x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

WICB seeks replacements for Bangladesh series

Leading players announce a boycott of the upcoming Test series because of a long-standing contract dispute.

KINGSTOWN, ST VINCENT // The West Indies Cricket Board (WCIB) is desperately seeking to put together a team to face Bangladesh after leading players announced a boycott of the upcoming Test series because of a long-standing contract dispute. The Board on Tuesday began seeking to put together a second-string side - including many players involved in its Under 19 tournament - to fly to St Vincent where the first Test is set to begin on Thursday.

Bangladesh are scheduled to play two Tests, three one-dayers and a Twenty20 international on their four-week tour. The president of the West Indies Players Union, Dinanath Ramnarine, a former Test leg-spinner, said that the 13 players originally selected for the first Test had withdrawn since the West Indies Cricket Board failed to address concerns about lack of contracts for recent tours.

"The fact remains that the players have played their last four tournaments without a contract," Ramnarine said on Tuesday. "They are now being asked to play their fifth consecutive series without a contract which is highly unacceptable." "Having considered the situation carefully and dispassionately, and bearing in mind their own welfare without ignoring the concern of other stakeholders, the players have requested me as President of WIPA, the players' body, to inform the WICB, sponsors and the public that, regretfully, they cannot with immediate effect continue playing without any contracts with the WICB," Ramnarine added.

The WICB confirmed in a press release that there were still contract disputes with the players and WIPA regarding previous tours but claimed that the action taken by the players "constitutes a clear breach of the collective bargaining agreement between WICB and WIPA." The two bodies have had a number of wrangles since Ramnarine took over as head of WIPA six years ago. In 2005, then-captain Brian Lara and six other leading players were dropped from the team for the first home Test against South Africa because they held secondary contracts with a competing sponsor.

Later that year, more players, including current captain Chris Gayle, refused to tour Sri Lanka due to contract disputes. A second-string team, with Shivnarine Chanderpaul as captain and including current vice-captain Denesh Ramdin, fulfilled the team's commitments. This most recent dispute started last Saturday when the one-day players refused to attend the launch of the 2010 ICC Twenty20 World Championships, which will be hosted by the WICB in the Caribbean.

The Board described that no-show as "extremely ill-advised and premature" and claimed that "negotiations are ongoing with a view towards resolving all matters." *AP