The West Indies crisis October 28, 2014

'India could have taken West Indies to the cleaners'

Former West Indies seamer Ian Bishop has labelled the current crisis surrounding the WICB, WIPA and the players as "disappointing" and one which occurred at "the wrong place and the wrong time".

Bishop said he was shocked when West Indies' ODI captain Dwayne Bravo broke the news that the players would be pulling out of their tour of India, and expects their actions to lead to "potentially a great setback."

"There's a lot of disappointment in terms of the Indian nationals," Bishop told Line and Length TV. "There's a lot of goodwill for the West Indies in India and that is based historically on the tours that have taken place here going way back and the great players who started their careers here. And of course, in more recent times, the way that the Pollards, the Russells and the Narines have performed in the IPL."

Bishop also admitted that he fully understood the BCCI's fury as well as that of the Indian public regarding the "drastic" action taken by West Indies.

"A lot of fans were angry. It's unprecedented what happened. There's a sense of disbelief. It is not a move I would have advocated. It [India] is the biggest cricketing market."

Bishop felt the players did not grasp how dire the financial consequences of their actions would be, and said the players, WIPA and WICB all bore a share of the blame for allowing matters to escalate so much after the tour had started. Regarding the MoU disagreement and subsequent disputes over payment structures, Bishop chalked it down to mis-communication between the parties and believed that the situation was well within resolve.

"It's been well-ventilated. I like WIPA. I like Wavell Hinds. He is a principled and intelligent guy who really formulates his own views but to me there's been a misstep with him and one or two of his executive colleagues in not communicating back to the players the mandate that they were given before they signed off on it.

"The players were not in opposition to the proposed financial structure but they wanted a final say and to be more included in the process. Now, the conversation is going away from what happened and unbelievably to how the other countries can help the West Indies."

Bemoaning the players' lack of foresight in recognizing the domino effect that was prompted by their strike, Bishop said West Indies should have known how this could also affect the regional game, given the financial framework in place regarding the India trip and television rights.

"Knowing what you know now, given that you don't understand television rights, the millions of dollars lost by the innocent party, the BCCI; given the income that would have come in; the revenue that would have come in to the West Indies to fund youth cricket, women's cricket, grassroots cricket, the professional league," he said. "If India weren't as kind, and they are being kind because they can take the West Indies to the cleaners, you could kill the goose that laid the golden egg for you. You could wipe the whole thing out.

"The West Indies board as well, they understand television rights, they have negotiated way back their own television rights as well so they should have understood the impact and maybe have moved in sooner to cull this whole antagonism that was going on."

With the possibility that West Indies' upcoming tour of South Africa could also be cancelled, Bishop called for swift and decisive action from all parties, conceding that West Indies now risked the tag of being unreliable, which he believes could be one of their most detrimental steps to date.

"It's not a good reputation to have. Communication has to be improved. Administration has to be improved."

Renaldo Matadeen is a sportswriter and social media manager for ESPN Caribbean. @RenaldoMatadeen

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