Since the dawn of West Indies cricket, it seems, players representing the regional team earned the lion’s share of money made by the West Indies Cricket Board. Meanwhile, those players at the first-class level made scraps, never enough for them to put food on their tables and take care of their families.

Under the previous agreement what obtained was that those who represent the region, most of them, were on retainer contracts that paid them between US$80,000 and US$125,000 per annum. That’s more than enough off which one can live comfortably in the Caribbean. In Jamaican dollars, that’s approximately between $8.9 million and J$14,000,000 per year; in Trinidadian currency – between TTD 507,500 and 793,000. Anyway, you slice it it’s a lot of money. Then these same players also earn US$5000 per Test match, US$2000 per One Day International and just over a thousand dollars for a T20 International.

Then these same players also earned a percentage of image rights to the players that during this recent tour of India worked out to be approximately US$735,000. Some would earn larger shares from that money because they would be playing all three formats, while some would be playing One Day Internationals and T20 only. Many of these senior players also make a very good living playing cricket in the various T20 tournaments across the globe from the IPL, the Big Bash and the CPL especially.

It’s a very good living.

Under the new agreement, the senior players would give up a large chunk of that money that would be reallocated to paying the regional players. In the meantime, their retainers would be topped up to the point where they would be paid between US$100,000 and $150,000 and their match fees would be increased to US$5750, US$2300 and US$1250 for Tests, ODIs and T20s respectively. They still have their IPL, CPL and Big Bash contracts too.

Meantime, the first class players are earning much, much less. According to my information, these ‘fringe’ players, some of whom will one day form the West Indies team, make only US$1300 a match for five matches for the season. If a player makes all five matches that’s US$6500 for the year!

Given the situation, wherein the West Indies have been floundering for more than two decades at languishing at the bottom of the rankings of Full Member Nations of the International Cricket Council, something had to give. The imbalance had to be addressed and some level of parity be brought to the equation.

Regional players would be transformed into professional cricketers, that is, they would be playing and mastering their craft daily as opposed to going to a 9-5 and then taking net sessions in batting or bowling for a few hours each evening. If West Indies Cricket was to be competitive once more then the mechanics of what obtains now has to change.

It is what gave birth to this proposed franchise system that would see regional players earning between US$20,000 and US$30,000 a season as between basic pay and increased match fees earned over an extended match schedule would see them earning a much better living than they currently enjoy.

That was the basis on which the new CBA/MOU was drafted. It meant that some money from the two-year-old Caribbean Premier League, the CPL, and money from the senior players’ image rights would be used to fund this programme designed by Richard Pybus and used by the most successful teams in the world, to raise the standard of West Indies Cricket, once the pride of the region but now mostly a joke.

So, here is a quick rundown of what transpired since the new agreement was signed.

On September 19, the West Indies Cricket Board and the West Indies Players’ Association signed this new Collective Bargaining Agreement/Memorandum of Understanding. WIPA president Wavell Hinds says agreement “not perfect”, but brings stability to the system.

On October 7, the West Indies players threaten to sit out the first ODI against India and claim that Hinds “hoodwinked” them while signing the MoU.

On October 8, West Indies play the first ODI, but the captain Bravo asks Hinds and other WIPA officials with conflict of interests, to tender their resignation immediately.

On October 11, Bravo writes to WICB president Dave Cameron seeking an “urgent intervention” over payment issues between the board, the players, and WIPA.

On, October 15, the growing impasse between the players and WIPA intensifies, with the players and WIPA exchanging emails. Hinds denies all claims made against him and says senior West Indies players had expressed “100% support” towards a resolution. Bravo denies any such a resolution was passed.

On, October 16, the WICB says it will “engage” only with the WIPA, and not the players, to resolve the issue.

And on October 17, West Indies play the fourth ODI against India in Dharamsala, but news breaks during the game that the rest of the tour has been abandoned.

The WICB now finds itself facing a lawsuit as India seeks to recover an estimated US$65 million in damages and there is a proposal to ban West Indies players from the lucrative IPL for at least one season.

And that’s just the start as India is also threatening to abandon their 2016 series here in the West Indies that would deny the WICB important future revenue.

Now let us right here concede that both sides erred in this situation. WIPA’s executive should have ensured the players saw the details of the new pay structure under the revised CBA/MoU before they departed for the tour of India. Similarly, the players should have demanded their contracts before they departed especially in light of the new elements that would have been contained within. The WICB could have also moved to ensure that all parties were in agreement before they departed for the tour, even though they did explain that it was difficult to do that because some of the players were already in India playing in the IPL. To me that was kind of weak because there is the internet, Skype and several other methods by which the relevant information could be communicated.

However, where I come down hard on the players is that after being on tour, in India, the biggest market for the sport and the home of the most powerful board in the world, they decide to strike without considering the ramifications?

Yes, they would have been upset that the request from Bravo to Dave Cameron that the WICB only deal with them and not WIPA, was rejected but striking was not the solution, especially since a team that comprised of Hinds, WICB CEO Michael Muirhead and others were to arrive in India to make a better offer to the players in an effort to diffuse the tension and more importantly bring a resolution to the impasse. The players withdrew their services three days before the negotiating party was to arrive on October 20.

There are rules to be adhered to and the players broke those rules.

We don’t know for sure if there were other forces at play but whatever the situation is, the players pulling out of the tour was a big mistake because now, everybody gets hurt, all because of the actions of a few privileged players who seem only concerned about their welfare and not that of anyone else.

It would seem that these senior players are on their own in this fight because I suspect the 90 others who stand to benefit from the new agreement have been silent on this matter. The West Indies ‘A’ team is still playing in Sri Lanka and the franchise system is still going ahead. Barbadian fast bowler Tino Best may have been speaking on behalf of most of the regional players when he threw his support behind Wavell Hinds and WIPA for putting food in the tables of the regional players.

In striking the senior players have cut off their noses to spite their faces and that cannot be in the best interest of West Indies Cricket. Yes, WIPA and the WICB may have blundered to some degree in this case but it is the senior players, in striking while on tour, who have really dropped the ball.

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  1. I hope the Windies stick to their guns and never pick any of these scavengers ever again. Strip Bravo of the captaincy and start rebuilding with the A team and other youngsters. Remember,some time ago, Bravo gave his priorities as(1)Trinidad, (2)his IPL franchise,and (3)Windies. That shows what he thinks of Windies, just a cash cow to be milked. Rally up the Windies, we’re behind you all the way.

  2. phillip says:

    bravo should never play for the west indies again and i think there making too much money where the can showoff and abuse a other people its feare for them to give back to the less paid cricketers so they can feed there familgy too there too greedy and there still not perfoming get rid of them all build a young team start from scratch

  3. Jeffery Sinclair says:

    Leighton, Completely agree with you one. Finish the tour argue later… India is the biggest source of revenue for the WICB.

  4. antonio says:

    Thank you, you are the only one it seems have enough wisdom and understanding to see the big picture-the rest of them are too blind to see

  5. Adrian Keys says:

    Very well written giving some great perspectives.

  6. llarihs says:

    It is obvious that we have allowed this to happen by supporting mediocrity for too long. We are bound to pay a price some day because we cant keep rewarding these people for the way they have been with these large sums of money. They have now become immune and will not settle for less, yet we have been doing just that as cricket loving passionate people. Now we pay a hefty price, there must be consequences to this action as we cannot continue to let the bigger picture of West Indian cricket to suffer and by extension the world by people of limited minds, there is too much at stake. Period, enough is enough!

  7. Kay Dee says:

    Very well expressed. You have clearly highlighted the picture.Bravo and company should just go.

  8. John Lazarus says:

    you guys before lambasting the players and reading what is fed to you by the WICB .

    Read what Michael a former player who suffered under the WICBC with late payments for his world cup 1979 fees and then talk .

    Don’t just read what the shameless WICB and Wavell Hinds is trying to fool people with read what someone knowledgeable about the situation wrote then write an analogy.
    West Indies Players hung out to dry that’s the heading for MR Holding’s article .Check it out please and see how shameful it looks why do u think the BCCI didn’t ban the players.

  9. dallo says:

    i agree with just about everything you said bro.

    on the face of it, there’s enough blame to pass around. wipa erred by not getting on the same page as the players, whatever that is; the wicb should be the one to make sure all was well before venturing on this tour; and the players action is self-destructive.

    this new pay arrangement seems fair and balanced to me, but did wavell’s group sell it the right way to the players? if he did and they balked, well that reeks of selfishness and greed.

    i’m staying tuned into this circus and see how it plays out.

  10. Johnny says:

    I totally agree with all of you, Bravo and his band of robbers should never play for the West Indies again, especially that he has West Indies as number 3 on his list of priorities. Selfish set, not wanting the regional players to eat food.

  11. Vincent Harris says:

    I haven’t crunched the pay numbers, what is so difficult to understand about it is the great improvement it would make to the fringe players economic situation and by extension, their devotion to their craft. Is it better for the game to pay the jewelry store for the unnecessary gold chains, earrings, and Tattoo parlor for the unappealing tattoo displayed on their bodies than to have the fringe players to make a little more? The WICB should mandate a more professional appearance for its players. I would prefer to wear the unwashed jockstrap Lawrence Rowe wore when he made is debut against New Zealand than a new one worn by any of the current players, none excluded. As a
    schoolboy I was at Melbourne park on Eletson road
    and saw Collie Smith dressed in among things, a dark brown suit walking on the boundary line while a game was in progress. I am still in awe
    as a result of the positive impression of my
    exposure to this human specimen. Lets hope these players can change for the better if they are allowed to represent the West Indies moving forward.

  12. George says:

    Shame on West Indies players your actions are beneath the pale. I am shock that Captain Bravo could have orchestrated such a disaster of such magnitude. It is my view the strike was premature and very damaging to the already fragile brand. Bravo as a matter of urgency must be fired immediately as captain and never to represent West Indies Cricket again.

  13. kevin says:

    This is management at its most incompetent and ignorant. You cannot cut workers’ salaries by 75% without any prior warning and refuse to discuss it with them when they protest and expect them not to strike. I am sure neither the writer of this article nor others posters here would tolerate unannounced paycuts of 75%. The WICB’s bakra massa attitude is on teh verge of killing West Indies cricket.

    This is why the Indian Cricket Borad is blaming the WICB and not the players, and why the London Telegraph says

    “With all goodwill stripped away it is difficult to see how West Indies will be forgiven unless Cameron resigns forthwith, removing himself before the stain on the region’s reputation becomes immoveable.”

  14. John dePass says:

    I back the WIBC and I think the players should be banned from future WI representation.

    Lets start over with new players with a different attitude.

  15. Jerry Woodall says:

    The current impasse can be resolved by placing a performance based bonus on the table.

    For example, $5,000 us for a test match win and $2,000 us for test match draw. For a series win $10,000 win and $5,000 for draw. Similar rates can be worked out for odi and t20.

    If this works, we would have to worry about paying for it as we will be the most sort after team in the world.

    The above is about thinking forward and looking for acwin-win and stop trying to allocate blame.

  16. levyl says:

    So John, if a pilot mid-flight gets news that his fellow pilots are on strike, does he abandon the flight or does he complete the flight? Or if a doctor is in the middle of an operation does he quit in the middle of it if doctors suddenly decide to go on strike or does he complete the operation before joining the struggle?

  17. dolton says:

    in total agreement with u mr writer short sightedness greed selfishness poor management an much more words I could used .why cant we get alone for the betterment of the sport west indies cricket

  18. Marabellaboy says:

    Lloyd and his men abandoned the West Indies for MONEY IN THE 1970′s. WALSH and his men called a strike on the way to South Africa over MONEY. What’s new. Give BRAVO a chance. You cant cut a man’s earnings without his consent. The West Indies Players are not a CHARITY ORGANISATION. I support all the players, even the spiteful and untrustworthy Samuels.

  19. Mike Graham says:

    Thanks. Best article on the problem to date.
    However I am still not sure how WIPA and WICB erred.
    WIPA is the players union. It’s leadership was decided by the majority of players in the region. The majority of the players in the region agree with the new contract. Are you saying that the union should not represent the interest of the majority of it’s members?

    Secondly the WICB in good faith negotiated and signed a contract with the duly elected representatives of the players. Isn’t this standard procedure in labor negotiations?
    Are the elite players above the law? Don’t the other player deserve a living wage? The behavior of the senior player is galling

    The move by the senior players was and is disgraceful and does not deserve any sympathy from any quarter.

  20. Astley Scott says:

    It would send the wrong message if there are no sanctions for the involved players. An investigation should be done and appropriate sanctions applied. If this does not happen what are we saying to future players? The simple solution for WIPA is to hold a Special General Meeting and have ALL members vote in the decisions to be taken. I am hoping that WIPA is a democratic, one man/woman, one vote organization. Since these irresponsible senior players do not know that there are proper ways to pursue their dissatisfaction, an appropriate lesson should be taught. This lesson will serve to inform and guide future players. Can you imagine what could have happened if WICB chose to ignore WIPA and all its other members and negotiate and agree with only the relatively few senior players? It is time that WICB, WIPA and the players act bin a manner that hows that they recognize and value the development of West Indies cricket above selfish pursuits. What took place is just plain unadulterated greed. Is it that they want to return to the days when there was constant war between WICB and WIPA? That is part of the reason for the decline in our cricket. If the bodies do not work together harmoniously we will never be able to rise to our full potential as a cricketing force. This opportunity to ‘sort di ting out’ should not be missed by WICB, WIPA and ALL cricketers in the region.

  21. Blair Boyd says:

    Don’t blame the players ,they have a right to strike .When I read most of these articles,they are not going by fact ,they are only going by emotion that the players have no right to strike .I would they explain it to the public why they players have right to strke ,because they have no game to watch or listen to .The first thing the wicb knows about the problem before left for India ,they should never left before getting things straighten out.So the board knows before they left that it is going to cause a problem ,but they have this type of colonial rule .Whatever they say is law,nothing does not work like that any more in modern time like now.Some is going on like is the 1st time wi players ever take strike action,they better check their information before talking nonsense.The wicb is very weak they allows every other cricketing nation to bully them,the persons who they have to lead.They don’t know how to lead not even a donkey to drink some water ,they are just ruein the whole organization.Because they don’t know what they are doing ,most of the past players who got position they are not qualified to work in certain areas.Then they,cause a mess,they have no proper training in human resources area ,they don’t how to deal with the players.Trying to treat the players like little children,having respect towards the players any they say is law.Those type of of stupidness must cut out,and. treat the players like human being.There are certain individual should have not being around the players ,because of past behaviour what they have done.They got a bly and they displayed the same type of behaviour towards the players,and the boad haveto pulled them out their position.India is only using bad man business on the wicb,because they knows that they are very weak so they push them around,like a little child.The Icc is running off their mouth they can’t do a thing,because they all know the wicb is very weak they threaten they with all type of nonsense.The Icc must that they are a private organization ,and they are not the court of law,that running off their mouth on wicb,they could have done
    that with any other cricketing nation.Because thing they do ,without just cause,they haveto answer to the court.

  22. Kirk says:

    Finally someone who is place blame where it should be placed. The players are 100% at fault. Their issues were with their own union and there were no reason to drag WICB into it. Then there is the issue of Samuels who is not a union member. Those guys should be given a lengthy ban, it is not like they are a winning team. We need a new team with new attitude.

  23. Ricky Smith says:

    Fact. If WIPA was indeed representing its players (greedy or not), they could not have signed off on an agreement that the players did not like.
    Fact. The WICB did not intervene when requested by the players. They claimed it was not their business what happens between WIPA and its players, obviously they were very wrong and showed their gross incompetence. Dont blame the players, the Board and WIPA were obviously in cohoots and got caught. Hinds has lost credibility.

  24. levyl says:

    Dont blame the players, you say. Who walked off the tour?

  25. levyl says:

    The right to strike must be tempered by knowing where to strike. Striking in India is shooting yourself in the foot and the fact that the ICC has eventually publicly condemned the players’ actions substantiates that reality. India had nothing to do with the impasse, why drag them into it by abandoning the tour when they did. The only emotion I see is people defending the players at all cost. The senior players already get 75 per cent of money that is in the pool for players, 75 per cent! The remaining regional players barely get anything. For West Indies cricket to improve a lot has to change, including better remuneration for the regional players who will eventually become senior players.

  26. you have brought up a very good details , thanks for the post.

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26 comments so far
levyl Posted by: levyl October 20, 2014 at 8:27 am