The West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) decided to call off West Indies’ tour to India, a move that caused immense displeasure to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). The major reason for this move was the payment-related spat between the West Indies Player Association (WIPA), the WICB, and the West Indian players. Shiamak Unwalla wonders who is to blame or the whole issue.
It was such a promising series. West Indies had pulled off a spectacular win to start things off. India roared back in the second One-Day International (ODI). And then Hudhud played spoilsport for the third match. It was almost as if the cyclone was some sort of foreshadowing for what was to follow.
The signs were there right from the start; the very first ODI was in trouble of being called off before the West Indian players decided to go through with the game. But that was not to last. The WIPA, a body that is meant to act as a mediator between players and their board, went behind the players’ backs to negotiate a new deal. A deal that was absurdly unfair; according to a report in IANS, WIPA agreed to a 65-percent cut in pay.
Let that sink in: 65 percent is, by any stretch, a huge margin. Why would any working professional agree to take a 65-percent cut in pay? And why would any union — the WIPA certainly performs the function of one — facilitate such a cut? How would you feel if the body that is meant to ensure a fair pay for you instead ensures you get such a massive reduction in salary?
Few cricketing nations are as rich or generous with their cricketers as the BCCI. From brand endorsements to astronomical IPL salaries to the BCCI’s generous coffers, even a few productive seasons at the highest level could be enough — strictly from a financial viewpoint — for an Indian cricketer to retire early. Sadly, the WICB certainly aren’t as liberal. Ironically, the nation that will be coming to India’s aid with a five-match ODI series is Sri Lanka, a team whose board is notorious for not paying its cricketers on time.
Unlike the Sri Lankan board, though, the WICB is not struggling financially. The success of the Caribbean Premier League ensured that they were able to recover significantly from the position they were in. According to cplt20.com, they were well enough off to gift the 2014 Player of the Tournament a piece of land in Beaumont Park, St. Kitts, worth over US$400,000!
This whole controversy has left a very bitter taste in the mouths of cricket fans and supporters of the game. The fact that WICB have cancelled a series — especially with limited matches to go before the ICC World Cup 2015 — has meant that ultimately the loss is felt by both cricketing nations. India got lucky by arranging the Sri Lankan series at such short notice. The West Indies are less likely to find a team as willing to arrange a series at short notice