The West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) admitted to cancelling the India series but blamed the West Indies players in general and its One Day International (ODI) captain Dwayne Bravo in particular for the scandal.
Earlier today, the WICB stated, in a release carried on its own website, that “contrary to media reports (the WICB) has taken no decision to discontinue the ongoing tour to India.”
The Board itself, which is headed by president Dave Cameron and CEO Michael Muirhead, admitted that this was untrue in a second release. The regional sporting body further apologised “unreservedly” to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) as well as sponsors and fans for the cancellation.
However, the WICB blamed Bravo’s “inflammatory language” and the “postulation” of the West Indies’ players for the debacle; while the Board suggested the series might have been salvaged if BCCI had agreed to accept a replacement squad from the series.
“The WICB wishes to further clarify that its proposed alternative arrangement of a replacement West Indies team was not considered acceptable,” stated the WICB. “The WICB is understanding of this position.”
The WICB claimed it intended to meet the players and West Indies Players Association (WIPA) CEO Wavell Hinds on Monday October 20 in India to discuss the new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA)/Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).
According to the cricket body, this meeting “was intended to acquaint all the parties of how it would roll out.”
The insinuation is that, a month after the landmark decision, the WICB and WIPA still had not briefed players on an agreement that would have cost them roughly 64 percent of their earnings for this tour.
It is unclear what difference the scheduled meeting might have made since Cameron made it clear, in an email to Bravo last weekend, that the WICB would not negotiate with any party but WIPA.
“While we recognise that we may certainly be able to play a role in mediating the apparent issues between yourselves and WIPA – and are willing if invited, to do so,” said Cameron, “we must make it clear to you that we recognise and respect the principles set out in the MOU/CBA signed by ourselves and WIPA on September 19, 2014; and any involvement on our part could only be in accordance with that agreement.
“The document is explicit in that the West Indies Players’ Association is the sole and exclusive collective bargaining representative recognised by the WICB for all Cricketers i.e. all persons contracted by the WICB to play for a West Indies Team. What this effectively means is that we will only engage in discussions relating to the welfare, working conditions and remuneration of Cricketers with WIPA.”
Cameron’s response, which came after the West Indies player insisted they no longer wished for Hinds or WIPA to negotiate on their behalf, was the final straw as far as the tour was concerned.
(Below is the full statement from the West Indies Cricket Board)
WICB Media Release
For immediate release
Friday, October 17, 2014
WICB statement re West Indies tour of India
St John’s, Antigua – The Board of Directors of the West Indies Cricket Board held an emergency meeting by teleconference today to discuss the developments with regard to the West Indies tour of India.
The Board of Directors was briefed of the latest developments and as a result of decisions taken the WICB advises:
1. The WICB clarifies that players in the West Indies Squad currently in India represented by Mr. Dwayne Bravo indicated to the WICB through the West Indies Team Management that the players have taken a decision to withdraw their services for the remainder of the tour of India. As a result of this action by the players the WICB was left with no option but to advise the BCCI that it will no longer be able to provide a West Indies team for the remaining five matches (5th ODI, T20 International, three Test matches).
2. The WICB wishes to further clarify that its proposed alternative arrangement of a replacement West Indies team was not considered acceptable. The WICB is understanding of this position.
3. The WICB unreservedly apologises to West Indian fans and all cricket fans for this most regrettable situation and the premature end to the tour.
4. The WICB unreservedly apologises to the BCCI, their sponsors, broadcasters and other stakeholders for the premature end to the tour.
5. The WICB thanks the BCCI, their sponsors, broadcasters, other stakeholders and fans for their patience and understanding during the first four ODIs. The WICB wishes the BCCI every success with the proposed alternative arrangements and looks forward to the continuation of the strong and longstanding relationship between the two boards.
6. The WICB clarifies further that as a result of postulations by the players, the tour was under a cloud of uncertainty from the inception. The WICB, acting prudently, advised the host board – BCCI – of the developments and remained in constant contact to provide updates as to the threat of possible player action.
7. The WICB will host an emergency Board Meeting on Tuesday October 21st, in Barbados, to conduct a thorough assessment of all the ramifications of the premature end to the tour and any action which may be necessary therefrom. The WICB will host a media conference following this meeting. Further details will be provided upon confirmation.
8. The WICB regrets that the delegation which was pre-scheduled to travel to India to meet with the players on a number of issues will no longer be able to conduct such meeting at which the intention was also to discuss the concerns of the players. The delegation had included WICB Chief Executive Officer Mr. Michael Muirhead, Chairman of the Cricket Committee Mr. Julian Charles and also WIPA President and CEO Mr. Wavell Hinds. The delegation had been scheduled to arrive in India on Monday October 20. This meeting was scheduled prior to any issues being raised with the New MOU/CBA and it was intended to acquaint all the parties of how it would roll out. This was necessary as the WICB did not have an opportunity to so do in the Caribbean due to the logistical challenges of assembling all the players prior to departure for the tour of India (some of the players were already in India participating in the Champions League). The WICB CEO, Mr. Muirhead and WIPA President/CEO Mr. Hinds had been in negotiations with regard to finding a mutually agreeable position to allow for the full tour to be completed.
9. The WICB further regrets that in his initial communication to the WIPA President and CEO Mr. Hinds, Mr. Bravo chose to use inflammatory language and issue a clear threat to cause injury to West Indies cricket.
Specifically Mr. Bravo wrote: “Please note that we are giving you the opportunity to right this wrong before things deteriorate [sic] to such an extent that West Indies cricket to the wider cricket world looks to fall to its knees again.”
10. The WICB reiterates that as a result of the action taken by the players the Board was forced with no other option but to discontinue the tour. The Board once again apologises unreservedly for the premature end to the tour.
Finally, the WICB advises that the West Indies A Team tour of Sri Lanka continues as scheduled.
BCCI responds to the WICB:
The BCCI would like to clarify that despite all its efforts, the Micromax Cup India vs West Indies ODI series has been curtailed because of the ongoing issue between WICB and its players, and the withdrawal of the WI team from the ongoing tour of India.
The timeline of the WICB’s withdrawal is mentioned below:
7 October 2014:
Mr. Dave Cameron sent a copy of a letter addressed to Mr. Wavell Hinds, which stated that the failure of the West Indies players to take the field will leave the WICB with – ‘no alternative but to cancel the match and notify the BCCI accordingly and recall the team.’
8 October 2014:
Around 3:00 am India time, Mr. Dave Cameron sent a mail to the BCCI stating he is withdrawing the team from the tour. Mr. Sanjay Patel rushed to Kochi and spoke to the WI players and managed to get on with the match.
12 October 2014:
Mr. Patel met Mr. Cameron in Dubai and asked him for a confirmation that the rest of the tour will go on. Mr. Cameron assured that by close of business on Wednesday 15 October, he will confirm one way or the other.
AM of 16 October 2014:
There was no response from Mr. Cameron.
PM of 16 October 2014:
Mr. Patel sent a reminder mail to Mr. Cameron, seeking an urgent response.
17 October 2014 – 3:00 am:
Mr. Cameron sent a response stating that – ‘WICB are not able to provide any assurances or guarantees’ and that WICB will communicate their position by end of the day on 17 October.
17 October 2014 – 10:00 am
Mr. Richard Pybus of the WICB sent a mail to the BCCI stating – ‘WICB’s position is that if the players refuse to play then the players must return home and the rest of the ODI and Test tour is called off. This has been discussed with the WICB President and CEO and they are fully aware of developments here.’
17 October – 2:00 pm
Mr. Richie Richardson sent a mail to the BCCI stating the following: ‘Despite agreeing to play the 4th ODI in Dharamshala, regrettably, the current West Indies players have decided that they will not participate any further in this tour and wish to return home after this match. In light of this, I suggest that the entire squad travel to Delhi tomorrow and be booked into a hotel there, until international return flights have been booked. On behalf of the entire squad and WICB, I apologise for the inconvenience caused.’
This makes it clear that all along, the WICB was withdrawing its team if a resolution was not reached in the issue with their players.