In an attempt to gain the initiative in the standoff with its international players, WICB president Dave Cameron has sent a letter of reassurance to regional players, days before the domestic season starts.
Cameron sent out the letter the day before the WICB’s board of directors met to discuss the crisis arising out of West Indies players’ pullout from the India tour earlier this month over a payments-structure dispute.
It appears Cameron does not want the issue to impact the revamped first-class tournament, the Professional Cricket League (PCL), even as the international players, WICB and West Indies Players Association (WIPA) start a fresh round of negotiations to resolve the deadlock.
Calling the PCL a “historic endeavour” in the two-page letter sent on October 20 to each of the 90 participating players, Cameron underlined one of the biggest benefits for the regional players was a guaranteed “stable” income including the scope for growth based on performance.
A part of the structural overhaul recommended earlier this year by WICB’s director of cricket Richard Pybus, the PCL will have six franchises –– Barbados, Guyana Jaguars, Jamaica, Leeward Islands, Trinidad & Tobago Red Force, and Windward Island Volcanoes –– facing off between November 14 and March 23. Under the new system, each of the territorial boards was allowed to retain and contract ten local players, with the rest of the region’s players going into a player draft, by which the teams completed their 15-man squads.
“Dear Player, I write to convey the West Indies Cricket Board’s sincere congratulations to you on being one of the elite cricketers in the West Indies who has been specially selected for participation in the inaugural and historic WICB Professional Cricket League (PCL),” Cameron wrote.
“We are especially pleased that the PCL will allow you to pursue your passion in a truly professional environment on a day-to-day basis with your franchise while providing a stable income for you and your family. The PCL is a revolutionary introduction into the West Indian cricketing landscape which the WICB anticipates will transform West Indies first-class, List A and international cricket.”
According to the PCL’s salary structure, a player stands to earn an annual retainer between US $15,600 and $36,000, excluding match fees and prize money. The player will also stand to earn $13,000 for playing a full season of 10 matches in the regional four-day completion, and $4900 for seven matches in the NAGICO Super50 (the One-Day competition). Thus he stands to make a potential annual income of $33,500-$53,900, depending on his seniority and performance.
“Naturally there are further opportunities for your annual earnings to be even further enhanced with participation in the Caribbean Premier League, selection to the West Indies A team and West Indies team,” Cameron noted. “We look forward to you further enhancing your skills and credentials to allow you to exploit these game-changing economic opportunities for regional cricketers.”
Cameron also acknowledged the concerns raised by senior players during the WIPA AGM in February. According to the minutes of the AGM, senior Guyana and West Indies batsman Shivnarine Chanderpaul had complained about the unsatisfactory conditions of the grounds and pitches for domestic cricket.
“We are aware of some concerns raised by your players’ association –– WIPA –– with regard to the standard of facilities for regional cricket and we offer our commitment to ensuring that all aspects of the PCL is truly reflective of its ‘professional’ status,” Cameron wrote. He also urged the players to show “continued professionalism and dedication with your franchise”.