West Indies news February 11, 2016

'Players never said they would strike' - Darren Sammy

File photo - Darren Sammy stressed that the players in the World T20 squad wanted an opportunity to negotiate the terms of their contract fairly. © Getty Images

Darren Sammy, captain of West Indies' World Twenty20 squad, has stressed that his side has never said they would strike or not take part in the tournament in India due to an ongoing contract impasse with the West Indies Cricket Board. Sammy reiterated that the players are unhappy with the remuneration offered by the WICB for participating in the tournament, which starts from March 8.

Speaking to ESPNcricinfo in Dubai, where he is playing in the inaugural Pakistan Super League, Sammy also questioned the comments made by WICB CEO Michael Muirhead, who had said it was not possible for the West Indies board to identify how much it would be paid by the ICC with respect to the 2016 World T20.

"We players are not happy with the remuneration offered by the WICB to participate in the World Twenty20," Sammy told ESPNcricinfo. "We have not given any authorisation to WIPA to negotiate on our behalf. A large number of players in the squad do not receive any significant remuneration from WICB at all, so we want the opportunity to negotiate fairly the financial terms within the contract.

"In the past 25% of the income received by the WICB for participating in ICC tournaments was distributed to the squad. The remuneration being offered now compared to previous World Cup events is shocking to say the least. We are being offered now just $6,900 per match across the board irrespective of experience. Players are being asked to start providing services from nearly four weeks ahead of the World Cup and be guaranteed just $27,600 if they play all the guaranteed matches (which) is a staggering reduction. What happens to a player who does not feature in a match?

"The WICB say they cannot figure out what 25% of the participation fee is as the ICC's formula has changed. Surely they (WICB) must know a figure. What is it? We want the match fees to be doubled. I have also written to the WICB asking if they have got a sponsor for the team, and what is the sponsorship revenue. We need answers."

Responding to Sammy's letter on February 9, Muirhead had stated that the sums mentioned by the player were incorrect. Replying to Sammy's estimate of the payment expected from the ICC for the team's participation in the World T20, Muirhead said that the $8 million figure quoted by Sammy was incorrect. He further stated that following the ICC's revamp in 2014, the manner of distributing payments to Full Members for ICC events had changed and was spread over an eight-year cycle, instead of "being paid out in a lump sum and attributed to any one event."

Sammy also stated that the team had not backed out of participating in the World T20: "Under my watch, players never said they would strike or not take part in the World Cup. All we've said is we don't accept the terms given or agreed by an association that doesn't represent us."

Fourteen of the 15 members of the West Indies squad for the World T20 are not members of the WIPA and, despite Muirhead's statement that WIPA was the "recognised collective bargaining representative" of West Indies cricketers, Sammy said the body had no authority to negotiate on behalf of the players.

"Still they [WIPA] are the ones WICB negotiates with on player issues. But 14 of the 15-member World Cup squad is not part of WIPA," Sammy said. "West Indies cricket has gone through a lot and it will continue to go through a lot. I don't see things changing anytime soon."

Click here to read the full interview with Darren Sammy.

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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