Fidel’s injuries are proving to be very costly

Injuries that have already eliminated Fidel Edwards from the imminent West Indies tour of Australia have now cost the fast bowler a retainer contract from the West Indies Cricket Board.

Chief executive Ernest Hilaire confirmed that one-year contracts in four separate grades had been issued to 33 players but had been withheld for Edwards and opening batsman Dale Richards until their ‘medical status is cleared’.

He said that when Edwards returned to Barbados from the World Twenty20 championship in England in June with a back injury, the WICB put him on a remedial programme.

‘He abandoned it and went to play in the Champions League in India in October and got injured there,’ Hilaire said. ‘We now need to sort that out.’

Like Edwards, Richards has been set back by a succession of injuries. Richards missed last season’s home series against England and the following series in England with knee and ankle problems.

A dislocated shoulder during the Champions Trophy in South Africa ruled him out of the recent President’s Cup, the regional one-day tournament.

The contracts are graded at US$120,000, $80,000, $60,000 and $24,000, totalling around $2 million.

The last category is for ‘developmental players’. Match, tour and sponsorship fees are additional and paid to those selected for the West Indies, with or without contracts.

As promised, contracts have been given to all those hurriedly called up for the first Test against Bangladesh in St Vincent in July after the selected 13 withdrew because of the West Indies Players Association dispute with the WICB, mainly over contracts.

Among them are teenagers Andre Creary of Jamaica and Kraigg Brathwaite of Barbados who were in the first Test squad but did not appear in the series.

Ryan Hinds, Rawl Lewis and Devon Thomas are the only ones who played against Bangladesh not included in the deal as they only came in after the first Test.

Of those originally chosen against Bangladesh who have returned to the fold following the Caricom brokered agreement between the WICB and the WIPA, only Runako Morton has not been contracted.

Barbados all-rounder Dwayne Smith, who last played for the West Indies more than two years ago, and exciting 20-year-old Trinidad and Tobago left-hand batsman Darren Bravo, younger brother of Dwayne, are both on the list. The ever improving Lendl Simmons also got a contract.

A surprise omission is Kieron Pollard, the hard-hitting all-rounder who was one of the stars of Trinidad and Tobago’s outstanding performance in the Champions League in India last month.

He has a modest record in 15 ODIs but his average of 37.46, with three hundreds, in regional first-class cricket is better than many of those chosen.

He has now signed to turn out for South Australia in Australia’s Twenty20 competition in January.