The West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) stares at financial ruin after its powerful Indian counterpart demanded nearly $42 million in damages for the Caribbean team’s abrupt withdrawal from a tour of India last month. A spokesman for the WICB confirmed they had received a letter from the BCCI “outlining what the BCCI estimates as its losses from the premature end of the West Indies tour of India”. The spokesman said the WICB had 15 days to respond. The BCCI secretary Sanjay Patel, who signed the letter to WICB president Dave Cameron, did not respond to calls from Reuters.
Also read: Drama as West Indies pull out of India tour
The West Indies team returned home after the fourth of five one-day internationals and before three scheduled tests due to a pay dispute between the players and the board.
India have already suspended all planned tours of the Caribbean and roped in Sri Lanka as a replacement to play a five-match ODI series, starting later on Sunday.
“The consequences of cancellation of a committed home Tour during the biggest festival season Diwali in India is a monumental disaster for the BCCI,” Patel, secretary of the world’s richest cricket board, wrote in the letter.
“It is during this season that our partners derive the most value from their rights.
“The BCCI holds the WICB responsible and liable for all such consequences and intends to enforce its rights to seek compensation from the WICB to the fullest extent permissible in law.” Sri Lanka, meanwhile, had not agreed to a new series but merely advanced its 2015 tour, the BCCI said.
“In return, the BCCI has agreed to tour Sri Lanka in 2015 whereby it has permanently and irretrievably lost a valuable home tour,” Patel added.
The BCCI said it would take legal action if the WICB failed to send a written proposal detailing the steps it intended to take to compensate the board within 15 days.
The International Cricket Council (ICC), the governing body of the sport, has expressed its concern about the dispute but said it was powerless to intervene unless the matter was referred to them.
The cause of the conflict was a new ‘Memorandum of Understanding’ and collective agreement between the WICB and their union, the West Indies Players Association (WIPA), regarding payment for the cricketers which the leading test players said was signed without their consent.
The players said the agreement would result in a significant loss of earnings while the WICB argue the new arrangement allows for more cricketers across the Caribbean to be given central contracts.