WICB confirms tour to India called off
By Sean Devers
The West Indies’ tour of India was abandoned yesterday after the fourth ODI due to a dispute over the salary of the players but it is not the first time an international cricket series has come to an unexpected end. However it’s the first time since Test cricket was first played in 1877 that this has happened due to industrial action by the players against their own Board and their bargaining Agent the West Indies Players Association (WIPA).
To add to chaos in India, the third ODI at the Dr. Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy Cricket Stadium was abandoned due to a cyclone which hit Visakhapatnam.
The WICB stated last night that as a result of the player’s actions, the Board was left with no option but to advise the BCCI that it will no longer be able to provide a team for the remaining five matches including the three Tests.
The WICB informed that its proposed alternative arrangement of a replacement team was not considered acceptable. The Windies ‘A’ team is presently in Sri Lanka, which is just over an hour’s flight from India.
This is not the first time that industrial action has threatened a West Indies tour. In 2001, a bitter row between the WICB, the WIPA, the new sponsors Digicel and past sponsors Cable &Wireless left the region’s game in tatters as seven C&W contracted players were deemed ineligible by the WICB due to a contract dispute.
Shivnarine Chanderpaul became the 6th Guyanese and fourth player of East Indian decent to be appointed captain of the West Indies when a depleted regional side without star batsman Brian Lara, Ramnaresh Sarwan and Chris Gayle took the field to battle South Africa in the 2005 home series.
The ongoing contract dispute between the WICB and WIPA resulted in a depleted team, minus all but three of the original players selected to tour Sri Lanka, being selected for that two-test series in 2005.
Lara, Sarwan and Gayle were among those who refused to sign their contracts causing the WICB to pick a third string team after some of the senior players in the ‘A’ team which was also in Sri Lanka refused to sign.
However, the senior team manager Tony Howard arrived in Sri Lanka ahead of the team and after meeting with the ‘A’ team players got eight of them to join the senior team, resulting in Guyanese Ryan Ramdass playing in his only Test and again the series was saved.
In 2009 when Bangladesh toured the West Indies the entire squad withdrew their services on the eve of the first Test but a third string team led by Floyd Reifer was hastily assembled with Guyana’s Travis Dowlin getting his Test debut.
Back in 1978 when Guyanese Sew Shivnarine and Colin Croft made their Test debuts, Desmond Haynes, one of players who signed for the Kerry Packer World series, was dropped by the WIBC for the third test in Guyana.
Clive Lloyd resigned the captaincy in protest and the rest of the Packer contracted players decided not to play in solidarity for their skipper. Kallicharran took over as skipper and the series went on.
Tours that were abandoned due to unusual circumstances:
West Indies in England 1939
The outbreak of the Second World War meant the last seven matches of the tour were cancelled, with the West Indies’ party boarding a boat in Scotland to sail back to the Caribbean.
England in Pakistan 1968/69
Political and student unrest dogged the tour throughout but it seemed the series would be played out to a finish when the teams arrived in Karachi for the third and final Test. However, a riot on the third morning saw the match abandoned and the series tied at 0-0 when England’s Alan Knott was four runs short of what would have been his maiden Test century.
India in Pakistan 1984/85
The assassination of Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi sparked 13 days of national mourning and meant the final three matches were cancelled.
Sri Lanka in Pakistan 2008/09
Sri Lanka were travelling in their team bus on the way to the second Test in Lahore when terrorists opened fire, injuring six members of the tour party. Sri Lanka went home and no major international matches have since taken place in Pakistan because of security fears.
West Indies in India 2014
A protracted pay dispute between the West Indies players, WIPA and the WICB led to players announcing the tour’s end after the fourth ODI. Chanderpaul, who is 267 runs short of Brian Lara’s 11,953 Test runs, should be most disappointed about the cancellation of the Test series.
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