WICB, WIPA finalise match tour and retainer contracts
Seven weeks after the retainer contract issue was said to be resolved, the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) and West Indies Players Association (WIPA) have finally decided on player tour contracts for the current series against India.
While an official announcement on the controversial matter is awaited, Zorol Barthley, the WICB chief of cricket operations, was reported as telling The Jamaica Observer: "What I want to say is that for this home series against India we are operating on a match tour contract. There have been some discussions with WIPA obviously over the last couple of days, things have been finalised and I think an official release is going to be coming from the Board and WIPA, but I can guarantee you that after fourth [and final] Test in Jamaica, the next time a West Indies cricket team takes the field, it will be on the retainer contracts."
Dinanath Ramnarine, the WIPA president, recently accused the WICB of not moving forward amid rumours of a player strike ahead of the ongoing St Kitts Test. Barthley, however, affirmed that long hours of discussions had lead to "a very detailed document which is going to govern contractual issues of West Indies cricket".
"There was some talk about industrial action. What I want to say with regards to contracts is that we have spent a lot of long hours, a lot of effort has gone into discussions on contracts, player contracts, player relations with the Board," he said. "There is obviously a disconnect between players and administration, which has always been evident. It has been there for a long time. It's an opportunity for maybe not let's stress on the words younger folks but Ramnarine and myself are two fairly youthful people."
Brian Lara and his team-mates went into the current Test without confirmation of how much money, if any at all, they were entitled to for the recently concluded Zimbabwe series as well as the ongoing one against India. According to Barthley, the matter was one that that would not happen again. "Some of the things that have come up are some of the issues that have been discussed. I think that what you are going to see happen in the long run is a very detailed document which is going to govern contractual issues of West Indies cricket," he said. "Respect is not something that can be bought. There is a certain mistrust that happens from player to Board level and a lot of times it takes people of West Indies Cricket Board, people like myself. In fact, we carry out the policies of the Board. That gap is being bridged.
"We are trying to lay the groundwork, we are making decisions now that are going to affect West Indies cricket in the next five, six, 10 years, and we've got to be mindful of that," he added. "We've got to think ahead, we've got to think outside of the box. There is a lot of criticism but if you are not in the kitchen, you are not going to feel the heat, and at the end of the day you can look people in the eye and say, you know I've really tried my best."