West Indies allrounder Kieron Pollard has been granted a No Objection Certificate (NOC) to play in the upcoming Ram Slam T20 competition in South Africa, the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) confirmed Tuesday.
The confirmation from WICB president Michael Muirhead came following an earlier report from ESPN cricinfo stating that Pollard had been denied a NOC for the tournament starting this Friday.
During an interview on Massy United Insurance’s Line & Length Network, Muirhead explained that it was never the Board’s intention not to grant Pollard an NOC, but rather explain to him why the process on this occasion was taking longer than usual.
“It was not denying him any NOC, it was explaining to him why it was taking longer. Normally we would have responded so in seven days he would have gotten it,” stated Muirhead.
“But I think it went over. But before the seven days expired I said ‘let me explain to him why it is taking a little longer time’ and it is because we have written to all the boards, the presidents and CEOs.”
WICB’s letter to presidents and CEOs of all the ICC Full Member boards has notified them of its new policy to impose a 20 percent levy on the contract fees of its players taking part in T20 tournaments overseas.
Cricinfo reported that Muirhead’s letter to Pollard had informed him that permission would not be granted to him until various boards featuring Caribbean players in their domestic T20 tournaments agreed with WICB’s new policy.
Muirhead suggested that the NOC granted to Pollard, who signed a two-year contract with Cape Cobras last season, was conditional.
“We are awaiting a response so we know the timing that’s on it so if we did not receive it from them we would respond to Kieron and provide the NOC whether it be conditional… with the conditions that we explained to him that we are expecting Cricket South Africa to honour a release fee or we are going to defer it,” Muirhead told Line & Length Network.
“It’s something on the table and we want to negociate with it. That’s why it is dynamic; it is just the point in time that we responded to Kieron”.
In a release earlier today the WICB defended its decision to impose the 20 percent levy on the contract fees of its T20 stars playing in overseas domestic tournaments, saying revenue raised would be used to aid the development of players in the territories.
The statement from the WICB said some of the funds would be disbursed as an incentive for territories to “expose new cricket talent”.
“A portion of these funds derived from these release fees will also go back to the clubs and franchises/territories in recognition of the role they played in developing the player and as an incentive for them to continuously expose new cricket talent,” the statement said.
“The WICB earlier this year distributed player production fees to all the territories/franchises and clubs from which players came from.”
The statement revealed that so far India and Bangladesh had agreed to the release fees.
However there are reports that WICB’s new policy has been rejected by Cricket South Africa and there has been no response yet from the Pakistan Cricket Board and Cricket Australia.
“The WICB is in the process of discussions with the various Full Members as to the other boards’ acceptance of that position. The dialogue is ongoing and we wait on official word,” said the WICB statement.
“In addition to India, Bangladesh has also agreed to the release fees. The practice is also used in other jurisdictions like England,” the statement indicated.
The West Indies Players’ Association (WIPA) has taken exception to the WICB’s move, noting that an imposition of an NOC levy by the WICB was not the answer to the lack of coherent global scheduling.
“A centrally regulated and coordinated international cricket programme for all three formats is necessary for the improvement of global cricket. As such, the International Cricket Council (ICC) will need to spearhead the complete restructure of the international cricket calendar,” WIPA said in a release today.
“WIPA is totally against any new market restrictions or regulations that may limit our West Indian players. The present NOC levy of the WICB promotes the restraint of trade and is open to be challenged legally.
‘To ensure that this matter is addressed immediately, we are proposing that the WICB meets with all stakeholders regionally (WIPA) and internationally (ICC, FICA) forthwith,” WIPA stated in its release.
Pollard, who was dropped from the regional squad last month following a disappointing tour of Pakistan, has been involved in a highly publicized spat with the board since then.
He was left off the list of players offered retainer contracts by the WICB and has previously been granted several NOCs by the board.
Currently 17 regional players are contracted with seven teams to play in the Bangladesh Premier League, which started today. They are Carlos Brathwaite, Rayad Emrit (Barisol Bulls), Chris Gayle, Dwayne Smith (Chittagong Vikings), Jason Holder, Rovman Powell, Marlon Samuels (Comilla Victorians), Dwyane Bravo, Evin Lewis, Andre Russell (Dhaka Dynamites), Andre Fletcher, Kevon Cooper, Nicholas Pooran, Lendl Simmons (Khulna Titans), Darren Sammy, Kesrick Williams (Rajashahi Kings) and Gidron Pope (Rangpur Riders).