The West Indian Cricket Board (WICB) has often found itself in trouble. The former ‘Calypso’ cricketers may now be facing the worst crisis in their turbulent history. West Indies pulled out from an ongoing tour of India following a disagreement with the players over payments; an argument that has been festering for years. The captain Dwayne Bravo claims the West Indies Players Association (WIPA), the body that is representative of the player’s wishes, signed the new compensation package without properly consulting the players. The abrupt end to the tour has put the cricketing boards of both countries and the players in an awkward situation

Fees for professional cricket players have been an issue for quite a while; unlike football, where the fees have rocketed beyond control to the extent that placing a cap on fees is considered, cricket pays poorly. Especially for smaller countries; recently Zimbabwe had a standoff with their board over unpaid fees. Even in Pakistan, spot-fixing exists because, amongst other reasons, the players are paid paltry wages. This situation exists despite a recent institutional reshuffle of the International Cricket Council (ICC), which vests greater control in England, India and Australia for the sake of the ‘financial state of cricket’. The new regulations have allowed the boards and broadcasters to mint millions, yet national boards have no centralised wage policy. In this situation, one cannot begrudge the West Indian players from taking drastic measures, but the outcome may be the end of West Indian Cricket.

The Board for Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has taken the withdrawal of the players as a personal affront. Not only have they decided to initiate legal proceedings to recover lost profits, a sum of $65 million, they have also suspended all future bilateral series with West Indies. For a country struggling with paying its players, the loss of revenue from the hugely profitable Indian tours and a legal bill of $65 million would leave the WICB crippled. While they are well within their rights to do so, this action of the BCCI is a huge blow to world cricket, which would be bereft of one of the most enduring and entertaining group of players. It is hoped that cooler heads prevail at BCCI.