ST JOHN’S – The back and forth on the Ramnaresh Sarwan issue continued last night between the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) and the West Indies Players Association with the WICB issuing a statement countering assertions made by WIPA and stating that the decision made against the board was flawed.
The board stressed that at this critical time leading up to World T20 Tournament in Sri Lanka, that the focus remained on the West Indies men’s and women’s teams and the favourable appraisals of the teams’ prospects in the tournament.
The WICB indicated in its release that it had made repeated attempts to discuss Sarwan’s situation with him and WIPA. The board also stressed that at no time did the WICB chief executive officer, Dr. Ernest Hilaire or any other officer of the Board threaten Sarwan in any manner.
The board also stated that at no time did Hilaire or any of its officers instruct any selector on any course of action to be taken in relation to
the selection of the West Indies team. The WICB release stated that the selection committee was guided by
reports of the WICB Medical Panel and team physiotherapist. “It is the Fitness Report of March 11, 2010 that stated that Mr. Sarwan
was not fit for selection,” the release stated. The WICB noted that: Dr. Hilaire sent a letter to Sarwan based on
the tour report following the West Indies Tour to Australia 2009; that Sarwan had a telephone conversation with Dr. Hilaire relating to the letter and in that telephone conversation contested he was unfit and argued that the team physiotherapist and fitness trainer did not like him; Dr. Hilaire defended the professionalism of the staff and Sarwan was told that he would need to satisfy team management that he was sufficiently fit to play.
The board indicated that Sarwan presented his version of the events as his evidence to the arbitrator but the arbitrator did not allow WICB
counsel to cross-examine Sarwan on these matters nor did the arbitrator seek to find any evidence of the claims made by Sarwan.
“The arbitrator simply accepted WIPA’s and Sarwan’s version of evidence as true despite emails and letters which could have been provided to show contrary to the claims,” the release noted.
The WICB release further stated: “Neither WIPA nor Sarwan was able to show the arbitrator any evidence of any instruction by any WICB officer to any selector relating to selection of Sarwan but nevertheless stated such as a matter of fact.”
The WICB release ended by saying that it did not wish to be engaged in unhelpful sustained legal battles with players and in this instance had agreed to settle even though the board has been advised that the arbitrator’s ruling was flawed. The WICB said it considered the matter closed and indicated that last night’s response would be its last on the affair.