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Lara may not tour Australia due to dispute

Published: Thursday, November 25, 2004, 23:53 [IST]
 
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Bridgetown:Brian Lara and other West Indies cricket stars are unlikely to travel to Australia for a One-day International series as a result of a controversy surrounding rival sponsors.

West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) selectors were to meet on Wednesday to nominate new players to the squad after only nine of 25 requested players agreed to join the squad by Tuesday night's deadline.

Protesting players were set to meet on Wednesday with West Indies Players Association (WIPA) president Dinanath Ramnarine in Trinidad and Tobago, according to The Nation newspaper of Bridgetown, Barbados.

The West Indies team is scheduled to begin training camp for the Aussie tour on Monday in Barbados, but the sponsorship dispute could make the assembled squad far from the finest from a region that will host the 2007 World Cup.

A statement from the Antigua-based WICB said players who did not accept the invitation were ruled out for this tour but could be considered in the future.

WICB chief executive Roger Braithwaite said on Tuesday the rejections were regrettable.

At the heart of the matter are conflicts between WICB sponsors and those of individual players.

Irish telephone company Digicel signed a 20 million-dollar contract for five years with the WICB after a long sponsorship deal with rival British telecommunications firm Cable and Wireless ended earlier this year.

Some players have individual contracts with Cable and Wireless, including Lara, and a clause in the WICB contract for accepting a position on a West Indies team requires players do nothing to endorse a WICB sponsor competitor without prior WICB approval.

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