Left field

The Reuters global sports blog

Caribbean cricket chaos could get nasty


scoreboardThe news that the West Indies squad for Thursday’s first test against Bangladesh have withdrawn their services, effectively announcing a boycott of the series, has thrown cricket in the once-proud Caribbean into further chaos and things could turn very nasty in the coming days.

The dispute regards contractual issues, payments that the West Indies Players Association (WIPA) insist are long overdue, and other matters of compensation. The WIPA say that their players have appeared in the last four series without any form of contract. The West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) position, to summarise very briefly, is that the WIPA’s demands have been unreasonable. If you are interested in the details (and there are lots of them) then both sides have put their cases online:

West Indies Players Association statement
West Indies Cricket Board response

On Tuesday, I spoke briefly to WICB president Julian Hunte who said that, as far as he was concerned, the first test against Bangladesh on Thursday in St. Vincent will go ahead. There are possible sanctions if the match is not played and the WICB will need to get 11 players on the field to avoid them.

Finding those 11 and getting them to St. Vincent in time will not however be an easy task. Hunte declined to confirm whether or not the WICB is seeking an alternative squad (which the WIPA will likely consider a ‘strikebreaking’ team) merely saying that “We need players to hold a Test match”. If players not originally selected are indeed being approached to play they face a tricky choice — turn down a chance to represent the regional team or risk upsetting the striking players.