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Sourav Ganguly slams West Indies players, board for putting club over country

India Today logo India Today 01-08-2016

With Team India in pole position to storm to a commanding win in the second Test against the West Indies, the below par performance of the home team has drawn sharp criticism from former India captain Sourav Ganguly, who has slammed the West Indies Cricket Board and their players for putting club over country.

Key West Indies players, including Chris Gayle, Sunil Naraine, Dwayne Bravo, Andre Russell and Kieron Pollard are missing from the Test team, leaving the series to a point of no-contest and Ganguly is not impressed. What is more shocking is that these same players are currently representing their T20 sides in the ongoing Caribbean Premier League tournament which is being held on the sidelines of the ongoing four-Test series against India.

'ICC NEEDS TO INTERVENE'

"I think it is the ICC's job to make sure this is happening (that best players represent the country at Test level) but I do not think ICC has control over these T20 leagues. We hold our IPL and we make sure the Indian Team is not playing anywhere else in the world so that is why the players are available for the IPL and players are then available to play for India. So I think there needs to be a window in West Indies cricket as well where they can do this Caribbean Premier League for two weeks or three weeks and make sure that by the time the Test cricket season starts it is over... like the Australians do in the Big Bash and the Big Bash they play during the season but they make sure that the Test players are playing Test cricket for Australia. So, it is a bit of maturity from the West Indies, it is bit of a pride for the West Indies cricketers to turn up for their country and also scheduling from their board as well because the Caribbean Premier League is organised by the WICB," Ganguly told India Today Television.

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The Cricket Association of Bengal president also revealed that a recommendation for the same was given to the ICC. "Recently I was in England at the MCC World Cricket Committee meeting, the committee which puts the recommendations to the ICC for the game and this was discussed that how can ICC allow Test cricket being played without important players while they go and play in the T20 premier leagues. It is about scheduling, it is about financing and there are few issues to be solved before you get the West Indies boys on the park. It is just a simple case of one tournament paying more and Test cricket not paying them enough. That is the balance that the West Indies cricket board and the ICC needs to sort out otherwise it is going to be the same. I don't see any reprieve from this," he said.

MORE MONEY

Ganguly, however, understands why players are being drawn towards these T20 leagues but says the onus lies with the guardians of the game to narrow the pay gap between T20 and Test cricket.

"I also consider it as maturity on the part of the players as I think country always comes first but that is not the case in the Caribbean. Also, the West Indies cricket board have shot themselves in the arm because how can you organise a T20 league when India is supposed to tour and you are playing four Test matches against a team that brings money and finances to that part of the world. The fact of the matter is that they get paid four times for playing in these premier leagues than in Test cricket. I think that is where ICC needs to come in because the likes of Gayle, Russell, Bravo and Pollard who are automatic choices in this squad don't get picked for the West Indies and the reason is that if they are getting about 2000 dollars to play for the West Indies, in the same period they get about a million dollars for playing in the T20 leagues. So, I think it is the balances of the finances," he explained.

Former India spinner Nikhil Chopra, meanwhile, has been shocked by the decline of the West Indies cricket and urges introspection on their part. 

Chopra too finds it surprising that big guns have been left out from the team to face India in a Test series.

"It is a little surprising that your star players, your match winners, those who can be very competitive in Test match cricket as well are playing cricket in their T20 league. If we talk about scheduling these Test matches or even for that matter the custodians of the game the ICC should be looking to step in and asking that how can they have the CPL going on at the same time when Test matches are going to be played in the West Indies. West Indies cricket had a lot of spectators that enjoyed watching their cricket, people used to enjoy their drinks, there used to be music and what not at the stadiums but now it is not because you have got another shorter version going on at the same time and people can get to that after work. I think West Indies Board needs to sit down and think where they want their cricket to go in the next five years," he said.

Meanwhile, sports historian Boria Majumdar has urged the ICC to crack down on member boards who have allowed their players to put club over country.

"What about this West Indies side, they cannot bat, they cannot bowl. On their home conditions their best players Gayle, Bravo, Naraine and others continue to play in the Caribbean Premier League, this is not done. They are clearly telling the ICC to do a two tier Test cricket system because we belong to the lower tier and do not waste time giving us these Test matches because India will run away with it. This is where the ICC needs to step in and tell them that they cannot destroy the edifice of the game," he said.

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