NEW DELHI: The West Indies Cricket Board attacked one-day captain Dwayne Bravo after confirming Friday that the team’s tour of India had been abandoned following a strike by their own players in a pay dispute.
As India won the fourth of what were supposed to be five-one-day internationals by 59 runs in Dharamsala, the Board of Control for Cricket in India announced the tour was over — something which their Caribbean counterparts revealed Friday was a possibility right from the outset.
Several hours later, following a teleconference, the WICB issued a statement from their headquarters in St John’s, Antigua, blaming the collapse of the tour — with a fifth one-dayer, a Twenty20 match and three Tests all remaining on the itinerary — on their players.
“The WICB clarifies that players in the West Indies Squad currently in India represented by Mr. Dwayne Bravo indicated to the WICB through the West Indies Team Management that the players have taken a decision to withdraw their services for the remainder of the tour of India,” the WICB’s latest statement said.
It also said sending in a batch of fresh players to carry on the tour in place of the originally selected squad was not an option.
“The WICB wishes to further clarify that its proposed alternative arrangement of a replacement West Indies team was not considered acceptable. The WICB is understanding of this position.”
In the course of a 10-point statement, the WICB said it would hold an emergency board meeting in Barbados on Tuesday to “conduct a thorough assessment of all the ramifications of the premature end to the tour”, with a media conference after that meeting.
Several points in the statement saw the WICB “unreservedly apologise” to West Indian fans, global cricket followers, the BCCI and their sponsors for “this most regrettable situation and the premature end to the tour”.
The bitterness within Caribbean cricket was evident when the WICB statement also accused Bravo of turning on the president of the West Indies Players’ Association, Wavell Hinds, himself a former Test player.
In September, Hinds signed off on a new bargaining agreement between WIPA and the WICB which he labelled “not perfect” but a deal that offered the prospect of a stability.
– ‘On its knees’ –
However, in what appeared to be deliberately leaked correspondence, the WICB said it “further regrets that in his initial communication to the WIPA president and CEO Mr. Hinds, Mr. Bravo chose to use inflammatory language and issue a clear threat to cause injury to West Indies cricket”.
It added: “Specifically Mr. Bravo wrote: ‘Please note that we are giving you the opportunity to right this wrong before things deteriorate [sic] to such an extent that West Indies cricket to the wider cricket world looks to fall to its knees again’.”
Bravo had said before the start of the tour on October 8 the players had not accepted the payment agreement signed on their behalf by WIPA.
However, the players took the field for the first two one-dayers in Kochi and New Delhi, while the third match in Visakhapatnam was cancelled due to a severe cyclonic storm that hit India’s east coast.
Significantly, the sixth point of the WICB’s statement said they had warned Indian authorities the tour was “under a cloud of uncertainty from the inception” as a result of “postulations” by the players.
At Friday’s post-match presentation ceremony, Bravo said:. “It’s been tough for us on tour… Everyone is sticking together, despite what’s going on.
“We look forward to representing the West Indies again some time soon.”
Earlier, after being told by West Indies team manager Richie Richardson the squad would complete Friday’s match but not play any more game, angry BCCI secretary Sanjay Patel said: “The BCCI is shocked and extremely disappointed at the decision taken by the WICB.
“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 BCCI, meanwhile, announced it had finalised a five-match one-day series against Sri Lanka between November 1 and 15 to replace the cancelled tour, with the exact schedule and venues to be announced at a later date.