West Indies open cricket training camp in Barbados
BRIDGETOWN (Barbados): All but five members of the West Indies cricket team practiced Wednesday as the team opened its three-week camp under new coach Bennett King.
Only captain Brian Lara, Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Jamaicans Chris Gayle, Marlon Samuels and Wavell Hinds were missing from the 25-man squad. West Indies Cricket Board chief executive Roger Brathwaite said the five remaining players were scheduled to fly to Barbados on Wednesday evening and join the team on Thursday.
King said the long-running contract dispute between the players and the WICB has not affected his job. “It hasn’t disrupted me in any way actually,” the Australian said. “Certainly we’ve had to shift things in the program to cater for when everybody comes in. But from my perspective, I’m here to coach cricketers.”
The players did agree to wear the Digicel logo on their clothing, but West Indies Players Association president Dinanath Ramnarine said all is still not well. “We agreed to attend the training camp ... We also agreed to wear the Digicel clothing during the camp,” Ramnarine said. “But (the players) are entitled to be compensated for this, and while they won’t be paid during the camp, we will negotiate their fees with the Board ahead of the Australia tour and include it in the tour payments.”
Digicel recently signed a $20 million (£15 million), five-year deal with the board. The players said they risked losing their image rights if they signed the WICB contracts. The players are also upset because some are being asked to share rooms in order to cut costs.
Also, former West Indies cricket star Garfield Sobers praised King, just days after the Australian took over. “I think that they have a person here who will do a tremendous job,” said Sobers, who has just taken up his role as technical consultant to King. “Talking to him, his kind of thinking is a little bit similar to mine. “Things are going very well,” the 68-year-old former all-round great added. “It’s interesting, some of the new techniques that are being used and listening to Bennett talking to the boys.” ap