14 players signed by WICB for South Africa tour
St. John's, Antigua: A month after a pay dispute controversially derailed its tour to India, the West Indies Cricket Board has confirmed that 14 top-flight players have signed contracts committing them to a three-test series in South Africa.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India, the most powerful stakeholder in the game, suspended bilateral ties with the West Indies last month and threatened to claim millions in compensation after the Caribbean players quit the tour.
There was initially concern about the South Africa tour going ahead next month, but West Indies management took the first step last week by selecting a 15-man squad and giving players a week to sign and return the tour contracts.
The WICB on Tuesday said Darren Bravo was the only player among those selected who asked not to be considered for the series, due to personal reasons. He is yet to be replaced in the squad.
West Indies chief selector Clive Lloyd last week announced Denesh Ramdin was retained as captain and star batsman Chris Gayle was included in the squad for the test series starting Dec. 17. The tests will be followed by three Twenty20 matches and five limited-overs internationals. The World Cup starts February in Australia and New Zealand.
"Of course at all times the selection panel aims to select the best and strongest team available," he said at the time.
The decision to quit the tour plunged West Indies cricket into turmoil just a few months out from the World Cup and was widely criticized by the game's administrators.
The International Cricket Council described the West Indies' withdrawal from the India tour as "damaging and unacceptable" and indicated that similar actions in future would jeopardize players' participation in lucrative domestic tournaments like the Indian Premier League.
West Indies test squad: Denesh Ramdin (captain), Sulieman Benn, Jermaine Blackwood, Kraigg Braithwaite, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Sheldon Cottrell, Shannon Gabriel, Chris Gayle, Jason Holder, Leon Johnson, Kemar Roach, Marlon Samuels, Jerome Taylor, Chadwick Walton. One to be added.