Most of the West Indies players invited to the regional training camp ahead of the upcoming three-Test tour to Australia have made themselves available for the tour.
The Express has been reliably informed that the majority of the 30-man training squad called up for the tour signed their letters of invitation before yesterday’s 5pm deadline for accepting the invitation of the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB). This has come amid ongoing negotiations between the WICB and the West Indies Players’ Association (WIPA) which began only a few days before yesterday’s deadline.
Among the players expected to sign the contracts are fast bowlers Pedro Collins and Fidel Edwards. Over the weekend, a story in the Sunday Sun reported that the pair had accepted the invitation for the training camp, and had decided they would sign the match/tour contracts “even if there is no resolution”.
Although a source close to the negotiations between the parties was quoted as saying that Collins and Edwards had indicated they had “accepted the invitation and never indicated they would sign the match/tour contracts”, a report from the Barbados Nation confirmed they would sign if selected.
“I’m not sure who the source is and who’s speaking, but I want to make it clear I stand by the Sunday Sun report,” the Nation quoted Collins as saying. “Cricket is important to us as a people. The Caribbean will be on show during World Cup 2007 and we will do all in our power to ensure that West Indies put on a good show. This means preparations have to start from now as we need to field the best team possible.”
When contacted yesterday WIPA president Dinanath Ramnarine, although refusing to comment on negotiations between his association and the board, said the players would be making themselves available for the camp.
The parties have been at loggerheads since November last year over players’ endorsements and match/tour contracts, which have affected each tour involving West Indies. The worst affected was the recent tour to Sri Lanka, where an under-strength team toured the subcontinent after only three of the 15 players called up by the WICB – including Shivnarine Chanderpaul, the captain – accepted the invitation.
The one-week training camp is due to start on Saturday at the Three W’s Oval at the Cave Hill campus of the University of the West Indies in Barbados. The Australian tour begins on October 27.
The 30 invited players
Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Wavell Hinds, Brian Lara, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Chris Gayle, Denesh Ramdin, Daren Ganga, Dwayne Bravo, Lendl Simmons, Dave Mohammed, Sylvester Joseph, Ryan Hinds, Runako Morton, Marlon Samuels, Dwayne Smith, Devon Smith, Narsingh Deonarine, Carlton Baugh Jr, Omari Banks, Xavier Marshall, Pedro Collins, Corey Collymore, Jermaine Lawson, Tino Best, Fidel Edwards, Ian Bradshaw, Deighton Butler, Daren Powell, Dwight Washington, Jerome Taylor.