Bring back your best

Cricket’s leading nations have told the West Indies Cricket Board to solve the dispute with their leading players and stop heaping embarrassment upon the game.

International Cricket Council chief executives, meeting in Johannesburg during the final stages of the Champions Trophy, were so angry that the West Indies had sent a second team to the event that a teleconference was arranged on Saturday so the West Indies board could understand the strength of their views.

Suggestions that the 2010 World Twenty20 could be removed from the Caribbean are premature, but the ICC has told the West Indies board that the dispute must be solved by the end of the month.

The West Indies squad to tour Australia is due to be named by then, and the launch of the World Twenty20 is set for Barbados on 31 October.

The Champions Trophy schedule – a condensed tournament featuring the top eight teams in the world – won many plaudits, and nations such as England and India recognise that the gradual decline of West Indies cricket would undermine the top-eight format. The Champions Trophy was won by Australia who beat New Zealand in the final on Monday.

Cricket’s appetite for expansionism has declined since an unwieldy 2007 World Cup in the Caribbean received heavy criticism, but the expansionists are also desperate for a solution to the West Indies problem, believing that long-held ambitions to spread the game in the United States require a vibrant game in the Caribbean.

Ernest Hilaire, who took over as the WICB’s chief executive on 1 October, the fifth such appointment in nine years, has promised to confront the contractual stand-off that threatens to hasten the decline of West Indies cricket.