West Indies cricket faces a potentially crippling financial crisis after a peeved India Tuesday suspended future visits to the Caribbean following the abandonment last week of the tour to India.
The West Indies cut short their tour last Friday because of an internal pay dispute, even though the fifth one-day international, a Twenty20 match and three Tests still remained to be played. India retaliated by cancelling a tour scheduled for February and March 2016 to play three Tests, five one-dayers and a Twenty20 international.
Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), one of the richest bodies in world cricket, also said it would “initiate legal proceedings” against the West Indies but gave no details.
“All bilateral tours between BCCI and the WICB (West Indies Cricket Board) stand suspended,” BCCI secretary Sanjay Patel said in a statement on Tuesday.
India’s away tours usually generate huge sponsorship money for the host nation due to the country’s large cricket-viewing population. “The WICB is caught between the devil and the deep sea,” popular TV commentator Harsha Bhogle told AFP. “If India don’t tour, they (WICB) won’t get the revenue needed to implement the agreement over which they had the dispute.”
Veteran Caribbean cricket journalist Tony Cozier, writing on the Cricinfo website last week, warned that it would be disastrous for the Islands if India cancelled future tours.
“With its purchase of broadcast rights, ground perimeter advertising and sponsorship by its big corporations, India in the Caribbean brings more revenue to the WICB than any other tour,” Cozier wrote.
India’s cricket chiefs had warned of “serious action” against the West Indies for abandoning their tour. Tuesday’s statement comes after the BCCI’s working committee held an emergency meeting in Hyderabad. West Indies captain Dwayne Bravo had said before the start of the tour on October 8 that the players had not accepted the payment agreement signed on their behalf by the West Indies Players Association.
But the tourists took to the field for three one-dayers in Kochi, New Delhi and Dharamsala, while one match in Visakhapatnam was cancelled due to a severe storm on India’s east coast. The West Indies board blamed the players, saying it had warned the BCCI the tour was “under a cloud of uncertainty from the inception” as a result of “postulations” by the players.
The BCCI has already finalised a five-match one-day series against Sri Lanka to take place in India between November 1 and 15 to replace the cancelled West Indian tour. Cuttack, Hyderabad, Kolkata and Ahmedabad, which were originally due to host matches against the West Indies, will organise the Sri Lanka games, with Ranchi named as the fifth venue.
Patel said the BCCI “appreciated the gesture” of their neighbour to agree to a hastily-arranged series, which was reciprocated Tuesday by India who announced a tour of Sri Lanka in July-August next year.
The BCCI has clarified that the West Indies players signed up for the cash-rich Indian Premier League will not be stopped from playing. “Our problem is with the West Indies Cricket Board and not their players,” Sanjay Patel said.
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Updated Date: Oct 22, 2014 09:11:05 IST