The player-board dispute nears an end December 23, 2004

WI likely to name full-strength squad for VB Series

Cricinfo staff

The West Indies board is poised to name a full-strength squad for the VB Series in Australia after it finally reached an agreement with the players on the contract dispute. The squad had not been announced earlier because 16 major players had not signed contracts due to possible conflicts of interest with their sponsors.

To the relief of the Australian board, the judge appointed to mediate in the matter announced that the tour would go ahead after the West Indies board and players association accepted the decision of the mediator. Justice Adrian Saunders had been appointed by the Grenadian prime minister Keith Mitchell, who told AAP, "There are some final issues that they are working on but we are quite convinced that we will have a resolution that will allow the tour to proceed."

The announcement was a welcome development for all involved, for a withdrawal would have resulted in lost earnings for the board, while Cricket Australia would have struggled to find a replacement. India were seen as a likely third team, but the suggestion was turned down by SK Nair, the secretary of the board, who said that India would be unavailable. He was quoted by The Sydney Morning Herald as saying, "We have played a lot of cricket and we are receiving Pakistan in February. Playing that series in Australia isn't an option."