West Indies threaten boycott of fifth ODI
The possibility of a boycott of the fifth and final ODI between West Indies and England in St Lucia looms large with the West Indies captain Chris Gayle indicating that his team may not take the field on Friday if outstanding issues with the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) remain unresolved.
Only two days ago, Gayle said that the pay dispute wouldn't affect the remainder of the series and West Indies' forthcoming tour of England, with the hope that it would be resolved. However, speaking ahead of the fourth ODI in Barbados on Sunday, Gayle admitted his disappointment with the way the negotiations had unfolded between the board and the West Indies Players' Association (WIPA).
"I can say straight up that a boycott is a real possibility," Gayle told reporters on Saturday. "I am not going to go all around the world. I am going to say it plainly, 'we need to have these matters resolved before the end of the series', so we can forget about all of these disputes."
The WICB and WIPA had a two-day meeting earlier this week in Barbados to settle a number of issues including outstanding payments to the players from previous overseas tours. This happened after Dinanath Ramnarine, the WIPA president, quit as a director of the WICB, stating his position had become untenable due to the ongoing dispute.
Gayle said the fourth match will proceed as scheduled but the fate of the fifth will depend on the developments over the next few days. "I am disappointed with the way things have been handled. I think they (WICB) are still trying to bypass WIPA, and it is we, the players, that are instructing WIPA about what we want at this point in time," Gayle said.
"This is not a case, where WIPA goes off on its own and introduces these sorts of things. We, the players, have asked for these changes, so basically from a contractual point of view, WIPA are the ones to sort them out, but I am disappointed from what I hear.
"There was a lot of speculation before the [third ODI] about whether the game was going on. I know that I said I was looking forward to the game and so on and so forth. I would like to point out that I had not spoken to Ramnarine before attending the news conference [on Thursday], and when I got the feedback [from him], I got some disappointing news. It is not too good.
"There are a lot of rumours out there, and they want to make WIPA look bad, and WIPA is not a bad thing, so we are very disappointed and will play this game on Sunday and see what happens in the next couple of days after this."
He also expressed his disappointment at reports in the media that five senior players were considering skipping the tour of England for the IPL in South Africa. It is understood that up to five players are upset that the tour clashes with the IPL and the WICB reacted saying a statement will be issued soon regarding their availability.
"The players have come to me and are disappointed to see their names out there in the media tarnished," Gayle said. "It is not good. It is not right.
"The arrangement was that there was to be no comments regarding the negotiations, but we see these comments coming out, trying to get the public against us, which I think will not happen. But we are all big men and we all have to make our own decisions.
"Up to this day, no one has really come to me about playing in the IPL. But there is word on the street that there is a two-week window, and I could then fly to England."