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Game on

ODI series seems no longer threatened

NEW DELHI –– It appears all’s well on the West Indies’ front.

Following what appears to have been a misunderstanding between the West Indies Players Association (WIPA) and the Dwayne Bravo-led side in India, media manager Philip Spooner said in New Delhi today that all was well in the West Indies camp.

West Indies players (from left) Leon Johnson, Kemar Roach and Jerome Taylor train ahead of tomorrow’s ODI.

West Indies players (from left) Leon Johnson, Kemar Roach and Jerome Taylor train ahead of tomorrow’s ODI.

“Everything is fine and the morale is very high,” he said.

This comes days after captain Bravo had claimed that the team’s morale was at an “all-time low”. Bravo had threatened strike action after expressing dissatisfaction with the memorandum of understanding and collective bargaining agreement negotiated by WIPA boss Wavell Hinds on behalf of the players. Bravo claimed the players were not privy to the process and suggested the agreement had been negotiated to their disadvantage.

However, in dismissing Bravo’s assertions Hinds pointed out that the new agreement reflected a 15 per cent across-the-board increase in match fees and retainer contracts, ranging from 12.5 per cent to 25 per cent, along with the introduction of two new contract categories.

Hinds said fees for Test matches were proposed to be raised from US$5 000 to US$5 750, ODIs from US$2 000 to US$2 300 and T20 Internationals from US$1 500 to US$1 725. In addition, retainer contracts are to be increased from an annual range of US$80 000 to US$120 000 to a new range of between US$100 000 to US$150 000.

The negotiations have also taken the interests of regional players not playing international cricket into consideration.

Previously fees for the regional four-day games were US$1 300 per match and US$700 per match for the NAGICO Super50. Now under the new CBA/MOU dispensation, regional players get retainer contracts annually in the categories of A (US$30 000), B (US$20 400 and C (US$15 000).

In addition, a player still gets the traditional match fee of US$13 000 for the four-day and US$700 for the 50-over.

West Indian greats currently with the team, chief selector Clive Lloyd, manager Sir Richie Richardson and bowling consultant Sir Curtly Ambrose reportedly worked feverishly with the squad to keep them focused on the action in the middle.

“Lloyd will be there with the team till the end of the ODI series. It is still not confirmed whether Mr Lloyd will stay back for the Test series. In case, he goes back then Courtney Walsh will be there with the team during the Test series,” Spooner stated.

Meanwhile former West Indies captain Sir Vivian Richards expressed his relief that the threat of a players strike had not materialised.

Speaking to ESPNcricinfo from Hambantota, Sri Lanka, where he is serving as technical director for the West Indies “A” team, Richards said the highlight of the entire situation for him was that in the end, “good sense did prevail”.

“The first thought that came to mind was well here we go again,” he said. “I am proud of them [the team]. When I say good sense, if for some reason things didn’t work out the way they would have liked with WIPA’s president Wavell Hinds, they have gone about it in the best way possible. With all this stuff going on, I think it was just a marvelous performance. That was the perfect way to reply, beating the defending champions on their home soil in such a convincing manner.”

He added: “How much did this individual [Hinds] know before they came on tour because that is the topic that is going to be of interest,” Richards said. “To be fair, some may say it sounds a little bit much for players to be getting such huge fees but at some point you need to have an understanding about what I am coming on tour for. It wasn’t in the best interests of the players that represent us for this to be played out in such a manner, especially in India where they are going to be playing against the defending champions in the 50-over format. Wavell Hinds may have some explaining to do when they get home.”

Richards was also of the view that the West Indies Cricket Board might have some “housekeeping” to do to ensure such disputes did not take place in the future. “Some players who come on tour, I am hearing that they get their contracts the day before they leave,” he said.”That to me needs some brushing up with the board. They need to get their act together, giving guys ample time to let their legal advisors have a look at what’s happening so at least everything can be okay when on tour.”

Richards noted that West Indies now had a side with the “potential to be winners again” if the off-field disputes were resolved amicably. “When you look at the all-round ability of that team, if they play to their full potential, I believe they can be winners,” he said.

“With all this stuff that’s going on, with the guys deciding to play, it’s the sort of step we need to move forward with and hopefully when they do get home and meet with the players’ representatives, things can be ironed out in such a way that the guys can be focused. I believe this is one of the great opportunities for the West Indies to do well at the World Cup.”

The West Indies take on India at 5 a.m. tomorrow in the second ODI.

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