West Indies fully focused on winning World Cup T20 - Sammy
KOLKATA, India (CMC):
West Indies captain Darren Sammy said yesterday the contracts impasse with the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) was a thing of the past and stressed the squad was now fully focused on winning the Twenty20 World Cup.
Before leaving the Caribbean, the squad and the board sparred over the new pay structure in the tour contracts, raising fears of a player pull-out for the March 8 to April 3 ICC event here.
However, Sammy told reporters here that all pay issues had been put aside.
"Once you step out on the cricket field, you should not be worried about contracts and other stuff," Sammy said.
"It's about making your country proud. This event means a lot to us as a group. The next World Twenty20 is in 2020, and a few of our guys won't be part of that event, so this one is very important for us."
He continued: "As of now, we are in the World Twenty20, and that's what our focus is on. It's just cricket. At the end, we are professionals, but this event means a lot to us as a group."
Players complained to the WICB last month over the drastic reduction in pay for the T20 World Cup, contending it represented a decrease of between 50 and 80 per cent.
Writing on behalf of the squad, Sammy argued they would be guaranteed only US$27,600 for the tournament, whereas in the past, players raked in between US$57,937 and US$137,045 for ICC tournaments.
The WICB said the new arrangement had come about because of a change in ICC policy on the disbursement of funds and pointed out that the players union, WIPA, had signed off on the new changes.
Sammy, who led West Indies to the capture of the T20 World Cup in Sri Lanka four years ago, said the entire unit was highly motivated to repeat that success.
"Everyone's focus is on winning. A win here will mean a lot to us and people at home, especially in the current situation of our cricket. It's not just about the men's team, but the women's team as well," he said.
West Indies arrived here Monday and will take on India in the first of two official warm-up matches at Eden Gardens here tomorrow.
They will clash with Australia in the second warm-up next Sunday at the same venue, before opening their group campaign of the T20 World Cup against England on March 16 in Mumbai.