Saturday, March 15, 2008

Gayle, Sarwan and Chanderpaul could miss Tests

Their IPL commitments could see Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Chris Gayle miss the first two Tests against Australia...

Chris Gayle, Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Ramnaresh Sarwan could miss the first two Tests against Australia because of their commitments to the Indian Premier League, according to Dr Donald Peters, the chief executive officer of the West Indies Cricket Board.

Peters told The Gleaner that the trio had signed to play in the IPL and that if their franchises reached the final stages then matches would clash with the first and second Tests in Jamaica and Antigua.

"We are aware that we may lose the players for the first two Tests, and I asked the selectors to be cognisant of this, and to try to put batsmen on the side that could replace Gayle, Chanderpaul, and Sarwan," he said. There is a real threat that if the players' teams reach the final, they could be gone for 44 days, so we are really worried about this.

"I am heading to Dubai for an ICC meeting, and I will talk to the president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India about this, and the effect of IPL. Cricket administrators around the world are worried about the IPL, particularly New Zealand and West Indies because IPL takes place in the middle of when our seasons occur. But all of us stand to lose a significant amount of players."

Peters, who is accompanying Julian Hunte, the WICB president, to the ICC executive board meeting in Dubai, claimed that his board has proposed that a 30-day window be put in place for all the private cricket franchises to play their competitions. "Then nobody gets affected, and everybody can go back to play for their national teams, but IPL, right now, is a major factor in the way it affects international cricket ... West Indies and New Zealand are two of the smallest cricket nations, and it will hurt us the most if our best players leave to play in the IPL. But we have to find a solution."

However, Cricinfo was told by an ICC spokesman that no proposal had been tabled for such a window and it is believed that the ICC does not feel such a gap is necessary.

One option available to the WICB is to refuse to allow the players to go - they need No Objection Certificates from the board before being allowed to play abroad - but that is a route he does not want to go down. "I have the NOCs for the players, and I have to release the players, but I am not going to not release the players because they would go anyway," he told The Gleaner. "Given the amount of money involved, it certainly destabilises the infrastructure of cricket. It's not fair to the players, and it's not fair to the national teams. But this is capitalism at its best, free market enterprise at its best, and we now instead of crying have to find a way to make it work, so that we win, and they win. But right now we are losing."

Peters also warned that he was not worried about the short-term impact even if the three were absent. "I believe people in the West Indies want to see our team play, and I personally feel if we can put a few young, exciting players out there, people will still come to watch the matches. But if fans have bought their tickets, they should go and see West Indies play because they would also be playing against an under-strength Australia side, so there is a 50-50 shot that they can win the series."