Windies captain Sammy calls for mediation in T20 row
By Kayon Raynor
KINGSTON, Jamaica (Reuters) - West Indies captain Darren Sammy has called for mediation to settle a contractual dispute that threatens to wreck the team's chances of winning next month's World Twenty20.
With the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) standing firm in its stance that players must sign the offered contract by Sunday or be replaced, Sammy's position could open the door to a resolution.
It is the clearest indication yet that Sammy's 15-man squad does not want to boycott the World Twenty20, which starts in India on March 8.
"As captain of the (Twenty20) team, I wish that we can settle this matter and focus on preparations for the tournament," Sammy wrote in a letter to WICB chief executive Michael Muirhead.
"I want to state on behalf of the players that we want to play and will represent the West Indies to the best of our abilities."
Sammy said mediation was the best way to settle the matter, if the board would not "consider our request to double the match fees (of $6,900), share 50 percent of sponsorship fees and award 100 percent of prize money to players."
This came after Muirhead confirmed to Reuters that the WICB selection panel, chaired by Clive Lloyd, was mandated to select a new team if the current squad, which includes Chris Gayle and Dwayne Bravo, did not sign by Sunday's deadline.
Sammy, who referenced the fiasco of the abandoned Indian tour in 2014 after a similar row over contracts, said it was the "arrogance and high-handedness of the board" which had caused the problems.
"You cannot continue (to) force players to be represented by a body that they are not members of and do not want to represent them," he said, adding that 14 of the 15 players in the squad were not members of the West Indies Players Association (WIPA).
WIPA is the exclusive collecting bargaining agency for West Indies players.
"Any issues you or a particular group of players may have with the representation you receive from your association are best taken up with WIPA," Muirhead told Sammy via email.
West Indies won the 2012 World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka and are currently ranked the second in the world in the format.
(Editing by Andrew Both and Nick Mulvenney)