The West Indies team are currently on strike and at loggerheads with both their own players’ association (Wipa) and the board (WICB), having pulled out of their tour to India after just four ODIs. If the impasse is not resolved before December, then they may have to send a second-string outfit to South Africa or the tour might be cancelled.
But Lorgat is confident that the issues will be resolved and the best West Indian team will tour, particularly if they accept the offer of assistance from the Federation of International Cricketers Association (Fica), headed by South African Tony Irish.
“I’ve spoken to the West Indies board in the last 24 hours and they are reasonably confident that they will be able to keep their promise and tour here. I’m optimistic that they’ll be able to work through their issues.
“In two weeks’ time the RamSlam T20 Challenge starts here and I was told that the NOCs [No-Objection Certificates] would be granted to the West Indian players involved. There are some big players coming here, including captain Dwayne Bravo, and I’ll be able to talk to them then.
“Plus Tony Irish has offered his assistance, so there are many angles we can work from. The West Indian players are always keen to come to South Africa, so although it’s early days and there’s still lots of emotion, I’m quite confident that we’ll get things worked out,” Lorgat told The Citizen yesterday.
An important ace in CSA’s hands is that the tour to South Africa is the West Indies’ last before the World Cup and Lorgat said there is an eagerness amongst the Caribbean players to perform in that showpiece event.
“The players don’t want to miss out on the World Cup so I’m sure sanity will prevail. It could have been worse: it’s an explosive situation that has been simmering for a while and it could have happened while they were in South Africa!” Lorgat pointed out.
The current strike is the fourth to have affected West Indies cricket over the last decade or so and is centred on Wipa president Wavell Hinds signing a new collective bargaining agreement that results in a significant paycut for the players, as high as 70% for some.
The WICB are now holding the players to that signed contract. Wipa happens to have acted similarly a few years ago when the then-WICB chief executive mistakenly signed a deal giving the players $35 000 more per match-day.
Irish, who rose to the post of executive chairperson of Fica in June, told The Citizen that he had to offer his assistance because “the implications of this issue go far beyond West Indies cricket”.