Windies tour of India runs into abrupt chaotic end

Players stand behind captain Bravo as series winds up in mid-match

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West Indies’ tour of India was plunged into confusion on Friday with contradictory reports about whether the matches would continue.

India’s governing body, the BCCI, announced midway through the fourth one-day international in Dharamsala, which the hosts won by 59 runs, that a pay dispute between the West Indies and their board, the WICB, meant the tour would come to an end at the conclusion of the match.

That would mean the fifth and final ODI, a Twenty20 international and a three-match Test series would all be cancelled. The BCCI then announced a five-match ODI series with Sri Lanka to fill the void. The WICB later insisted in a statement on its official Facebook page that it had “taken no decision to discontinue the ongoing tour”.

The WICB and the West Indies Players Association signed a new agreement last month covering pay and conditions but it was rejected by the senior players, including one-day captain Dwayne Bravo, who claimed they were kept in the dark and demanded the resignation of the WIPA chief executive, Wavell Hinds.

The players subsequently issued a strike threat but they took to the field yesterday and the match was in play when an angry BCCI announced the abrupt end to the tour.

“The West Indies Cricket Board has informed the BCCI of its decision to cancel the rest of its ongoing tour to India because of a dispute with its players, and has advised the BCCI that its players will return home immediately,” the BCCI secretary, Sanjay Patel, said.

Bravo turned up for the toss with the entire team accompanying him in what looked like a show of unity. “My team is standing behind me. It’s been a tough situation... it’s time we have to make a decision,” said the 31-year-old all-rounder.

Former West Indies pace bowler Michael Holding sympathised with the team and pointed the finger at Hinds.

“I am a little disappointed at Wavell Hinds because when he was a player, he knew the struggles the players went through,” Holding said. “Unfortunately it’s come to the point where the players decided they were standing together, and they are totally dissatisfied with the way they have been treated. I have no problem with them doing that, to be honest.

“I don’t know what the future holds for either WIPA, the West Indies Cricket Board or the players that are here.The press release from the BCCI indicates that they will be looking for some financial compensation for what they’ll be losing out on for the rest of this tour. I’m not too sure how that is going to be sorted.

“This is a ridiculous decision by the West Indies Cricket Board. They have shown a lack of proper management.”

The apparent abrupt withdrawal angered the world’s richest cricket board with the BCCI expressing shock at the “unilateral” decision.

“The WICB’s inability to resolve internal issues with its players and allowing the same to affect an ongoing bilateral series does not reflect well on any of those involved,” Patel said. He said the Indian board made several appeals to the WICB to honour its commitment and complete the tour.

Within hours the Indian board had convinced Sri Lanka to send a team for a five-match ODI series beginning on 1 November.