World T20: West Indies Cricket Board sets a date, asks players to fall in line

West Indies players given an option to either take a massive pay cut or their place in the squad will be given to another player.

Updated: February 12, 2016 10:34 am
West Indies Cricket board, WICB, World T20, T20 World Cup, Darren Sammy, cricket news, Cricket West Indies won the 2012 World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka and are currently ranked second in the world. (Source: File)

What is the latest crisis?

Some of the biggest names in T20 cricket — Chris Gayle, Dwayne Bravo, Keiron Pollard — could be absent from the World Cup as another pay dispute threatens to overshadow West Indies’ participation in the tournament. Days ahead of the WT20, skipper Darren Sammy has demanded a pay hike for the 15-member squad. However, the West Indies Cricket Board has so far refused to budge and threatened to send a second string squad if the players don’t agree to the current contract that was drawn last June.

What is the pay dispute?

Sammy claimed the players will receive a huge pay cut from the 2015 World Cup, at least to the tune of 50-80%, if they agree to the present contract. Earlier players participating in ICC events would get 25% of the revenue received by the board, but the present contract distributes the same percentage to a central pool from which players at all levels in West Indies cricket are paid.

Is the players’ body of any help?

WIPA CEO Wavell Hinds faced flak during the West Indies’ aborted tour of India in October 2014. That time Dwayne Bravo had accused Hinds of ‘hoodwinking’ the international players regarding the contracts. Bravo claimed the WIPA and the WICB struck a deal on players’ contracts without their consent. WIPA’s argument was that it wants a more equitable distribution of income for players at all levels.

This time Sammy has taken on Hinds for agreeing to the reduction in players’ purse. He also questioned the legitimacy of WIPA in representing the players, 14 of whom are not members of the association.

“As a group, we don’t accept that WIPA can represent us. WIPA became conflicted during its negotiations with you and compromised itself,” Sammy wrote in a letter to WICB CEO Michael Muirhead.

What are the players demanding?

According to the captain, the players want 25% of what ICC provides to the board, as was the case during previous World Cups. Though not privy to the revenue sharing between WICB and ICC, Sammy felt the board was supposed to get $8m, out of which 25% would amount to $133,000 per player for the entire tournament. But under the present contract, players would get only $27,600. Sammy also demanded 100% for the players from the prize money.

What is WICB’s counter?

The WICB claims the players were on board when the contract negotiations took place in June last year. It said the players were given time to think over it and that time there were no complaints. CEO Muirhead also threatened to send a second string squad for World T20 unless each and every player signs an agreement with the WICB by February 14.