Derbyshire in Barbados: Mark Eklid's tour diary
THIS weekend has provided a reminder that the politics of conflicting interests is still never far away in West Indies cricket.
Two local sides were due to join the six English counties in the twenty20 tournament which provides the central focus of this pre-season tour to the Caribbean.
With t20 preparation pretty low down the coaches' priority list at this stage, the tournament was not the reason why they were on the island but it is taken seriously and, having six first-class professional squads in competition with the finals day at the wonderful Kensington Oval, it is a well worthwhile exercise.
This year, however, the event was marred by the late withdrawal – the night before the first day of the t20 tournament – of the Barbados and the Combined Campuses and Colleges sides. They would not have been the full-strength teams, the ones that play in the West Indies domestic first-class competition, but to have them represented would have been appropriate.
Alas no. A row over payment to play in the competition was reportedly the cause.
What a shame and how embarrassing for the organisers. It did not really impact on the event, apart from causing a hasty reshuffling of fixtures, but the weekend would have been so much better with the two West Indian sides in it.
Don't forget, it is less than four years ago since West Indies were forced to field a scratch side, including several players who have not been anywhere the international side before or since, for a Test against Bangladesh in St Vincent. That withdrawal of labour by the players was the culmination of a four-year stand-off between the West Indies Cricket Board and the Players' Association over retainer contracts for the international stars.
I remember wondering at the time how on earth it was allowed to come to that. The same thought still applies.