Strike looms in West Indies cricket

KINGSTOWN: Tomorrow''s opening Test between West Indies and Bangladesh at the Arnos Vale Sports Complex is in serious doubt.

Sources have indicated that this follows another breakdown in negotiations between the West Indies players and the West Indies Cricket Board over outstanding issues central to the payment of fees for the recent tour of England.

A source said that the players are apparently unhappy about certain terms and conditions contained in the contract for that tour, and have rejected the agreement, although the WICB stands willing, ready, and able to make the payments to them.

The WICB agreed to pay - in some cases - up to five times above the regular fee to the players for the unscheduled tour, and also compensate players who had contracts to play in the Indian Premier League which clashed with the dates for the trip.

West Indies were swept in both series, as England won both the Tests and two of the three one-day internationals - the third abandoned because of rain.

CMC understands that the players were to arrive in the St Vincent capital on Monday ahead of the Test.

But they remained in St Lucia, where they had been playing in the last two one-day internationals against India, and then to attend a meeting with the WICB over the matter.

The players were apparently then booked to fly into St Vincent on Tuesday, but they apparently failed to make the flight which was scheduled to get into the E.T. Joshua Airport around noon.

The whereabouts of the 13 players named on Monday to form the squad are unknown at this time, but a source further indicated that some were booking flights to return to their respective homes.

The WICB was apparently aware of the situation and is trying to assemble a replacement squad to play in the Test, but a source also indicated that some of the alternatives have bluntly refused, in solidarity with the players named on Monday.

Another source also said that the players have expressed their intention to strike for the remainder of the month.

CMC also understands that the WICB was considering drastic action which could have far-reaching consequences for the game in the region.