West Indies squad set to go on strike over contract dispute
West Indies players will be thrown off the squad for the World Twenty20 if they do not agree to financial terms by Sunday's deadline, the head of the region's cricket board said today. The hardline stance comes in the wake of reports that the 15-man squad, upset at a huge pay cut, has rejected the contract offered by West Indies Cricket Board (WICB).
Cricinfo published a letter from Darren Sammy to the WICB in which the West Indies captain said the financial terms for the World Twenty20, which starts in India on March 8, were unacceptable. "We want to represent the West Indies but the financials on offer we can't accept," Sammy wrote. WICB chief executive Michael Muirhead did not sound in a negotiating mood, however, when he spoke on Jamaican radio.
"The WICB is committed to play in the tournament, let me say that first," Muirhead said on Hitz 92fm. "No one will leave the shores of the West Indies without signing a contract and if these players in particular choose not to sign, then I guess we'll be left with no option but to substitute other players for them."
Muirhead added that the board was not in a position to improve the renumeration package, negotiated with the players association nine months ago. "They have had lots of time to digest and argue and do everything," he said. "Five of the players were instrumental and were there at the onset, so at this point, I'm hoping that the players will sign and take advantage of the other benefits that are there." He said that players would receive half of any shirt sponsorship the board negotiates in addition to a portion of prize money.