Sammy Ramdin Bravo Russell
West Indies players are not happy with the Memorandum of Understanding signed between the WIPA and the WICBReuters

The India vs West Indies series might get canned even before a single ball is bowled after the visiting players threatened a strike following a pay dispute with the board and the players' association.

Dwayne Bravo was pretty conspicuous by his absence on Tuesday, with the West Indies ODI skipper not coming out for the pre-match media briefing, while also failing to pose for photographs with India skipper MS Dhoni along with the ODI series trophy.

The West Indies players also skipped practice on Tuesday, pointing clearly to the fact that all was not well in the visitors' camp.

And so it has proved to be, with Bravo, on behalf of his international colleagues, writing a letter stating the team has been "hoodwinked" by the West Indies Players Association president Wavell Hinds into agreeing a new memorandum of understanding with the West Indies Cricket Board.

The MOU was only signed last month, and many felt it would finally open the door to much better relations between the players and the WICB.

However, yet again, problems have arisen amongst the players' camp, with the international cricketers, remarkably, hitting back at the WIPA president Hinds.

"We are disappointed with the lack of proper representation and the players are now forced to make this proposal without any details as to how this new purported agreement was even arrived at and by whom, since the only advice we have received from you as president and CEO of WIPA is to not sign the contract /agreement that was sent by the WICB," said the letter, obtained by ESPNCricinfo, written on behalf of the players by Bravo to Hinds.

"The players are of the view that as a matter of principle, we should not accept these conditions whereby we are being asked to play a series against India without any certainty of what are our obligations and what we will be playing for.

"As you would appreciate Mr. Hinds, this is how we as professional cricketers earn our livelihood and provide for our families, our careers are short and uncertain, furthermore it is a highly competitive and stressful environment as one bad performance can see you out of the team forever, a player can suffer an injury at any time which could not only be career threatening but in many cases affect their lives even after their playing days are over. Mr. Hinds, the list can go on and on."

Bravo then goes onto say that the players' morale in India is at an "all-time low", while insisting Hinds and the WIPA Executive "failed to properly represent the best interests of all the players."

The letter also claims that the players' Test/ODI/T20 fees have been reduced by a massive 75 percent, while their image rights compensation has gone down by 100 percent. The ICC fees given to the players have also apparently taken a hit – by "close to 100 percent."

It is not yet clear if this issue, which does seem like a serious one, will affect the series in India, with the first match scheduled to be played today in Kochi.

As of now, there have been no threats by the players to boycott the first ODI, but if the issue fails to be resolved, then there is a serious threat to the rest of the tour.

The WICB put out a statement, apologising for the state of affairs to the fans and the BCCI.

"The West Indies Cricket Board has been advised that a number of players forming the West Indies one-day international squad currently in India, and scheduled to play five ODIs, commencing with the first ODI tomorrow, Wednesday October 8, have expressed concerns to WIPA on a number of issues relating to the CBA/MOU recently signed by WICB and WIPA," the statement read.

"It has also come to the WICB's attention that the some of the players could withdraw their services for the first ODI. The WICB deeply regrets this apparent eventuality, especially in light of the tedious and substantial work which went into the good faith negotiations to arrive at the new, historic CBA/MOU.

"The WICB apologises to the fans, the BCCI and all other stakeholders should the first ODI be disrupted as a result of player action. The WICB is making every effort to ensure that it fulfils all its commitments and that cricket is played.

"The WICB further thanks the BCCI, the host board, for their understanding and pleads with fans to exercise calm and patience. The Board trusts that a reasoned approach is taken and that the interest of cricket is served. The Board will make further announcements as may be necessary."


West Indies will play the first ODI in Kochi today, with the players stating their desire to continue under the old contract agreement until they can find a solution to the current problem. Dwayne Bravo and his band of usually happy men are at the ground and warming up and we should have a full game, weather permitting.

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