MUMBAI – The West Indies Cricket Board’s (WICB) finances could take another huge hit with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) saying yesterday it was now reviewing its 2016 tour of the Caribbean.
Indian officials are fuming after West Indies players abandoned the One-Day tour of India on Friday, following the fourth One-Day International in Dharamsala, over a pay dispute with their union, the West Indies Players’ Association.
The players’ move scuppered tomorrow’s final ODI carded for Kolkata, the lone Twenty20 International in Cuttack on Wednesday, and the three-Test series that was expected to bowl off October 30.
“It will be very difficult to play West Indies in bilateral series in future. They have to demonstrate the willingness that such situations never happen again,” international media quoted BCCI secretary Sanjay Patel as saying.
“I would say that India’s next tour of West Indies is highly unlikely to go ahead in the current situation.”
In addition, the BCCI is likely to claim damages of at least US$65 million from the WICB for West Indies having pulled out of the tour to India.
The BCCI’s working committee will decide whether to go ahead with the claim at a meeting on Tuesday in Hyderabad.
Though Sri Lanka agreed to fill in for West Indies and play five ODIs in India in November, the BCCI will still lose income for 12 match days for the 2014-2015 season. The BCCI is likely to claim those damages from the WICB.
“We have referred the matter to our legal cell and asked them to let us know by the 21st about how we can pursue the issue legally,” Patel said yesterday, though declining to elaborate on the numbers since he said they were still being computed.
“They [WICB] entered into a bilateral agreement with us, and they abandoned the tour due to their internal issues so we will have to seek compensation. But, depending on the legal advice, the working committee will decide the future course of action.”
The series started under a cloud of uncertainty with West Indies players threatening to withdraw their services ahead of the first ODI in Kochi, over their contractual grouse with WIPA.
They argued the new terms of the collective bargaining agreement, which WIPA signed recently with the West Indies Cricket Board, would result in a drastic reduction in their earnings.
A flurry of ill-tempered emails between the players and WIPA led to an escalation of tensions and when a last-ditch appeal to the WICB by the players failed, the squad informed team management they would no longer continue the tour.
Patel said regardless of the off-field issues, West Indies had an obligation to complete the tour.
“Whatever the dispute, they should have honoured the bilateral agreement,” Patel said.
“We thank our friends Sri Lanka, who agreed to the tour on a short notice but, unfortunately, we couldn’t fit in the Tests as there was not enough time.”
West Indies are expected to host India in three Tests, five ODIs and a T20 early in 2016, a tour that was expected to be a financial windfall for the WICB.
The BCCI is the world’s richest cricket board, with series involving India often attracting high global viewership.
Millionaire businessman N. Srinivasan, a former BCCI president, is now chairman of the International Cricket Council.
Patel said the BCCI intended to take steps to ensure it did not find itself in a similar situation again, with a team walking out on a bilateral series.
“We have suffered huge losses and the ICC is our parent body and we are going to ask them to ensure that this never happens in the future,” Patel said.
The WICB are also expected to face legal action from the BCCI as fallout for the One-Day squad failing to complete the series. (CMC)