ICC Champions Trophy 2009 September 15, 2009

Door ajar for full-strength Windies squad


West Indies could yet field a full-strength squad at the Champions Trophy, with the ICC willing to accept a "revised" line-up in the event the industrial relations dispute between the board and the players is resolved. Despite setting an August 11 deadline for national boards to nominate their 15-man squads for the Champions Trophy, the ICC has advised the WICB it would take into account the exceptional circumstances brought on by the labour dispute and allow the likes of Chris Gayle, Denesh Ramdin and Shivnarine Chanderpaul to play at the tournament.

For that to happen, the WICB and the players would need to end their stand-off before West Indies' tournament opener against Pakistan at the Wanderers Ground on September 23. The recent breakdown in mediation talks between the two parties raised fears of a damaging and protracted split, although WIPA's announcement this week that it would accept CARICOM's six-point resolution plan may yet mark a turning point in the labour crisis.

Both the ICC and its broadcast partner, ESPN STAR Sports, have impressed upon the WICB their desire for a full-strength West Indies team to compete at the eight-team, two-week tournament in South Africa. The Champions Trophy has been criticised in the past for lacking context and prestige in an already crowded international calendar, and the ICC is hopeful the streamlined format - and the $4 million prize purse - will reinvigorate the appetite of both the players and the public for the embattled tournament and the 50-over game in general.

A weakened West Indies squad is hardly in keeping with that ambition. The WICB controversially named a second-string squad for the Champions Trophy while locked in mediation talks with WIPA - a move criticised by Bharrat Jagdeo, the Guyanese president CARICOM chairman, and Sir Shridath Ramphal, the former Commonwealth secretary-general and CARICOM-appointed mediator - but an ICC source told Cricinfo hope remained that an 11th-hour settlement would allow West Indies to field their elite squad.

The ICC has played a behind-the-scenes role in the WICB-WIPA dispute, although Haroon Lorgat, the council's chief executive, would not be drawn on the specifics of their involvement. He did, however, call upon the West Indian board to restore senior players to the Champions Trophy squad; a move that would enhance the tournament's objective of pitting the best versus the best.

"We would be disappointed if the best team is not taken to South Africa, but we understand the complex situation that exists," Lorgat told Cricinfo. "The West Indies have the unfettered right to select whomever they choose."

Any move to return their elite players to the field would present the WICB with a sizeable logistical and cost issue. The Floyd Reifer-led West Indies squad have already arrived in South Africa and played two practice matches against provincial sides. The bulk of those players would presumably be recalled to the Caribbean should the path be cleared for the Windies' striking cricketers to return - a scenario the cash-strapped board could do without.

But there is much at stake - not least the desire of ESPN Star Sports to protect its reported $1.1 billion broadcast deal with the ICC through to 2015. Manu Sawhney, ESPN Star Sport's managing director, delivered a veiled criticism of West Indies' current stance by stating his hope that "the unique position of the ICC Champions Trophy in the international cricket calendar will remain intact with the full participation of best available squads from all the competing teams."

"We firmly believe that the ICC Champions Trophy should be a premium international event where the best players from the top cricketing nations compete for the honours and are confident that the ICC and the cricketing community in general shares that belief," Sawhney told Cricinfo.

"As highlighted by you, lately there have been concerns regarding West Indies that have been raised in the media. As ICC's leading commercial partners, we continually maintain a dialogue with the ICC on various aspects of our relationship. However, it is our policy not to publicly comment on such discussions. We are proud of our association with the ICC and very much value this relationship."

Alex Brown is deputy editor of Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Jagdesh on September 21, 2009, 17:49 GMT

    Well it's sad to say that this might as well be the end for WI cricket. The WICB will not budge until things are done their way. We know this. The ICC will realize this. WI will be replaced in future tournaments like the Champions Trophy. The WICB will be the final nail in the coffin for the current test regime - WI will have to play in the lower level of the new two-tiered test regime. In the past it was said that the captain usually went down with his ship, but in these modern times it seems as though more often than not it is the ship that must go down with the captain.

  • Alex on September 20, 2009, 12:07 GMT

    It should be replaced by Ireland, who quite honestly could easily beat this current West Indian team, let alone the other full members it has before (Pakistan and Bangladesh). Ireland are by far and away the best Associate and are one of the best fielding teams in one-day cricket, so why keep with the old club? Give Ireland their chance to progress to Test cricket.

  • Garcia on September 18, 2009, 16:18 GMT

    I cannot understand all the fuss about these so called Elite players. Aren't these the same ones who have us at the bottom of the standings anyway? Aren't these the same ones who Bangladesh also beat before? I say leave them alone if they dont want to play and let the WICB restructure the thing properly and lets rebuild. Let the nonsense stop right now, we at the bottom already.

  • BP on September 18, 2009, 1:56 GMT

    I am surprised that there is no comment from the WICB. The ICC and the sponsors obviously will feel the monetary pain that would occur if West Indies does not have it stars in the line up. The ICC has stepped into the foray very later and as such they should also be blamed for this fiasco. In any event, it would be interesting to see how the WICB reacts to any last minute changes. I would suggest that the West Indies are locked into the first game and when any B string players do not perform drop them and insert the A players. This should also apply to the A players if they do not perform in the second game. Hopefully, we can see a fourth and fifth game. To the Directors of the WICB, please do the right thing to restore some sembleance of credibility to the people of the West Indies.

  • Aaron on September 17, 2009, 9:58 GMT

    Scrap West Indies Cricket Team, which is a combined multi-national Caribbean cricket team, represents a joint cricket confederation (WICB), from all international tournament and any membership of ICC altogether! Replace West Indies with its righteous successor nation / nations as a full member of ICC! Bi-lateral Tests and ODIs with so-called West Indies still can be acceptable, but in any International Tournament they should come with their own identities, like in Olympics, Caribbean Games, all Football tournaments and all other games and tournaments - Barbados, Guyana,Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago, etc. cricket team. If it will not do immediately, we're going to sue against ICC in the international court to forced the placement of accuracy.

  • victor on September 17, 2009, 1:05 GMT

    Brilliant! These dimwits who call themselves the ICC- the governing body of cricket have finally come to their senses , but it is a little bit too late. The " Waste Indies " F Team is already in South Africa. Why didnt these smart men inform the WICB that they would not accept the disgraceful team that was chosen to represent the people of the West Indies over a month ago?

    It is still not late for the idiots who make up the WICB to atone for their disgraceful behaviour. Should they refuse, the ICC ,in the interest of cricket, should refuse to have the "F" team participate and should invite Bangladesh, who have beaten this group of village cricketers thoroughly in the West Indies , to take their place.

    Let us see if this if this impotent ICC organization has the balls to act now in the interest of cricket fans all over the world who do not want to see a Tournament that does not have the best players!

  • Naqi on September 17, 2009, 0:01 GMT

    Well now atleast resolve the dispute n plzzz send the team which ICC has allowed. The CT will be much competitive n exciting... PLzzz both the parties come to your senses . Atleast for your fans....

  • Ambrose on September 16, 2009, 21:53 GMT

    This has gone on for so long that sometimes I wonder if it will really make a difference whether the so called "star players" play or not. We know that reasonably the star players will not be featuring in SA so I don't know what all the fuss is about. Just let the current team be and play the tournament. The WICB would be contradicting itself since it said that the players would no longer tour without contracts. How many years from when WI lost 5 nil in SA have we said just do away with all of them. I think that this should give the current team members a chance to prove their worth.For example guys like Sammy who was constantly just left in the dumpsters by the selectors. The "stars" should go in the regional tournament and dominate then we will generally have a better number of cricketers to choose from for the Australia tour.

  • Douglas on September 16, 2009, 20:30 GMT

    It is sad to see that most postings support the view that the Board is wrong and should back down on this issue. There is no right or wroing, WIPA is equally to blame for the mess. Mr Ramnarine is pursuing his own agenda which has little if anyhting to do with the welfare or good of the players. Who pays his salary that allows him to enjoy a comfortable life style after his brief and quite pointless cricket career? The same players he is now using. The players need to wiser up but with CH Gayle leading them that is unlikely. His star is fading and he will soon be a spent force. The present team must stand and the striking players must play regionally to be considered. They have not produced in the past and there is no automatic right to selection. Let us support the present team in this competition.

  • Amar on September 16, 2009, 18:19 GMT

    This lastest baccanal within the WICB an WIPA, have once again disgraced and downgraded the WI once again. Now with an opportunity to regain respect by the good faith of the ICC by allowing us to field a first rate team, we chose to still fight an demand that a bunch of so-called WI cricketers who can't even beat a club side represent WI. The same WI who made it to the 20/20 semi-final only a few mths ago. This is just madness by the the president of the WICB (Mr. Hunte). Lets pay our players properly then demand favorable results, also why are we selecting a bunch of guys this old??? I'd rather see 11 young men under the age of 19 than a team made of a number of over-30 rejects.

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