Today’s Kochi ODI Cancelled? Not for Rains but over Strike by West Indies Players on Pay Hike

Kochi Opening ODI Match between India and West Indies scheduled at 2:30 pm IST today may be cancelled, not because of rains in Kerala but because the West Indies players are at logger heads with their own union back home.

The agreement between West Indies Players Assocation (WIPA) and the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) last month stipulated pay and terms but all-rounder Dwayne Bravo said players were not informed about the talks and now they said they would boycott the opening match at Kochi, which may lead to cancellattion of all ODIs until the problem is not resolved in the next two hours.

"We believe we are being hoodwinked and are being treated like little school boys, yet we are being asked to perform and play as professionals," Bravo wrote in a letter to WIPA president Wavell Hinds and a copy of it was published in the Caribbean website "The players are of the view that as a matter of principle, we should not accept these conditions whereby we are being asked to play a series against India without any certainty of what are our obligations and what we will be playing for."

The WICB said it was aware of the issue and insisted that only some of the players may withdraw and not all the team. In a statement on Tuesday, WICB said, "It has also come to the WICB’s attention that the some of the players could withdraw their services for the first ODI. The WICB deeply regrets this apparent eventuality, especially in light of the tedious and substantial work which went into the good faith negotiations to arrive at the new, historic CBA/MOU. The WICB apologises to the fans, the BCCI and all other stakeholders should the first ODI be disrupted as a result of player action. The WICB is making every effort to ensure that it fulfills all its commitments and that cricket is played."

Bravo said the tour should be conducted under previous contractual terms until the issue was resolved. In the past too, West Indies players boycotted a series in 2009 and refused to play against Bangladesh. The WICB brought in its second rung of players to finish the series but not sure it would do today as the time left was inadequate.

The WIPA-WICB agreement on Set. 18 specified among others that there would be better deals for players outside of the full West Indies team with more than 100 players being kept on retainers. This perhaps triggered the senior players to go on strike, though the agreement "involved allowing the WICB to reallocate about $2.3 million which represented amounts paid annually only to those cricketers who were selected to the senior WI team," said its secretary.

Today’s strike could cancel the first opening ODI at Kochi and disappoint the Kerala cricket fans who have already began to assemble at the stadium and the players who are in Kochi for the match in two hours from now at 2:30 pm IST today, Wednesday, October 8, 2014.

The match in Kochi is the first of 5 ODIs, 3 test matches and one Twenty20 international.

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