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Salary controversy could harm the future of West Indies cricket team

Suruj Ragoonath, Chief Executive Officer of the Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board

San Juan, Oct 29 (EFE).- The West Indies cricket team’s recent abandonment of the India tour over apparent salary cuts is threatening the future of the game in the Caribbean region, where it enjoys great acceptance.

Suruj Ragoonath, chief executive officer of the Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board, or TTCB, told Efe Wednesday that the players’ decision was disappointing and could harm the future of cricket in the region.

“The TTCB is very displeased with the action taken by the players. We feel that there were other options available to address their concerns rather than taking the action that they did,” Ragoonath said.

Abandoning their duties as team players “has created a myriad of problems for all parties involved and caused immense damage to cricket in the region,” he told Efe.

The controversy began in early October, when West Indies players refused to play in one of the matches of the tour in India, a host country where the game is extremely popular.

The group argued that the West Indies Cricket Board, or WICB, agreed with the West Indies’ Players Association, or WIPA, on cutting senior players’ salaries up to 75 percent to have sufficient funds to include new players, without its consent, specialized news Web site Cricbuzz reported.

The WICB began negotiations with the players, but they refused to continue the tour.

After failed negotiations, West Indies team manager Richie Richardson sent a notice to the Board of Control for Cricket in India, or BCCI, announcing the official withdrawal of the team from the tour.

Sanjay Patel, secretary of the BCCI, also confirmed the cancellation after the WICB failed to reach an agreement with its players.

This decision has caused great financial losses to host country India in sponsorship and ticket sales mostly because the Caribbean team is one of the largest in the world.

The West Indies team won the Cricket World Cup in 1975 and 1979. In 2012, the team won the International Cricket Council, or ICC, World Twenty20.

Now, the BCCI plans to sue the Caribbean team for $65 million in revenue losses and is planning to suspend India’s team participation from scheduled Caribbean games until further notice, ESPN, Britain’s Telegraph newspaper and other international media outlets reported.

The Caribbean Community said Monday that the situation “could prove devastatingly costly for the West Indies Cricket Board, the players and all participating Member States.”

Although Jamaica’s former prime minister, Percival Patterson, told the Jamaica Observer newspaper that CARICOM should intervene in the negotiations, the executive director of TTCB took a different position.

“I am not sure that the politicians should get involved; it’s a matter for the administrators of cricket to deal with, namely the WICB, WIPA, BCCI and ICC.,” Ragoonath told Efe.

Representatives of the WICB, WIPA and different players met Sunday to discuss the controversy.

“The meeting was cordial, positive and fruitful, and discussions will continue in an effort to find a way forward following the premature end of the tour of India,” the Barbados Cricket Association said in a statement.

The WICB’s members are Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Antigua and Barbuda, Montserrat, St. Kitts, Nevis, Anguilla, British Virgin Islands, Dominica, Grenada, St. Lucia and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. EFE