Tuesday, March 11, 2008

West Indies president raises IPL concerns

Julian Hunte: "We are deeply concerned about the future impact of leagues like the IPL on our cricket"...

Julian Hunte, the president of the West Indies Cricket Board, has expressed his concern over the impact that the two Indian Twenty20 leagues might have on cricket in the Caribbean.

Speaking as he prepared to attend next week's ICC executive board meeting in Dubai, Hunte spoke of his worry that the Indian Premier League will be taking place during tours by Sri Lanka and Australia.

"We are deeply concerned about the future impact of leagues like the IPL on our cricket, particularly when their seasons are in direct competition with our tours or our domestic season," Hunte said. "We and New Zealand will be the big losers. Already it is clear that three of our players [Chris Gayle, Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Ramnaresh Sarwan] will have to choose between representing teams in the IPL or representing their region. Given the amount of money at stake, it already seems to be a foregone conclusion.

"We also have the ICL and again the dilemma faced by our players. We just had the example of a player who would have been selected for the WI team but who went to the ICL."

Hunte said that the possibility of having a window in the international calendar to accommodate the IPL had been raised by the WICB's Dr Donald Peters at the recent ICC meeting of chief executive officers.

"The IPL is the second biggest threat facing West Indies," Peters said. "There is an even bigger one. There is a move to limit the first tier of Test-playing countries to the top seven which will then leave the West Indies with only Bangladesh and Zimbabwe to play."

"The WICB will never allow this to happen," Hunte responded. "In most of the cricket playing countries of the world, we are the team they like most after their national team. However, we have to use this as motivation to get back to the top of world cricket. Our players must be mindful of this when they go out to play since if our standing in world cricket does not improve we might find our options and opportunities severely limited."

Hunte also spoke of his unhappiness at the way Steve Bucknor was removed from officiating in the aftermath of the infamous Sydney Test between Australia and India in January.

"When Steve Bucknor, our premier regional umpire, was removed and replaced, I wrote to the ICC asking for information, essentially the reasons why the ICC acted as it did. I said at the time that the ICC was setting a dangerous precedent but that before we took a decision on the matter we needed to know more. So far, I have not received the information I sought and I consider this an insult to the WICB which is a full-member of the ICC."