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Tour withdrawal by WI damaged game's integrity, says ICC

Dubai: Cricket's governing body on Sunday vowed to take steps to prevent a repeat of the damaging West Indies cancellation of their tour of India last month.

The West Indies team left India four matches into a five-game one-day series after a pay dispute between players and the Board, with a Twenty20 international and three Tests to play. As a result The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) are demanding $42 million in compensation and damages.

"It was undoubtedly a sad chapter in our sport," said International Cricket Council (ICC) chairman Narayanaswami Srinivasan. "It damaged cricket's integrity and reputation, as well as affecting confidence within the cricket community, especially that of the fans," added Srinivasan after the crisis was discussed during the ICC's two-day board meeting in Dubai.

"The ICC and all of its Member Boards noted with deep disappointment the recent decision of the West Indies players to abandon an international tour without fulfilling the contractually agreed playing obligations between the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI)," an ICC statement said.

"Putting aside the legitimacy or otherwise of any grievances of parties involved (and which are now the subject of a domestic Task Force probe), the ICC and all Member Boards noted that players abandoning tours have the potential to cause irrevocable damage to the sport.

"It can also damage in the jurisdiction of the relevant Member Board concerned, as well as enormous financial damage, which might adversely affect the financial viability of the sport itself.

"With that in mind, and in a show of solidarity, all Member Boards collectively expressed the view that they consider such player action to be extremely disruptive, damaging and unacceptable," the ICC said.

The ICC said that players would be penalised if there was similar action in the future. "Players who behave in a similar manner in the future will not only risk breaching the disciplinary rules of the relevant Member Board and being sanctioned accordingly, but may also put in jeopardy their ability to conclude future contractual arrangements with domestic franchises or clubs in other jurisdictions."

India, who are scheduled to tour the Caribbean in March 2016, also announced all tours to the West Indies would be suspended while the WICB sought a mutual agreement. The ICC Board will also discuss and finalise a change in its anti-corruption code on Monday, which will allow all banned players to resume domestic cricket a few months before their bans expire. The revised code is likely to benefit Pakistan paceman Mohammad Aamer who was banned for five years after a spot-fixing scandal in England in 2101.

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