THE STARVING CHILDREN IN INDIA

It seems fallout from the infamous 2014 WICB pullout of its Indian tour just won’t go away.

From the outset, WICB appeared unable to maintain a consistent position on the simplest facts relating to the regional embarrassment.  At the time, Cricinfo reported on the tour’s termination as follows:

The West Indies tour to India has come to an abrupt end, with the BCCI saying it had been called off by the WICB and announcing a replacement tour. WICB initially released a statement saying it hadn’t called off the tour, but following a meeting after the fourth ODI in Dharamsala, it clarified that it was “left no option” by the West Indies players.”

WICB couldn’t even admit it terminated the tour despite my sources telling me this was done in writing and the communication sent to BCCI while the team was on the field playing an ODI.  For those whose memories have faded, here’s a chronology of the 2014 preckeh:

September 19: WICB and WIPA (through President Wavell Hinds) sign new bargaining agreement/Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) regarding players’ fees.

October 7: West Indies players threaten to boycott the first ODI claiming Hinds “hoodwinked” them.

October 8: WI play first ODI but Captain Dwayne Bravo asks Hinds and other WIPA officials to resign immediately.

October 11: Bravo writes to WICB President Dave Cameron seeking his “urgent intervention” over their dissatisfaction with fees.

October 15: The impasse between the players and WIPA intensifies. Hinds denies all allegations against him and asserts senior WI players expressed “100% support” for the MoU. Bravo denies any such resolution was passed.

October 16: WICB says it will “engage” only with WIPA, and not the players, to resolve the issue.

October 17: While WI playing the fourth ODI against India in Dharamsala, news breaks that the rest of the tour has been abandoned.

N.B: WICB President Dave Cameron was formally informed of the impasse on October 11 and his “urgent intervention” sought.  Between October 11 and 17, Cameron never found it useful to fly to India and speak to the players. On October 16, Cameron was still insisting he’d only talk to WIPA.  During that time, Cameron, whilst attending an ICC meeting in Dubai, was approached by the then BCCI secretary to fly with him to India to sort out the problem but HE REFUSED. Instead, he headed back home in the opposite direction.  In 1998, when the Pat Rousseau Board faced a similar imbroglio just before a tour to South Africa, Rousseau traveled urgently to London where he held two days of talks with the players as a result of which threatened strike action was averted and the tour proceeded as planned.

Adding insult to insult, WICB, after trying to bamboozle the world into believing the players had called off the tour, proceeded to victimize certain players, notably Dwayne Bravo and Kieren Pollard.  This reduced a once proud side to a shambles, losing Test Matches religiously and being competitive only in a lottery called T20 cricket.

There’s more.  BCCI threatened court action claiming massive sums from WICB as a result of the abandoned tour.  The impression has been given that all is hunky dory again and the two Boards have kissed and made up.  But my sources say different as funds for tours and from IPL are still being withheld from WICB by BCCI. Did WICB pocket any monies normally due on either the recent Tests in the Caribbean or ODI’s played in Florida?

Is it true that, when India toured the Caribbean, WICB wanted ODI’s structured into the tour (anticipated larger gate receipts) but BCCI refused, saying they only wanted Tests? When since do visiting teams dictate itineraries?  When they have home teams prostrated over the proverbial barrel, Watson.

When I was a child and balked at whatever food was provided (turnip comes to mind) my father had a standard response ‘Remember the starving children in India”. I now have nightmares of Indian fathers telling their children “Eat up boy. Remember the starving cricketers in the West Indies!”

It’s time for WICB to take a firm decision on this long-standing dispute. Surely it must be “eggs or young ones”?  Either WICB concedes BCCI’s claim or not.  This do-nothing attitude is rapidly amounting to an admission of liability despite WICB offering India a second XI to complete the tour which India refused.  So, there’s negotiating leverage.  WICB must bring this perennial uncertainty to a conclusion so WI cricket can accurately assess its financial future.

Peace and Love

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