India vs West Indies: Visitors refused to play 4th ODI before turning up
The financial dispute between the West Indies players and its association (WIPA) had almost led to cancellation of Friday's fourth ODI against India before last-minute intervention from BCCI joint secretary Anurag Thakur brought the team to the ground.
Dharamsala: The financial dispute between the West Indies players and its association (WIPA) had almost led to cancellation of Friday's fourth ODI against India before last-minute intervention from BCCI joint secretary Anurag Thakur brought the team to the ground.
There were enough signals of the players' protest on the ground with the whole team unusually standing behind captain Dwayne Bravo at the toss. The team entered the HPCA Stadium at 1 pm for the match, scheduled to start at 2.30 pm and practiced for not more than half hour.
All the drama, however, unfolded at the team hotel. Around three hours before the match, Thakur rushed to the team hotel to convince the West Indies players to play the match.
Thakur, in his capacity as a key BCCI and HPCA official, persuaded Bravo and his players to compete, saying a no-show will result in an embarrassment for the organisers and to add to it, the disappointment of the fans, who came to watch a rare international game from nearby as well as far-off places.
The players relented after they were told that 'you are on your own if you decide against playing the match and HPCA is no more your host'.
"It did not seem the match between would happen as late 12 pm. The West Indies had decided to type their pull out until Thakur intervened. He spoke to the whole team including Bravo, support staff (Richie Richardson, Curtly Ambrose) and others. Everyone was sitting there," a source, who was privy to the meeting told PTI minutes before the start of the match.
"Thakur told them that ?all arrangements have been made, tickets are sold, people have travelled hundreds of kms to be here, so you come and play the game. Still if you have decided not to play the game, then you are on your own. I am no more a host, you are no more my guest," the source said.
It became clearer that not much was alright in the West Indies' camp when Bravo said at the toss with other players circled behind him.
"My team is standing behind me, it has been a tough tour for us. We don't want cricket to suffer and we don't want our fans to suffer. It's time to make a decision though. (I) must give credit to my boys for all the fight they've put up," said Bravo.
West Indies media manager Philip Spooner neither confirmed nor denied what transpired at the team hotel.
"They are here to play. That's all I can say, said Spooner. When asked why the team arrived late for the match, Spooner reiterated, "We are here to play".
The recent occurring in West Indies cricket has also put the fifth and final ODI at Kolkata in jeopardy.
"The players not only made up their mind to call off this game, they also threatened to go back home and not play the Kolkata game until they solve their matter with WIPA," the sourced added.
The players are unhappy with WIPA president Wavell Hinds, who reportedly signed a MoU with the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) without players' knowledge possibly leading to substantial cuts in their pay.
Bravo had sought Board's intervention to resolve the dispute but the governing body made it clear that it will engage only with WIPA. The team had also threatened against playing the series opener in Kochi On October 8.