Engage with the BCCI as soon as possible to rebuild the relationship. And hand out stiff action, including possible bans, against the core group of players who engineered the pullout from the India tour. Those are the two main courses of action the 18 directors of the WICB will deliberate on at the emergency board meeting in Barbados on Tuesday morning.
The WICB realises it has burned bridges with the BCCI, but it has been a loyal supporter of the Indian board in the recent past and hopes to leverage this to its advantage.
Even though no agenda has been set for the meeting, directors who interacted with ESPNcricinfo felt the players had "embarrassed" the Caribbean and brought "collective shame" by deciding to leave the India tour mid-way.
The WICB was forced to convene the meeting after West Indies ODI captain Dwayne Bravo along with the rest of the squad informed the team management last Friday that the players would not take any further part in the tour after the fourth ODI in Dharamsala. The WICB issued two media releases immediately: initially it absolved itself of any blame, but the second release stated the board was left with no other option but to call off the tour.
Although the WICB put the blame on Bravo and his team-mates, the BCCI saw the matter differently. Sanjay Patel, the BCCI secretary, categorically pulled up the WICB for jeopardising the tour and said the BCCI would take appropriate action.
With the BCCI holding its working committee meeting in Hyderabad tomorrow, the WICB directors do not want to waste any further time in extending the hand of peace. "The only thing that will solve this problem will be dialogue," a senior WICB director said. "We need to discuss mainly [how] to try and build the relationship back with the BCCI. We know that the BCCI will have no confidence in the WICB supplying a team again, and no guarantee can be given in the present circumstances. The BCCI and the WICB have shared a good relationship. The BCCI officials should understand the situation and that the WICB had no other alternative but to do what it did. It was the players, really, to be blamed."
A second director agreed, saying reaching out to the BCCI was an "early step" which had become mandatory. "We have shamed our hosts. We have shamed ourselves. That must be on the agenda of the WICB." According to him the people of the West Indies were "shocked, overwhelmed and disappointed" at the action of the players. "It has brought collective shame to the Caribbean people. It was not the wish of the WICB for something like that to happen."
"Some just measures should be taken against the players. I would especially like the players who were part of the core group to call off this tour to be completely banned from participating in the IPL in future."A WICB director to ESPNcricinfo
The directors insisted that the WICB "did all what they could have done" in ensuring the tour would continue. They felt that the West Indies Players Association (WIPA) was the rightful place for Bravo and his men to engage in negotiations instead of seeking WICB intervention - only because the board would not bypass the player representative.
"We feel that WIPA, the legitimate representatives of players in the Caribbean, did what they may feel was right. They thought despite a lot of our players playing around the world [in different Twenty20 leagues] the standard of West Indies cricket was not raised. It continued to linger at the bottom edge of world cricket. And hence WIPA in association with the WICB decided to have 90 contracted players across the Caribbean to improve West Indies cricket. That is where the money, the players say they are losing, is going. It is not going into the pockets of the WICB bosses," the first director said.
He said he would ask the board to seriously consider some disciplinary action. "Some just measures should be taken against the players. I would especially like the players who were part of the core group to call off this tour to be completely banned from participating in the IPL in future." He said no such request from the WICB had been sent to the BCCI but that point was bound to be raised at the board meeting on Tuesday.
But his fellow board member felt it would be prudent to exercise patience and caution for now. "At this stage it is difficult to apportion blame to anybody. The fact is that they [the players] aborted the tour. No matter what difficulties were faced, this action is unprecedented. None of the tours aborted in the past were due to player conflicts. I wonder if the people involved understood the implications of such a decision."
The WICB finds itself in a tight corner with no ally, including the ICC. Even if the West Indies tour is part of the current FTP, the ICC has no direct role to play with respect to the dispute. Any claims and damages would need to be addressed according to the MoU signed by the BCCI and WICB. Under the new reforms, unveiled after the last ICC AGM, all matters relating to the FTP are dealt with directly by the members.
The BCCI's hard posturing so far suggests it is not afraid to lay down severe financial claims from the WICB. Some of its members want to have a rethink over India's tours to the Caribbean in 2016 and '17. "Definitely there will be long-term damage to West Indies cricket, to the reputation of the Caribbean people. How we could mitigate such damages would be the decision of the board, a decision we will have to be advised upon as well. Because it could have far-reaching consequences beyond cricket as well," the second director said.
But he was equally confident about working out a solution with both the BCCI and the players. Despite its aggressive stance, the BCCI is also likely to consider its progressive relationship with the WICB. Dave Cameron, the WICB president, has been a key supporter of India at the ICC board meetings. Last year West Indies players had to cut short their holidays as the WICB assembled quickly a team to play the two-Test series in India which where the farewell to Sachin Tendulkar.
"I am confident the administrators will look all around and not put punitive measures on people and territorial and regional boards. We have to look at the collective good of the sport, what is the best decision for the sport, what are the implications of the actions of doing one thing as against another thing. Good and mature sense will prevail in the end. I am confident of that," the second director said.
Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo