The West Indian board has decided to pick a second-string squad to tour Sri Lanka, leaving out a number of top players, including Brian Lara, Ramnaresh Sarwan and Chris Gayle, owing to the contracts dispute between the board and the West Indian Players Association (WIPA).
Shivnarine Chanderpaul will lead the 14-member squad, scheduled to play two Tests against Sri Lanka apart from a one-day tri-series, also involving India. Eight of the players invited are in Sri Lanka with the West Indies A team while two others are playing in England.
A similar situation had cropped up before the series against South Africa earlier this year when a new-look side was picked for the first Test in Guyana before the dispute was temporarily sorted out and West Indies were back to full-strength for the rest of the season. However, Roger Brathwaite, the chief executive officer of the WICB, said that the board couldn't afford the latest demands by the WIPA as they were too unreasonable.
"The board had indicated to WIPA last October, at the time of the discussions prior to the VB Series in Australia, that its demands in relation to sponsorship fees were highly unreasonable and unsustainable given the level of sponsorship which the board has with Digicel," Brathwaite was quoted as saying in a media release. "The board cannot afford this latest demand by WIPA for US$150,000 given the level of sponsorship fees already paid for this year with the VB Series and the Digicel Home Series and with another tour to Australia scheduled for later this year."
Brathwaite went on to outline the payments that the players will get on the forthcoming Sri Lankan tour. He said with the US$50,000 offered by the board for the Sri Lanka tour, the sponsorship fees so far for the players, with one tour still to come, would already amount to more than 18% of the net annual sponsorship figure of US$3.375 million that the Board was scheduled to receive from Digicel. Further, he said the team could earn as much as US$300,000 for this tour from sponsorship payments alone. He added that it was imperative that a mechanism be put in place through which a fixed percentage of the net annual sponsorship fee would be paid to the players through the life of the five-year contract.
Brathwaite also reiterated that the board had agreed to an adjudication on the issue of Clause 5 as well as the intervention of a professional mediator as suggested by Justice Adrian Saunders to the two parties at a meeting on June 17. The board had given its consent to this suggestion earlier, but the WIPA only agreed to the idea recently.
"The board has no problem with a binding arbitration on the issues," he added. "It is more than strange that these proposals come now from WIPA for instant settlement, six months after repeated calls to meet bore no fruit. Clause 5 of our Match/Tour Contract does not stop players from having individual endorsement contracts and the insertion of Clause 5b in our view makes this even clearer. All the clause seeks to do is to put order in the process and protect both the player, the board and the major sponsor."
Xavier Marshall, Ryan Ramdass, Runako Morton, Shivnarine Chanderpaul (capt), Sylvester Joseph, Denesh Ramdin (wk), Narsingh Deonarine, Dwayne Smith, Daren Powell, Omari Banks, Kerry Jeremy, Deighton Butler, Tino Best, Jermaine Lawson.