CWI offering players '$25,000 to tour Pakistan'
Cricket West Indies (CWI) is offering its contracted and non-contracted players major pay hikes as an incentive to play the series of three T20 internationals in Pakistan next month.
West Indies will announce a 13-man touring squad to tour Pakistan when the ongoing World Cup Qualifier concludes. CWI did not confirm or deny the amount but it is being suggested that the touring squad are being offered around US$25,000 each for the three matches in Karachi on April 1, 2 and 3.
Depending on the contract status of players, that means they will be getting anywhere between 70% more and double what they would ordinarily be paid. Under the new CWI contracts announced in January, many of non-contracted T20 specialists got a raise of US$1725 to US$5000 per game, along with double match fees for all three formats.
Though CWI will be paying the players, the money for that to happen has come from a payment made by the PCB to CWI for this series - as it is outside the Future Tours Programme (FTP) as it stands. According to a PCB official, that payment to a touring side by the host board is standard for non-FTP series and one the PCB benefited from in a 2013 ODI tour to South Africa.
"Pakistan are looking to play more cricket at home, by playing half of the PSL in Pakistan next year and a number of matches in upcoming bilateral series under the current FTP," CWI CEO Johnny Grave told ESPNcricinfo. "However what they can't continue to do is pay international players additional fees to tour Pakistan or PSL.
"So, considering this tour is outside the Future Tours Programme, the PCB have made a payment to CWI that is being fully utilised. CWI isn't making any money from the series, just supporting cricket going back to Pakistan."
The issue of paying players extra to tour Pakistan, which hasn't hosted regular international cricket since the March 2009 terror attacks on the Sri Lanka team, is a delicate one for the PCB. They paid Zimbabwe's players US$12,500 each for a tour in 2015, the first by any international team to Pakistan since 2009.
Foreign players were also offered extra money on top of their contracts to play in the PSL final in Lahore last year. The players that toured Lahore as part of a World XI last September were also paid by the PCB.
It is an extra cost the board could easily do without but, because the aim is to bring back cricket to Pakistan, it is seen as a long-term investment. The PCB gradually wants to end the practice - no extra money was paid to Sri Lanka when they played a single T20 in Lahore last year, although it was a heavily depleted squad that came.
Grave did confirm that the boards have a separate agreement to play T20 matches in USA and Canada. According to an ESPNcricinfo source, CWI has reserved dates at the Central Broward Regional Park in Lauderhill, Florida for the weekend of August 4-5 to play a pair of T20Is. This is the last weekend ahead of the start of the Caribbean Premier League, for which all West Indian players were announced to be available from August 8-September 16 since it does not clash with any FTP requirements.
"As a trade off for this, we have their agreement to play regular T20 games in USA or Canada outside of the FTP to try and build interest in cricket in our timezone," Grave said. "We [CWI] have been very up front with players and told them all money we are getting for this series they will be getting."
It is unclear which members of the current squad in Zimbabwe will tour Pakistan, however. According to sources close to players none of five of the Bravo brothers, Kieron Pollard, Sunil Narine and Andre Russell - whom chief selector Courtney Browne attacked for choosing PSL over the World Cup Qualifier - were selected. There will also likely be no place for Darren Sammy.
Russell and Dwayne Bravo are currently injured, while Narine also elected not to visit Pakistan, even before doubts resurfaced over his action after he was reported in the PSL.
According to his representatives, Pollard does not feel comfortable traveling to Pakistan at the moment. He had already decided not to travel with his PSL side, Multan Sultans, if they had made it through from the group stage.
Whether Darren Bravo was contacted about playing is unknown, but some likely squad members include veteran legspinner Samuel Badree, Rayad Emrit and potentially a recall for Denesh Ramdin.
Badree is set to visit Pakistan with Islamabad United and has the experience of going there with the ICC World XI last year. Emrit, who was recalled for the January T20 series in New Zealand for the first time in a decade, also visited Pakistan for the PSL final in 2017.