The first West Indies-Bangladesh Test match, scheduled to begin on Thursday, threatened to be a non-starter as the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) and its players were locked in an impasse over a wide range of issues.
The crux of the matter seemed to be the fact that the players had undertaken the last four series without central contracts and were unwilling to play a fifth till the matter was resolved.
Dinanath Ramnarine, who heads the players’ association, listed the other issues as: settlement of payments for the tour of England, settlement of fees for the Twenty20 World Cup, India’s tour of the Caribbean, Bangladesh’s tour, injury payments for players, unauthorised use of players’ images, clothing contracts, and an arbitration matter pending for the last years.
“The players’ association has made every effort since our meeting in April to have the matters agreed upon honoured, and those that were still to be agreed upon, resolved in an amicable way,” said Ramnarine.
The WICB, however, did not see things this way. The Board refused to adopt the various amendments to a draft retainer contract which WIPA submitted past the deadline date. They also disagreed on just how much the players were to be paid for certain assignments and noted that it had already lost three million dollars from players refusing to sign retainer contracts, or signing late.
But the WICB was willing to pay players effective from the date of signature until September 30 this year, when new contracts would be negotiated, but this has not been accepted by WIPA.
Even after the players made it clear that they “cannot continue playing without any contracts with the WICB,” the board chief was confident the Test would be played as scheduled.
“As far as we are concerned (there) will be a Test match on Thursday,” said WICB president Julian Hunt. “Goodness me, we can’t play a Test match without players. I can’t go beyond that.”
Local newspapers reported that WI players had returned to their home cities. However, the Bangladesh team continued to practice for the Test that begins on Thursday.