West Indies Pulls Out Of India Tour

The West Indies tour to India has been called off suddenly due to the ongoing payment structure dispute with the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) and its players association. The fourth ODI in Dharamsala will be their last game of the series, which was scheduled to have a fifth ODI, a Twenty20 international as well as three Tests.

A press release from the BCCI said it was, "shocked and disappointed" and that the decision to abandon the tour had been "taken by the WICB."

"They have withdrawn their team and this (development) has come abruptly. We received an e-mail from Richie Richardson, the West Indies team manager, only this morning," BCCI secretary Sanjay Patel told ESPNcricnfo. A senior BCCI official said the West Indies team management had informed the board of their decision earlier on Friday. India will now instead play five ODIs against Sri Lanka in November.

The BCCI's release said, "The WICB's inability to resolve internal issues with its players and allowing the same to affect an ongoing bilateral series does not reflect well on any of those involved." The withdrawal had, "given little thought to the future of the game, the players and the long standing relations between the BCCI and WICB."

It stated that, "this is a unilateral decision taken by the WICB and its players, in spite of several appeals to the WICB to honour its commitment and complete the series." The BCCI would "pursue all options available" and seek "appropriate action" from the ICC," referring to the abrupt end to the tour, as "such acts of indiscretion."

According to BCCI joint secretary Anurag Thakur, the West Indies players were "hell bent on not to play" even the fourth ODI, and only agreed to take the field upon his insistence.

Before the game, Dwayne Bravo, the West Indies ODI captain, had indicated something serious was brewing when he told Ian Bishop, the television commentator, at the toss, unprompted: "Time to make a decision." Bravo was accompanied by the entire West Indies team in the background.

The root cause behind the divide between the West Indies players and the West Indies Players Association (WIPA) had been the memorandum of understanding and the combined bargaining agreement signed between WIPA and WICB in September. Bravo, acting as the player representative, had claimed that WIPA president and CEO Wavell Hinds had kept the players in the dark over the MoU, which he signed without their consent.

On the eve of the first ODI in Kochi, Bravo had warned that if Hinds did not cooperate and respond to the questions raised by the players, a strike or a pullout form the Indian tour could not be ruled out. Though Hinds responded eventually, Bravo has continued to insist that Hinds should step down as CEO and president, and even asked the WICB to not communicate with WIPA till a solution was found. However, WICB president Dave Cameron sent an e-mail letter to Bravo saying the board would only engage with WIPA, adhering to the MoU signed in September.

(Cricinfo)



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