ST. JOHN’S, Antigua – With three of the top West Indies players involved in the Indian Board’s International Premier League (IPL) which takes place during the Sri Lanka – Australia Tours of the Caribbean, what is the impact of the IPL on the future of West Indies Cricket?

This and other key issues including the use of technology to review umpires’ decisions and the “Bucknor” matter are on the agenda of the next ICC Executive Board Meeting which takes place in Dubai on March 16 – 18, 2008.

The President of the West Indies Cricket Board, the Honourable Dr. Julian R. Hunte, who leaves on Thursday, March 13, 2008 for the meeting, said, “We are deeply concerned about the future impact of leagues like the IPL on our cricket particularly when their seasons are in direct competition with our tours or our domestic season. We and New Zealand will be the big losers. Already it is clear that three of our players will have to choose between representing teams in the IPL or representing their region. Given the amount of money at stake, it already seems to be a foregone conclusion. We also have the ICL and again the dilemma faced by our players. We just had an example of a player who would have been selected for the WI team but who went to the ICL.”

At the most recent meeting of Chief Executive Officers of ICC Member Countries, the CEO of the WICB, Dr. Donald Peters raised the question of a window for the IPL and a similar window for Stanford 20/20 with which the WICB is negotiating a license for the Regional 20/20 event. Dr. Peters commented, “The IPL is the second biggest threat facing West Indies. There is an even bigger one. There is a move to limit the first tier of Test Playing countries to the top seven which will then leave the West Indies with only Bangladesh and Zimbabwe to play.”

Commenting on this attempt to marginalise West Indies Cricket, Dr. Hunte said, “The WICB will never allow this to happen. In most of the cricket playing countries of the world, we are the team they like most after their national team. However, we have to use this as motivation to get back to the top of world cricket. Our players must be mindful of this when they go out to play since if our standing in world cricket does not improve we might find our options and opportunities severely limited.”

Dr. Hunte also spoke of the “Bucknor” matter. He explained, “When Steve Bucknor, our premier regional umpire, was removed and replaced during the IndiaAustralia series, I wrote to the ICC asking for information, essentially the reasons why the ICC acted as it did. I said at the time that the ICC was setting a dangerous precedent but that before we took a decision on the matter we needed to know more. So far, I have not received the information I sought and I consider this an insult to the WICB which is a full-member of the ICC.”

The ICC meeting will also look at the use of technology to review the decisions of umpires and how that will operate. The WICB fully supports any innovations in the game that will ensure fairness and improved decision-making.

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