West Indies Twenty20 captain Darren Sammy has called for mediation to settle a contractual dispute that threatens to wreck the Caribbean team’s chances of winning next month’s ICC World T20 in India.
With the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) standing firm in its stance that players must sign the offered contract by Sunday or be replaced, Sammy’s position could open the door to a resolution.
It is the clearest indication yet that Sammy’s 15-man squad does not want to boycott the show-piece event, which starts in India on March 8.
“As captain of the (Twenty20) team, I wish that we can settle this matter and focus on preparations for the tournament,” Sammy wrote in a letter to WICB chief executive Michael Muirhead.
“I want to state on behalf of the players that we want to play and will represent the West Indies to the best of our abilities,” the letter read.
The 32-year-old all-rounder said mediation was the best way to settle the matter, if the board would not “consider our request to double the match fees (of USD 6,900), share 50 per cent of sponsorship fees and award 100 per cent of prize money to players.”
This development followed Muirhead’s confirmation that the WICB selection panel, chaired by former captain Clive Lloyd, was mandated to select a new team if the current squad, which includes Chris Gayle and Dwayne Bravo, did not sign the contract by Sunday’s deadline.
Sammy, who referred the fiasco of the abandoned Indian tour in 2014 after a similar row over contracts, said it was the “arrogance and high-handedness of the board” which had caused the problems.
“You cannot continue to force players to be represented by a body that they are not members of and do not want to represent them,” he said, adding that 14 of the 15 players in the squad were not members of the West Indies Players Association (WIPA) which is the exclusive bargaining agency for West Indies players.
“Any issues you or a particular group of players may have with the representation you receive from your association are best taken up with WIPA,” Muirhead told Sammy via email.
West Indies won the 2012 World T20 in Sri Lanka under Sammy’s leadership and are currently ranked second in the world in the format.