EDITORIAL: The three Cs of West Indies cricket
West Indies cricket has been clouded in chaos, confusion and controversy over the past 15 years.
A month ago, we had reason to believe that the long history of conflict and acrimony between the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) and the West Indies Players Association (WIPA) would have become a thing of the past following the signing of a new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) between the two bodies.
As dramatic events have unfolded during the last few days, it has emerged that all is still not well – far from.
The confusion that emerged yesterday over the tour of India is nothing short of a major embarrassment that has caused considerable damage to the image of West Indies cricket.
After the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) issued a Press release advising that it had been informed by the WICB of its decision to cancel the rest of the tour, the WICB said that contrary to media reports, it had taken no decision to discontinue the tour.
More than six hours later, the WICB confirmed the tour would not continue as a result of the action by the players, leaving the board no option but to advise the BCCI that it was unable to provide a team for the remaining matches.
Never in the long history of West Indies cricket have we ever seen the regional team aborting a tour midway and even as we try to unravel this confusion, we cannot even begin to contemplate the repercussions.
When we hear strong language from the BCCI that it is thinking about taking legal action against the WICB and contemplating a review of West Indies’ players participation in the lucrative Indian Premier League (IPL), it is clear that the cricket body that is viewed as the most powerful in the sport is very angry.
It is safe to assume that several WI top players have made most of their money over the past few years through the opportunities they have had in the IPL. But we must ask: before deciding to go to the extreme, did they consider that their actions could ultimately lead to their failure to earn another IPL contract?
While we feel the players should explore all options available to seek redress with their employers or their union, they must know that the timing of their decision to withdraw their services in the middle of the series would not have been taken lightly by the Indian authorities.
We also feel the WICB could have considered softening its tough stance in the interest of trying to reach a compromise. It made it clear to the players that WIPA is the only bargaining agent it recognises, while insisting that new MOU/CBA must form the basis of any negotiations.
Be that as it may, we feel the players should have continued to note their dissatisfaction in no uncertain terms and proceed with the remainder of the tour in the interest of maintaining good relations with the Indian authorities.
In the past, many disputes between the players and the WICB have been resolved – some after the intervention of third parties. We are, however, less optimistic that a solution to this latest impasse will be found in short order.