Sat | Dec 10, 2016

WI players must pay

Published:Sunday | November 9, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Captain Dwayne Bravo (second right) leads his teammates off the field at the third and final Dhaka Bank one-day international between West Indies and Bangladesh at Warner Park, Basseterre, St Kitts, on Monday, August 25, 2014. Bravo led the Windies players off in a similar manner to end the Windies tour of India. -WICB Media Photo/Randy Brooks

Tony Becca ON THE BOUNDARY

Where is the cash-strapped West Indies going to find that money if India follow up with their demand of some US$42 million, and how are they going to cope with the projected loss of income from the absent tours involving India?

The answers are anybody's guess. Maybe they can look to the International Cricket Council for help.

The tour of India was called off not so much because of any fault of the WICB, but through the stupid and drastic action of Dwayne Bravo and the players.

The players may have had a grouse, but whatever it was, it was with the West Indies Players' Association (WIPA), their own association.

The players simply refused to play, and it obviously mattered nothing to them how their action would have affected the board, including financially.

It simply did not matter to them how it would have affected the relationship between the West Indies and India; it simply did not matter to them how it would have affected their own relationship with the Indian Premier League; and most important, it simply did not matter to them what India, the rulers of world cricket, thought about the whole situation, about West Indies cricket abandoning its international obligations.

Their action was, simply put, confrontational.

The players' focus was, as it has been over the years, on money, and as it has been in recent years, entirely on money, and what they consider their own money.

Nothing else mattered to them. It was simply selfish and greedy.

It mattered little to them that West Indies cricket had little or no money, that barring a few, and with the exception of Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Chris Gayle, West Indies cricketers, at this stage, are ordinary, that West Indies cricket is only above Bangladesh and Zimbabwe, and that the West Indies, like most of the world, planned to live off India over the coming years.

That was why, or maybe that was why, the West Indies, along with all the others, excepting South Africa, voted recently for India, England and Australia to control world cricket and to give them tours involving India, and money, plenty of money.

Back in the West Indies, there was a great show of disappointment and embarrassment, many views were varied, but mostly the people blamed the players for what happened.

To the people, the players could have played cricket and then deal with their problems when they returned home at the end of the tour.

But the players, like president Dave Cameron - who snubbed the Board of Control for Cricket in India - decided not to bow. They held their lines, both sides figuring that they had been that way before and the result was that there was no cricket.

The governments of the Carib-bean, led by Dr Ralph Gonsalves and Dr Keith Mitchell, got involved, a suggestion to find funding for West Indies cricket has been made for the umpteenth time, a task force has been named and Caribbean cricket fans wait with bated breath for a solution.

If things go the way they have gone before, however, if CARICOM and the task force behave the way they have done in the past, it will be all a glorious waste of time and money.

These bodies or commissions, whoever sets them up, or selected them, have all tended to be the same. They have always found the "road map" for West Indies cricket, they have always supported the players, they have always found ways to excuse their behaviour and the players always end up with more money or whatever.

Maybe that was why they kept asking for more or threatening to go on strike, maybe that is why the West Indies have been forced to play with below standard players on so many occasions, and maybe that is why West Indies cricket is where it is at this time.

Already, the meeting in Port-of-Spain last week, the meeting that was called by Dr Gonsalves and Dr Mitchell and was attended by Cameron, Hinds, Bravo and Denesh Ramdin, claim it has "created a road map for the way forward".

The road map includes the non-victimisation of all the players involved in the strike which embarrassed the West Indies in India, and that means that they all should be available for the tour of South Africa to come.

First, can South Africa really believe that all will be well even if the players agree to tour, or will something else pop up one day while Dale Steyn is running in to bowl?

I do not believe that.

Second, there should be no talk of victimisation here. The victims are West Indies cricket and the West Indian people, not Dwayne Bravo, not Test captain Denesh Ramdin - who was in India, not T20 captain Darren Sammy - who was also in India, and most if not all of the players who were in India.

US$42 million loss

What I do believe, however, is that if these players, if Dwayne Bravo and company are allowed to get away after embarrassing West Indies cricket the way they did in India, after the way they did it with the players lining up beside him as a sign of unity against the WICB at the toss in the last match, and after maybe costing the West Indies an estimated US$42 million for losses on the tour, and losing many, many millions of dollars for future tours money, something is wrong, very wrong with the way West Indies do things.

If because of Dr Gonsalves and Dr Mitchell, Cameron, and Hinds the players are allowed to escape any form of punishment, then the two politicians should foot the bill for the loss involving the tour and for the projected losses from future tours involving India, and Cameron and Hinds, despite their good intentions in attempting to level the playing field in West Indies cricket, should step down.

The players and the captains cannot be allowed to take on their own association and the board, call off a tour, cost the board so much money, money they cannot afford, and then simply say, after a few days rest, they are ready to play, to earn more money and are allowed to do so.

A few more things.

Does West Indies cricket mean West Indies Test cricket only?

Does the money in West Indies cricket belong to the Test players only?

And does WIPA represent the West Indies Test players only, or do they represent, equally, all first-class players in the West Indies?