Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Ramnarine confident players will play Aussie Tests

Players' association chief Dinanath Ramnarine is confident Ramnaresh Sarwan, Chris Gayle and Shivnarine Chanderpaul will play the first two Tests against Australia instead of going for the IPL...

Dinanath Ramnarine, the president of the West Indies Players Association (WIPA), is confident that Chris Gayle, Ramnaresh Sarwan and Shivnarine Chanderpaul will make themselves available for selection for the first two Tests against against Australia in May.

Before the ICC meeting in Dubai, Dr Donald Peters, the chief executive of the West Indies board, raised the possibility of all three players missing the start of the Australia series because of their Indian Premier League (IPL) commitments. Earlier in the week board president Julian Hunte had made
similar statements
but Ramnarine allayed those fears.

"I would say there is no doubt in my mind that we would have our best team," Ramnarine said at the annual WIPA awards ceremony in Port of Spain. "I feel fairly confident that our players will play against Australia. It was never a doubt in my mind.

"The ICC is aware of what is taking place and I think there needs to be meaningful discussion and some level of compromise where both parties are particularly happy. But certainly from our perspective, we are going to continue to have discussions with our board, at the FICA level with the ICC, to make sure that there is some sort of compromise. Common sense must prevail."

The ICC executive board met in Dubai on Tuesday and decided that every ICC member had the right to object to a player from its country taking part in the IPL. It also emerged from the meeting that the ICC's Future Tours Programme will not be altered to suit the IPL, a measure Peters had said the WICB would have been pushing for.

Peters had earlier said: "Cricket administrators around the world are worried about the IPL, particularly New Zealand and West Indies because the IPL takes place in the middle of when our seasons occur. But all of us stand to lose a significant amount of players."

All players participating in the IPL must have the consent of their national boards as a result of a No Objection Clause in the contracts. But, Peters said on Friday: "I am not going to not release the players because they would go anyway. 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."

However, Ramnarine said discussions with the WICB on the matter had only started the next day because the chief executive had been out of the country.

Asked whether he felt the emergence of the IPL was a threat to world cricket, Ramnarine said: "The ICC has a monopoly on the game, the boards have a monopoly on the game and at some point in time, somebody is going to try to break that monopoly and that is what is taking place right now. It's something that you have to pay close attention to."

In a related issue, Ramnarine said that the contractual negotiations with the WICB for the imminent home series were almost at a conclusion.

"In principle there is an agreement which is great," Ramnarine said. "The tour will be going on. Players are actually on their way to Guyana. We are still working out a few things in the contract. I would say in principle, 99% of the things have been agreed. I don't foresee any difficulty."

West Indies IPL players