Money is the root of all evil as Windies cricketers leave India mid-tour










By Kersi Meher-Homji

There was a time when, with few exceptions, cricketers played for glory ”“ theirs and their countries’. It has all changed in a hurry. Nowadays it is dollars first, centuries and hat-tricks later.

No one doubts that money is important in all fields. I also believe that the West Indies and Sri Lankan cricketers are poorly paid by their Cricket Boards who are not loaded with money. But many of them are compensated by playing in dollar-rich IPL, Big Bash league and their “cousins”.

My first question: Why did BCCI invite the West Indies twice in 13 months? Did they not play two Tests and three one-day internationals (ODIs) in India last November? The Indian cricketers after their pathetic performance in England two months earlier deserved rest from international cricket before they start their important tour of Australia next month (November).

Instead of playing a wishy-washy international series against a second-rate West Indians they should have concentrated in playing domestic cricket.

Back to the abandoned tour of India by the West Indians. Whatever their monetary problems, cricketers once selected ”“ nay honoured ”“ to represent their countries are duty bound to complete their tour. If they had any grievances they should have worked it out with their Board before the tour started.

I realise that Anil Kumble’s men had also threatened to leave Australia during the Harbhajan ”“ Symonds bollyline hoohah in January 2008. But that was not for money but for being wrongly accused of using a racist word by the match referee. It was on principle and not on financial gains.

The West Indies had agreed to play five ODIs, a Twenty20 and three Tests in India but pulled out after the fourth ODI in Dharamsala, due to the players being displeased over a revision to their payment structure. This meant that the BCCI lost out on revenue for 17 match-days. Though Sri Lanka agreed to fill in for West Indies and play five ODIs in India in November, the BCCI will still lose income for 12 match-days for the 2014-15 season. The BCCI is likely to claim those damages from the WICB (West Indies Cricket Board).

“We have referred the matter to our legal cell and asked them to let us know by 21st about how we can pursue the issue legally,” the BCCI secretary Sanjay Patel told Cricinfo, declining to elaborate on the numbers since he said they were still being computed. “They [WICB] entered into a bilateral agreement with us, and they abandoned the tour due to their internal issues, so we will have to seek compensation. But, depending on the legal advice, the working committee will decide the future course of action.”

What next? The BCCI is likely to claim damages of at least Rs 400 crore (approximately US$65 million) from the WICB for West Indies having pulled out of the tour to India. The BCCI’s working committee will decide whether to go ahead with the claim at a meeting on October 21 in Hyderabad.

According to Cricinfo, the WICB has stated that it was left with no option but to “discontinue” the tour of India after the players had informed the Board through the team management that they would be returning back to the Caribbean.

“It is a lose-lose situation for Windies cricket”, said the noted West Indian writer and commentator Tony Cozier. He added that West Indies could fail to send a squad to their upcoming tour of South Africa as well as the 2015 Cricket World Cup in Australia and New Zealand if the standoff between the West Indies Cricket Board, West Indies Players Association president and CEO Wavell Hinds and the West Indies players’ movement spearheaded by ODI captain Dwayne Bravo remains unresolved.

A sad day for cricket. Bye-bye West Indians, welcome Sri Lankans.

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