Just when the sponsorship dispute between the West Indies cricket board and the players association appeared to be nearing resolution, the saga has taken another twist. Dinanath Ramnarine, the president of the West Indies Players' Association, has claimed that Brian Lara and six other dropped players have received death threats owing to the sponsorship dispute with the board.
"[They] face overwhelming pressure including death threats, and threats from the WICB never to play again," claimed Ramnarine. "Threats and intimidation from sponsors, and pressure from the highest political levels within the length and breadth of the Caribbean community."
Ramnarine lashed out at the board, further saying that the dispute - in which seven players were dropped from the squad for the first Test against South Africa in Guyana - had made the board "tyrannical and despotic". The board "has suspended its discretion, jettisoned all reasoning, and is hell-bent at all costs to do the bidding of its sponsor. In fact, the board was prepared to sacrifice West Indies cricket and the development of a successful team on the altar of commercial expediency."
The board, however, has declined to comment on the allegations made by WIPA. A statement on the windiescricket.com website quotes the WICB as saying: "The WICB is concerned about the tone and content of this highly emotional and totally inaccurate statement, which is most unbecoming and unworthy of an organisation representing professional sportsmen. The WICB, therefore, is of the view that this irresponsible statement is unworthy of any further response."