Thu, Jul 09, 2009 - Page 18 News List

Bangladesh hope to play Tests despite threat of boycott

REUTERS , DHAKA

Bangladesh are hopeful that their Test series against West Indies will proceed as planned despite an announcement by the home players’ union that they were boycotting all matches over a contract and payment dispute.

The Test series is due to start in St Vincent today, but has been plunged into uncertainty after the West Indies Players Association (WIPA) said its members could no longer play without contracts.

“It is very much an internal affair of the West Indies. They did not inform us of anything yet, so we assume that the series will go ahead as planned,” Bangladesh Cricket Board spokesman Jalal Yunus told reporters yesterday.

“However, we have seen the reports in media and expressed our concerns to the team management. They talked to match referee, who assured them the match [would go ahead as planned],” Yunus said.

Bangladesh are already in the Caribbean, having played a warm-up game in Barbados against a West Indies A team.

West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) president Julian Hunte said he expected the first Test to go ahead, but refused to be drawn on whether an alternative squad would be selected for the game.

“As far as we are concerned [there] will be a Test match on Thursday,” he said when contacted by telephone.

“[But] goodness me, we can’t play a Test match without players. I can’t go beyond that,” he said, adding that he intended to release a statement regarding the game later yesterday.

WIPA said it had attempted to hold talks in the past few days with the WICB to resolve a number of issues.

“The players have requested me as president of WIPA ... to inform the WICB, sponsors and the public that, regretfully, they cannot with immediate effect continue playing without contracts,” WIPA president Dinanath Ramnarine said in a statement.

Media reports in the Caribbean said that most players from the West Indies squad had returned to their homes and were not preparing for today’s match.

The union, which threatened strike action during England’s tour of the Caribbean in March, said the players had participated in the last four series without contracts.

Bangladesh are due to play two Tests, three one-dayers and a Twenty20 international in the Caribbean.

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