Exclusive - West Indies row nears end

Gayle and Sarwan end Cable & Wireless contracts

Martin Williamson

March 30, 2005

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Ramnaresh Sarwan and Chris Gayle put the team interest ahead of thier financial benefits © Getty Images
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The bitter dispute which threatened to rip West Indies apart appeared to be almost over with the news that Ramnaresh Sarwan and Chris Gayle had informed Cable & Wireless that they were terminating their personal contracts with immediate effect.

The company were advised by fax on Wednesday afternoon, and it is likely that the four remaining affected players- Dwayne Bravo, Dwayne Smith, Fidel Edwards and Ravi Rampaul. - will follow suit very shortly. The news will not only mean that they are available for selection but Cricinfo believes that Brian Lara, whose unavailability was as a result of his support for his colleagues rather than his own contractual situation, will also return to the side.

Sanjeev Datadin, legal counsel to Gayle and Sarwan, said that the pair had decided to act in the best interests of West Indies cricket, adding that all they wanted to do was "play the game". The statement explained the reasons for their decisions: "Ramnaresh Sarwan and Christopher Henry Gayle have without success sought a release by Cable and Wireless Limited from arrangements made between them and Cable and Wireless, before Cable and Wireless lost sponsorship of West Indies cricket to a competitor.

"As a result of the arrangements they have made with Cable and Wireless, they were denied the opportunity to be considered for selection to the West Indies cricket team. Ramnaresh Sarwan and Christopher Gayle wish it to be known that they have terminated their relationship with Cable and Wireless because they have been unable to obtain a release from their obligations which they have with that company despite every effort made by them and on their behalf.

"As a consequence, their careers as cricketers have been seriously damaged. In order that they may save their careers, they have been obliged to take this course." The statement continued: "They wish to observe that the conflicts over sponsorship between Cable and Wireless and Digicel have meant that their careers as cricketers have suffered and wish to state they will not consider any form of personal endorsement from either Cable and Wireless and Digicel for the next six months.

They have taken this decision in the interests of West Indies cricket and it is hoped that the West Indian public will understand this difficult decision."

Any decision to breach the contract would technically mean that Cable & Wireless could take legal action, but were they to do so Cricinfo believes the publicity would be extremely hostile, making such a move unappealing.

It is unlikely that the selectors will want to disrupt the preparations for Thursday's first Test so late in the day, but all the affected players will almost certainly be available for selection for the remainder of the series.

A spokesman for Digicel welcomed the announcement and said that "everyone will be delighted to see the strongest West Indies side on the pitch."

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Martin Williamson Executive editor Martin Williamson joined the Wisden website in its planning stages in 2001 after failing to make his millions in the internet boom when managing editor of Sportal. Before that he was in charge of Sky Sports Online and helped launch and run Sky News Online. With a preference for all things old (except his wife and children), he has recently confounded colleagues by displaying an uncharacteristic fondness for Twenty20 cricket. His enthusiasm for the game is sadly not matched by his ability, but he remains convinced that he might be a late developer and perseveres in the hope of an England call-up with his middle-order batting and non-spinning offbreaks. He is now managing editor of ESPN EMEA Digital Group as well as his Cricinfo responsibilities.
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Players/Officials: Chris Gayle | Ramnaresh Sarwan
Teams: West Indies
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