West Indies cricket
West Indies cricket is facing a torrid time. Pic For Representation.

There was a complicated twist to the latest acrimonious disagreement that has led to the sudden, shocking decision to abandon the team’s tour of India. Now players were pitted against the new leadership of the WIPA with whom the WICB has sided.

It is not pessimistic or far-fetched to fear that such drastic action, taken without consultation with all of the WICB’s directors, could signal the demise of a treasured institution that has bonded these separate mini-states scattered across the Caribbean Sea like no other.

While the players in India vehemently vented their frustration at Wavell Hinds, the WIPA president, signing a new Memorandum of Understanding/Collective Bargaining Agreement (MoU/CBA) with WICB president Dave Cameron, they played on in the hope that the issue would be resolved.

Cameron and Hinds head the two organisations specifically established to see after the welfare of the game in the region. They need to carefully read the BCCI’s official take on the matter to understand the likely repercussions
The BCCI declared that it was “shocked and extremely disappointed” at what it noted is “a unilateral decision taken by the WICB and its players”. It charged that it gave “little thought to the future of the game, the players and the long standing relations between the BCCI and the WICB”.

The timing of the abandonment is especially astonishing, coming, as it does, during a significant tour of India. That is carded to be followed by a tour of South Africa in December and January and the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. The expanded domestic season is scheduled to run from late November through to the end of March.

It is impossible to see such a schedule being maintained. The players in India, whose case has been aired in lengthy epistles from ODI captain Dwayne Bravo to Hinds and Cameron, are not blameless in the matter. They are perceived by some as “money hungry under-performers” as one contributor to a radio call-in programme in Barbados put it on Wednesday.

Lloyd’s plea
Clive Lloyd, the celebrated captain of the all-conquering team of the 1980s, now chief selector, appealed to the players prior to the Indian tour to show their loyalty to West Indies cricket. It was a
pertinent plea.

More and more, the counter attraction of the Indian Premier League (IPL) and other global Twenty20 franchise tournaments are likely to lure away those who feel, in Bravo’s expression “hoodwinked”. The effect would be to further diminish West Indies strength. And there are no prizes for guessing where that could lead.

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