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West Indies players boycott T20 launch

Members of the West Indies cricket team boycotted Saturday night’s launch of the 2010 International Cricket Council (ICC) Twenty 20 World Cup, which was staged at the Beausejour Stadium, Gros Islet, St Lucia.

The technical staff of the West Indies team, as well as the touring India squad, were all in attendance but the WI players, led by captain Chris Gayle, were noticeably absent from the event, which had, among the dignitaries, West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) president Dr Julian Hunte and ICC Chief Executive Haroon Lorgat.

This move by the West Indies players is another show of defiance towards the WICB as the strife between the Board and the West Indies Players Association (WIPA) apparently widens.

In May, the WI players, according to WIPA president Dinanath Ramnarine, were “disappointed” with the decision of the WICB to schedule the recent tour of England outside the ICC’s Future Tours Programme and in direct conflict with the Indian Premier League (IPL).

The series was arranged only after Sri Lanka announced their withdrawal to allow their cricketers to participate in the lucrative Twenty20 League, and greatly reduced the earning potential of players such as Gayle, who held sizeable IPL contracts.

Weeks earlier, there was a threat that the fifth and final Digicel-sponsored one-day international against England, ironically in St Lucia, would have been boycotted by the hosts, due to issues surrounding terms and conditions, as well as outstanding match fee payments for members of the West Indies team, as WIPA had rejected the WICB’s position on these matters.

And, on March 20, all of the three 11th round matches in the regional four-day tournament started a day later than scheduled as the players boycotted the first day of games in Barbados, St Vincent and Jamaica while, as a mark of solidarity, the West Indies players took to the field in the one-day international against England in Guyana with masking tape over the Digicel logos on their left arms.

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