Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Commentator Tony Cozier has announced that the West Indies will not be present at the 2015 World Cup if their ongoing standoff with the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) and West Indies Players’ Association (WIPA) continues.
Cozier’s comments come after the West Indies shocked the cricketing world by pulling out of their tour of India following the fourth ODI in Dharamsala.
“The BCCI are very upset that the West Indies board and the players should have called off the tour at this stage,” Cozier told ESPNcricinfo via a telephone interview from Barbados. “Now having done that, meaning that this tour is finished, they were scheduled to go to South Africa right after. They’ve got three Test matches in December, five one-day internationals in January and a Twenty20 and then they are scheduled to move straight from South Africa to the World Cup in Australia in New Zealand. I can’t see that happening if the standoff remains.”
Cozier believes that the players should have made their thoughts clear before they travelled to India and added that the WICB should have done something to prevent the national team from returning home midway through a tour.
“The West Indies board really should have got involved and said, ‘Look, we can sort this out. Let’s wait for the tour to finish, play all the way through and then we’ll go with what your demands are. We’ll talk about it. If it needs negotiating, we’ll agree with that. But we have to talk about it,’ not to abandon a very important tour, a very significant tour virtually before it started,” he said.
Cozier added that this situation is a major letdown for Caribbean fans since they will not get to see their team compete against the reigning World Cup champions.
“The fact of the matter is that the West Indies, under the ICC rankings for Tests and ODIs, they’re eighth in the list and only above Bangladesh and Zimbabwe,” Cozier said. “The interest in cricket here in the Caribbean on the field has certainly waned to a large extent. The Test matches against New Zealand, a very good series here back in June, a good tight series New Zealand won 2-1, you looked at the crowds then and you had maybe 200-300 people at the ground. The biggest crowd perhaps was in Barbados where you had about 1000. That just reflects the exasperation of the supporters here in the Caribbean. They can’t understand why this should be happening over and over and over. You wonder if they’ve all given up on it now.
“In any situation when you have an employer against an employee, which is the board and the players, that public sympathy would be inclined more to the employee who happens to be the players and of course they are the ones who go into the middle. They are the stars. All the same, there are other sports which have come up and challenged West Indies cricket, which after all has been the bedrock of unity within the Caribbean for the better part of 120 years. Whether it will continue, well that’s another question.”