The stand-off between the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) and the players' union rumbled on, after the first round of talks to resolve the contracts and payments dispute lasted just 23 minutes early yesterday. The Caribbean's leading Test players have boycotted this summer's Bangladesh series over the row, with the WICB fielding an inexperienced XI against the subcontinent side. And as the tourists struggled to negotiate the makeshift Windies pace attack in the first Test at St Vincent, the hostilities between the WICB and West Indies Players' Association (Wipa) reached fever pitch, with the board refusing to negotiate with striking players.
"The WICB is not prepared, consistent with good industrial relations practices, to negotiate under duress, and insists that before any good faith negotiations commence, the players' strike must first end," the board said. The WICB believe they have committed an "act of good faith" in agreeing to pay their "former players" amounts based on previous negotiations. But a stalemate between the two parties exists over a series of issues highlighted by the Wipa, including retainer contracts.
With the players' body refusing to call off the strike, the Trinidad meeting ended in a farce. Following the Wipa's strike announcement two days before play, the WICB were forced to swiftly assemble a reserve team. Featuring seven uncapped players, only the captain Floyd Reifer, fast bowler Tino Best and all-rounders Darren Sammy and Dave Bernard Jr have played any Test cricket. The board will not have missed their top players yesterday with the Bangladesh batsmen playing poor cricket to be reduced to 121 for six at lunch on the second day in Kingston. Best took two for 30 while Bernard chipped in with two for 26.