Caribbean cricket authorities are seeking urgent crisis talks with their counterparts from India who have vowed to take legal action and suspend bilateral ties in the wake of a player-driven tour cancellation.
The West Indies Cricket Board released a statement after an emergency meeting in Barbados on Tuesday, saying it was “deeply embarrassed by the premature and unfortunate end to the recent tour of India.”
The cash-strapped WICB would be in serious trouble if the Board of Control for Cricket in India proceeds with the multi-million dollar compensation claim and refuses to tour the Caribbean.
“In light of the longstanding good relationship between WICB and BCCI, which goes back decades and has produced numerous mutual benefits, the WICB looks forward to meeting with the BCCI to discuss these decisions which can have serious implications for West Indies cricket,” the statement said. “WICB believes that a way can be found to repair the damage that has been caused and to ensure that similar events do not recur, with the focus being on the betterment of West Indies and world cricket.”
A pay dispute between the West Indies players and administrators boiled over last week when the squad withdrew from the tour after the fourth limited-overs international, abandoning an ODI, a Twenty20 international and three test matches that were still on the schedule.
The BCCI, which quickly replaced the abandoned matches with five ODIs against Sri Lanka next month, did not indicate a figure for its damages claim but media reports estimate it stands to lose $50 million in revenue.
The Indian board met in Hyderabad on Tuesday before confirming it would initiate the legal action and suspended all bilateral tours between the countries, including a tour to the Caribbean in early 2016.
The BCCI is the most powerful stakeholder in international cricket, with its vast revenues from sponsorship, TV deals and the Indian Premier League flowing into the global arena and helping the game keep afloat in some countries.
The West Indies, which dominated international cricket for long periods in the 1970s and 80s, is in turmoil amid the unresolved dispute over pay structure involving the West Indies Players Association and WICB. The team said WIPA signed a collective bargaining agreement and memorandum of understanding last month without its knowledge and consent, and has pressed WIPA president Wavell Hinds to resign.
Hinds has refused, and the board has said it will honor the CBA and memorandum.
The WICB has set up a taskforce to review the premature end to the India tour, and also sought to reassure Cricket South Africa that it will tour as scheduled later in the year.
“The WICB thanks all stakeholders, particularly the ICC, BCCI, their broadcasters and sponsors for their patience and understanding in this matter and looks forward to the continuation of a strong relationship between our boards,” It said in a statement. “The WICB is committed to acting as expeditiously as the situation allows, and will provide further information to the public as soon as it is appropriate to do so.”