Windies players stunned by contracts deadline

Published: Saturday, April 22, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Port-of -Spain :West Indies cricketers admitted they were stunned at being handed an ultimatum to either sign new contracts or face being axed from the squad.

The West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) said on Wednesday that retainer contracts should be signed by Friday.

The long-running tussle between the WICB and West Indies Players Association (WIPA) has also held up an annoucement over the apppointment of a new captain following the resignation of Shivnarine Chanderpaul.

Dinanath Ramnarine, president of the WIPA said he was "very shocked and surprised" with an ultimatum from the WICB.

But the former West Indies spinner said he is still strongly in support of the finalisation of the retainer contracts, but he must get a mandate from his members first.

The WICB said Wednesday that if the retainer contracts were not finalised by Friday, "thereafter the team shall be selected based on those players who make themselves available".

Ramnarine said the annoucement was a shock.

"To be honest, I am very shocked and surprised, but nothing seems to surprise me with the conduct of the WICB, their modus operandi," he told the Trinidad and Tobago Express.

Ramnarine said he met with Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board (T&TCB) president Deryck Murray, in his capacity as a WICB Cricket Committee member last Thursday, when issues on the contracts were discussed, and set their next round of negotiations for Tuesday April 25.

Ramnarine added that minutes before receiving news of the WICB ultimatum, Murray had contacted him to see if the negotiations could be brought forward to Friday.

"The whole situation is very unfortunate," said Ramnarine.

"Our view is that we are not going to be pressured to sign if we believe it is not in the best interest of players or the players are not better off at the end of the day."

The latest impasse comes just a year after seven leading players, including former skipper and record-breaking batsman Brian Lara, were dropped from the Test squad in a row over personal contracts.

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