Concern over West Indies impasse - ICC
Having been a quiet watchdog so far, the ICC has finally decided to clear its throat on the latest crisis that has enveloped West Indies cricket and offered its help as mediator, if needed.
Dave Richardson, the ICC general manager, has expressed concern over the imbroglio that saw most of the senior international players deciding to boycott the ongoing series against Bangladesh after the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) refused to negotiate with the West Indies Players' Associaton (WIPA) over various issues raised by the players including the retainer contracts.
"The ICC is concerned," Richardson told Cricinfo, but confirmed that the ICC has not liaised with the WICB. "We will be contacting them soon and ask them if we could offer any help."
Richardson was hopeful that the current stalemate would not affect September's Champions Trophy, where West Indies could be forced to field a weakened squad. "Certainly if the West Indies [board] does not sort out their relationship with their players it is a concern because we need a strong West Indies team coming to the Champions Trophy," he said.
The WICB's scramble to assemble a team to face Bangladesh has been widely viewed as a face-saving act; before the first Test the captain, Floyd Reifer, last played for West Indies in February 1999, and the rest of the squad is made up of a few players with international experience, such as Darren Sammy, and inexperienced domestic players.
In regards to views expressed by certain prominent figures, including Michael Holding, about the ICC still recognising the ongoing series as official, Richardson said stripping it of Test status was not on the cards.
Richardson was hopeful that West Indies, unlike Zimbabwe who were stripped of Test status primarily to the exodus of clutch players, would be supported by their board. "West Indies have had a proud record and it would be a pity if they cannot maintain it," he said, "But cricket is a mirror-image of a bigger social environment - the islands in the Caribbean are finding it tough financially and that might be reflected in the cricket as well. Having said that the best performing countries are the ones that are best administered and the West Indies' administration, I wouldn't say is bad, but hasn't been consistent. It keeps changing all the time and that is not good for the game."
Richardson's comments come at a time when the WIPA has sought the intervention of the Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM) to help solve the crisis.
Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at Cricinfo