Even as it seems that all’s well between the West Indian cricketers and the Board, a new set of problem emerges to quash this perception. The most recent incident to bring forth the undercurrents in Caribbean cricket has been about the remuneration of the players, who have been selected as a part of the 15-member World T20 squad.
The West Indian skipper wrote a letter to the WICB stating that the players were unhappy with the payment terms that according to him were a huge reduction as compared to the wages paid to the players in the tournaments previously. Sammy also requested the WICB to reconsider the terms of payment for the players, bringing it to the same margin as they were getting previously.
Sammy, who admitted that he didn’t know the exact amount to be given by the ICC to the WICB, stated that according to him the sum was around USD eight billion. The West Indian players were being paid 25% of the tournament fee in all the prior tournaments. As such Sammy pointed out in his letter that the West Indian team should get a remuneration of USD two million. When divided amongst the 15 members of the team, the sum comes to about USD 133,000 per player that according to Sammy is an acceptable figure.
However, going by the newer wages’ terms, the whole team will get a total of only USD 414,000 that when further divided amongst the team, will be a paltry amount for the players. Sammy emphasised that this newer term put the players at the receiving end of only five percent of the fee paid to the WICB and that the entire West Indian squad selected for the World T20 wasn’t happy with this development.
The 32-year old also added that many players were also considering boycotting the quadrennial event, though he didn’t include himself in potentially taking this extreme step. Furthermore, Sammy also raised the point that 14 amongst these selected 15 players weren’t a part of the West Indies Players’ Association (WIPA) and as such the WICB shouldn’t have included them as well in this agreement.
The WICB chairman Michael Muirhead however presented a different side to this issue as he spoke about how there had been changes brought about in the fees’ and payments’ policies of the ICC towards its member boards from the forthcoming World T20. He also stated that WIPA was the representative of the players and as such any negotiations between the players and the Board would be handled between the WICB and WIPA, regardless of players being WIPA members or not.
According to Muirhead, the sum being paid to the WICB for the World T20 wasn’t USD eight billion as Sammy had put it as the ICC will also now allocate fees to its member boards generated from its scheduled rota of events over a period of eight years instead of tournament-by-tournament as was done before. As such, Muirhead stated that the WICB had decided upon giving players 25% of its thus forthcoming revenue from the ICC estimated across a four-year period. Additionally this amount will also be reserved for the players as it will be generated out of the kitty from which payments are regularly paid to the players. This in essence is the base amount reserved for the players and anything over this stipulated sum would be paid to those players, who have been contracted by the WICB to play international events.
Regarding the players’ remuneration for the World T20, Muirhead provided the break-up of the remuneration that will be offered to the players. The players will be paid thrice as much as the fee they are paid for other tournaments plus half of the proceeds generated by way of sponsorship, and 80% of the eventual prize money that would be earned by the team.
As such, Muirhead stated that the WICB wouldn’t accept the players’ grievance and that the WICB wouldn’t extend the 14th February deadline for the 15 players comprising the West Indian World T20 squad signing their acceptance to play the event.
To lend matters more perspective, the West Indians are the defending champions of the event having won the 2012 edition. It was their first ICC World Cup title in almost 33-years, after their 1979 World Cup victory.