KINGSTON, (Reuters) – The threat of West Indies being forced to field a second string side at the World Twenty20 was averted on Sunday when 12 of 13 players in the original squad signed the contracts which had caused a standoff with the board.
West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) had given the players a deadline of Sunday to agree to the financial terms, which represented a sharp drop in pay compared to previous tournaments, or they would be replaced.
After a week of claim and counterclaim, with plenty of recriminations on both sides, only batsman Darren Bravo declined to take up the deal.
“The West Indies Cricket Board is in receipt of 12 signed contracts from players who were selected for the upcoming 2016 ICC World Twenty20 tournament,” the WICB said in a news release on Sunday.
West Indies are former World Twenty20 champions, ranked second in the world in the format heading into the March 8-April 3 tournament in India, and, in opener Chris Gayle, have one of the biggest drawcards in the game.
The WICB said Bravo had written to them saying he would be skipping the tournament to play in the regional four-day Professional Cricket League.
“I’m of the firm belief that I have a very big part to play in the resurgence of West Indies cricket in the longer formats of the game,” they quoted the 27-year-old lefthander as saying.
“I will like the opportunity to play in our Professional Cricket League (PCL) because it will put me in good stead and will allow me to achieve those goals that I have aligned myself for the year 2016 and beyond.”
The WICB said they had not yet decided on a replacement for Bravo.
All-rounder Kieron Pollard, who has a knee injury, and spinner Sunil Narine, whose bowling action has been deemed illegal, were the other members of the orginal 15-man squad.
Carlos Brathwaite had already been named as a replacement for Pollard, while the WICB on Sunday said Ashley Nurse would come into the squad in place of Narine.
The dispute continued the rancour between players and the WICB that goes back to the abandoned tour of India in 2014, which also resulted from a dispute over the payment structure.
Captain Darren Sammy had written to the board several times requesting mediation to settle the dispute over the remuneration package negotiated by the West Indies Players Association (WIPA).
Sammy had asked the WICB to consider their request to double the match fees of $6,900, share 50 percent of sponsorship fees and award 100 percent of prize money to players.
Squad: Sulieman Benn, Jason Holder, Andre Fletcher, Darren Sammy (captain), Dwayne Bravo, Samuel Badree, Lendl Simmons, Jerome Taylor, Andre Russell, Marlon Samuels, Denesh Ramdin, Chris Gayle, Ashley Nurse, Carlos Brathwaite