West Indies in India 2014-15 October 17, 2014

West Indies pull out of India tour


The West Indies tour to India has come to an abrupt end, with the BCCI saying it had been called off by the WICB and announcing a replacement tour. The WICB initially released a statement saying it had not called off the tour, but following a meeting after the fourth ODI in Dharamsala, it clarified that it was "left no option" by the West Indies players.

The developments followed a protracted payment structure dispute between the players, the WICB and West Indies Players' Association.

At the end of the game, the official broadcaster Star Sports displayed India as the winners of the ODI series by a 2-1 margin, though no trophy was given to MS Dhoni at the presentation ceremony.

Following news of West Indies' pullout emerged mid-way through the first innings, the BCCI said it was "shocked and disappointed" that the decision to abandon the tour had been "taken by the WICB", and that India would now play five ODIs against Sri Lanka between November 1 and 15, after Sri Lanka Cricket accepted the invitation to fill the void.

"They have withdrawn their team and this [development] has come abruptly. We received an email from Richie Richardson, the West Indies team manager, only this [Friday] morning," BCCI secretary Sanjay Patel told ESPNcricnfo. Patel also said the board was contemplating legal action against the WICB.

Shortly after that development, however, the WICB put out a statement saying it had not taken a decision to end the tour. "The West Indies Cricket Board advises, that, contrary to media reports, it has taken no decision to discontinue the ongoing tour to India," it said. "The WICB will make a further statement following the conclusion of the fourth one-day International which is in progress."

Late in the day, the BCCI issued a second release quoting Richardson's email and chronicling the events of the last week to support their position: "Despite agreeing to play the fourth ODI in Dharamsala, regrettably, the current West Indies players have decided that they will not participate any further in this tour and wish to return home after this match. In light of this, I suggest that the entire squad travel to Delhi tomorrow and be booked into a hotel there, until international return flights have been booked. On behalf of the entire squad and WICB, I apologise for the inconvenience caused." West Indies were scheduled to play a fifth ODI, one Twenty20 international and three Tests after the Dharamsala one-dayer.

The BCCI's first release had said, "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." They said the withdrawal had "given little thought to the future of the game, the players and the long standing relations between the BCCI and WICB."

"This is a unilateral decision taken by the WICB and its players, in spite of several appeals to the WICB to honour its commitment and complete the series."

The BCCI's joint secretary Anurag Thakur told PTI the West Indies players were "hell bent not to play" the fourth ODI, and only agreed to take the field upon his insistence.

Before the game, Dwayne Bravo, the West Indies ODI captain, had indicated something serious was brewing when he told television commentator Ian Bishop at the toss: "Time to make a decision." Bravo was accompanied by his West Indies team-mates, who stood beside him.

Tony Irish, the executive chairman of international players' association FICA, is reported to be working with WICB and WIPA to try and resolve the issue. "FICA is dismayed that the tour has been called off," he said. "It's not good for cricket and it's not good for player relations within cricket."

The reason for the dispute was the memorandum of understanding and the combined bargaining agreement signed between WIPA and WICB in September. Bravo, acting as the player representative, had claimed that WIPA president and chief executive Wavell Hinds had kept the players in the dark over the MoU, which he allegedly signed without their consent.

On the eve of the first ODI in Kochi, Bravo had warned that if Hinds did not cooperate and respond to the questions raised by the players, a strike or a pullout from the tour could not be ruled out. Though Hinds responded eventually, Bravo continued to insist that he should step down as chief executive and president, and even asked the WICB to not communicate with WIPA till a solution was found. However, WICB president Dave Cameron sent an email to Bravo saying the board would only engage with WIPA, adhering to the MoU signed in September. That development led to the West Indian players taking the extreme step of pulling out of the tour.

Former West Indies seamer Michael Holding called the development "ridiculous" and "embarrassing". "I have never seen anything like this in the past," Holding told Sky TV. "I can see serious repercussions from this. I think this is a ridiculous decision by the West Indies Cricket Board. They like to hide behind half-truths.

"It's embarrassing for me, as someone who played for West Indies, to see this happening. I was told a director of the WICB did not know about this decision. Let us hope the majority of the board made this decision, otherwise it has been made by very dubious means."

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • John on October 21, 2014, 23:05 GMT

    West Indies team is better than India team and also better than Lanka team.

  • Android on October 19, 2014, 13:31 GMT

    Once again with West Indies cricket it is the fans who suffer most. Yet, the players union, WICB and now the BCCI each believe they are the damaged party. Who will stop looking after themselves, and look after the fans

  • manjula on October 18, 2014, 16:55 GMT

    As an outsider WICB, WIPA, and Players cannot demand anything. Their style and strength have gone down. Everyone in WI cricket should take hugh paycut. First eeryone needs to work with minimal pay. Then only the true patriot will involve in the game for WI.

  • Dummy4 on October 18, 2014, 16:45 GMT

    Bravo et al just want too much money for playing what is basically mediocre cricket at best, if they were actually good I would not mind too much.

  • lakmal on October 18, 2014, 4:23 GMT

    As a SriLankan I feel really proud of SL team. They have done remarkable things even they had quite serious issues with cricket board. They played all most a year without a payment. End of the day they played for country. I'm not going to judge WI team, But I think they should have continued the series despite their internal issues

  • Siva on October 18, 2014, 2:56 GMT

    It will be good if some one oe ESPNCricinfo tell us about WICB. Since there are many soverign countries involved, WICB means what? How is it formed? What is their constitution/ authority? Who are they responsible for?

  • Dummy4 on October 18, 2014, 2:14 GMT

    Bhai India, together with bhai Pakistan helped SL in 1996 when West Indies and others boycotted WC matches here in SL. SL should reciprocate

  • Dummy4 on October 18, 2014, 1:44 GMT

    If I may now ask, what is the future of WI Cricket. The passion for the game is lost and salaries now take presidence. What does that mean for the cricket fan in the WI. Why didn't the president of WIPA step down for the sake of the game. What will be the response by the WICB management. Would WI teams be invited to tour other countries without a full strength team and what about the cricketing public in the Caribbean. How will they respond. I believe that the tour should have continued while someone mediates even for the sake of the game. Previously we would have sent weaker teams, recall Kerry Packet and channel 9 but at that time our second team could have challenges all and still win. One can only hope that the issues are resolved but I don't believe that will be anytime soon.

  • Dummy4 on October 18, 2014, 0:50 GMT

    @Alex Waterman on (October 17, 2014, 15:17 GMT:

    During a tour, the touring party's Manager represents the Board. That had been the tradition for ages. If the hosting Board, can not take their Manager's words ( in this case written words) on face value, there is a very SERIOUS problem with WICB.

    Similarly, if a Board can not take the word of the chief of WIPA, there is again a serious problem within the West Indies set-up. Within the Board! And, among the players and their representative body. West Indies cricket will be the biggest sufferer.

    It is a shame. This set of boys were gelling into a very very competitive group, and could have done well in uplifting the reputation of WI cricket. A strong and healthy WI cricket is important for the vibrancy of Global cricket.

    With the mess they are in now, I am not sure how they will resolve the issues. A big regression indeed. As a long standing fan of Caribbean, i fell very sad.

  • Dummy4 on October 18, 2014, 0:36 GMT

    This should be the end of West Indies Cricket sadly we will never get the glory days back cause these players are only concerned about money. They should have recieved a pay-cut instead of an increase because they can only play the 20/20 version..Our performances have been poor over the years.. RIP..Indivdual Countries should play on their own like in Football..RIP.. Bravo, Pollard, Ramdin..Goodnight and Goodbye..

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