West Indies threaten to boycott India series opener

A strike could hit West Indies' tour opener against India on Wednesday due to a row between leading West Indies players and their own union.

West Indies threaten to boycott India series opener

Kochi: A strike could hit West Indies' tour opener against India on Wednesday due to a row between leading West Indies players and their own union.

The match in Kochi, where the teams are already assembled, is the first of five one-day internationals to be followed by three test matches and a Twenty20 international.

The West Indies Players Assocation (WIPA) and the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) signed a new agreement last month covering pay and conditions but all-rounder Dwayne Bravo said players were kept in the dark about the talks and would not accept the outcome.

"We believe we are being hoodwinked and are being treated like little school boys, yet we are being asked to perform and play as professionals," Bravo wrote in a letter to WIPA president Wavell Hinds published by the Caribbean website Wired868.com.

"The players are of the view that as a matter of principle, we should not accept these conditions whereby we are being asked to play a series against India without any certainty of what are our obligations and what we will be playing for."

The WICB said in a statement on Tuesday that they were aware of the dispute and the possibility of a strike.

"It has also come to the WICB's attention that the some of the players could withdraw their services for the first ODI. The WICB deeply regrets this apparent eventuality, especially in light of the tedious and substantial work which went into the good faith negotiations to arrive at the new, historic CBA/MOU.

"The WICB apologises to the fans, the BCCI and all other stakeholders should the first ODI be disrupted as a result of player action. The WICB is making every effort to ensure that it fulfills all its commitments and that cricket is played," said the statement.

Bravo wrote in his letter that players were being asked to take a substantial loss as part of a deal they were not party to. He said the tour should be conducted under previous contractual terms until a solution was found.

WIPA was not immediately available for comment.

West Indies players last boycotted a series in 2009 when they, backed by WIPA, refused to play a home campaign against Bangladesh due to a previous contract dispute.

When top players went on strike the WICB brought in a second-string squad to complete the series.

Bravo suggested that WIPA chief Hinds may be suffering from a conflict of interests.

"Perhaps Mr. Hinds, the confusion of the plethora of positions that you occupy being Chairman of Selectors for Jamaica Senior team, a Board member of the Jamaica Cricket Association and the dual role of President and CEO of WIPA have in some way contributed to the confusion or perhaps being a member of the same club as (WICB president Dave) Cameron in some way may have clouded your judgment," he wrote.

A WIPA press release regarding the signing of the new collective bargaining agreement on Sept. 18 noted that the arrangement would see better deals for players outside of the full West Indies team with more than 100 players being kept on retainers.

According to WIPA secretary Wayne Lewis, it "involved allowing the WICB to reallocate about $2.3 million which represented amounts paid annually only to those cricketers who were selected to the senior WI team."

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