West Indies board finalises players~~ contracts

Published: Monday, June 26, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Basseterre, St Kitts:Cricket in the Caribbean averted a major crisis with the board and the players' association finalising contracts for the West Indian cricketers.

After days of dilly-dallying and verbal duels, both the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) and West Indies Players Association (WIPA) have agreed on match tour contracts for the current series against India and retainer contracts for an undisclosed number of players. A formal announcement would be made soon in this regard, revealed WICB Chief Cricket Operations Officer Zorol Barthley.

''What I want to say is that for this home series against India we are operating on a match tour contract,'' Barthley told CMC's CricketPlus.

''There have been some discussions with WIPA obviously over the last couple of days, things have been finalised and I think an official release is going to be coming from the Board and WIPA, but I can guarantee you that after fourth (and final) Test in Jamaica, the next time a West Indies cricket team takes the field, it will be on the retainer contracts,'' he elaborated.

This would put a lid on the snowballing issue which saw WIPA chief Dinanath Ramnarine fuelling speculations about a player's strike.

Barthley informed that after long hours of discussions, the board is scheduled to come out with ''a very detailed document which is going to govern contractual issues of West Indies cricket.''.

''There was some talk about industrial action. What I want to say with regards to contracts is that we have spent a lot of long hours, a lot of effort has gone into discussions on contracts, player contracts, player relations with the Board.

''There is obviously a disconnect between players and administration, which has always been evident. It has been there for a long time. It's an opportunity for maybe not let's stress on the words younger folks but Ramnarine and myself are two fairly youthful people,'' said the WICB official.

''There is probably an opportunity for us to bridge that gap, and we have spent long hours in discussions. We have gone through retainer contracts in detail to the T.

''Some of the things that have come up are some of the issues that have been discussed. I think that what you are going to see happen in the long run is a very detailed document which is going to govern contractual issues of West Indies cricket.

''Respect is not something that can be bought. There is a certain mistrust that happens from player to Board level and a lot of times it takes people of West Indies Cricket Board, people like myself. In fact, we carry out the policies of the Board. That gap is being bridged,'' he explained.

He also refuted charges that WICB was dragging its heel on the issue.

''Contrary to popular belief, we do listen. We are merely the people for the time being who are hoping to take the management of West Indies cricket to another level. We are trying to lay the groundwork, we are making decisions now that are going to affect West Indies cricket in the next five, six, 10 years, and we've got to be mindful of that.

''We've got to think ahead, we've got to think outside of the box. There is a lot of criticism but if you are not in the kitchen, you are not going to feel the heat, and at the end of the day you can look people in the eye and say, you know I've really tried my best,'' he added.

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