West Indies player dispute worries Sri Lanka

Published: Tuesday, June 28, 2005, 23:53 [IST]
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Colombo:The Sri Lankan cricket board has expressed concerns over the prospect of an understrength West Indies squad being sent to tour the island next month because of an ongoing player contract dispute.

Due to start on July 13, the series has been thrown into doubt as negotiations between the West Indies cricket board (WICB) and the West Indies Players Association to recruit first-choice squad members have stalled.

Only three players in the original 13-man squad selected for the tour -- Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Darren Powell and uncapped wicket-keeper Dinesh Ramdin -- have signed team contracts.

"We would obviously be very disappointed if the West Indies were unable to send a full-strength side," Sri Lanka cricket board member Adel Hassim said.

"The likes of Brian Lara and the other West Indies players are a huge attraction amongst the cricket-loving public in Sri Lanka and we all want to see the full team here," he added. Sri Lanka's cricket board has thus far stopped short of issuing the WICB an ultimatum to confirm their ability to tour although they will meet later this week to discuss the issue.

"We are watching the situation very closely and the interim committee will discuss the issue at its meeting later this week, but we hope that an amicable solution is reached," Hassim added.

Sri Lanka could face serious financial implications due to lost sponsorship and television revenue if the WICB is unable to reach a settlement with the players.

If the West Indies are unable to fulfil their commitment to tour then they face a possible fine of up to $2 million under current International Cricket Council regulations.

The Sri Lanka squad have yet to sign new contracts after their existing ones expired in February, although officials have insisted they will do so shortly.

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