Time for England to reciprocate and keep Cricket West Indies ‘afloat’!

The West Indies return home after losing the three-Test series 1-2 to hosts England. They squandered the 1-0 lead, lost the series but won many a hearts to ensure a victory for the game of cricket at a time when COVID-19 pandemic had taken toll on the world of sports.

It needed some courage to travel to one of the worst hit countries by novel coronavirus and stay in a ‘bio secure bubble for nearly two months and play three Tests.

Gains for England were many. The experiment with the West Indies series has opened the doors for England and Wales Cricket Board to host international cricket without a break over the next few months.

Now is the time when the West Indies skipper expects the Englishmen to reciprocate and help them keep cricket “afloat” in the Caribbeans.

“If there is an opportunity perhaps for England to come over to the Caribbean before the end of the year, I’m sure that would help significantly with Cricket West Indies’ financial records,” West Indies skipper Jason Holder said at the Press conference after the series.

“It’s been a tough last couple of years for Cricket West Indies financially. We had to take pay cuts as well. These are difficult circumstances we have been facing financially. If its possible (for England to tour) before the end of 2020 that will put us in very good state or probably keep us afloat.

“We don’t know what’s going to happen after this series with the international calendar but if there is an opportunity for England to come over to the Caribbean before the end of the year, that would help significantly.”

Holder’s call can possibly start a debate on Cricket West Indies CEO Johnny Grave’s proposal that the visiting team should receive 20% of the home team’s media rights. That will significantly strengthen the health of the financially weaker nations. For example the ECB earns £220 million per annum from the media rights, whereas the CWI gets a mere £ 12 mn.

The Caribbean call has got some support in England itself. “The West Indies have come to a country with one of the highest COVID-19 death rates in the world, and helped save English cricket £280 million this summer, writes The Telegraph journalist Tim Wigmore. “Time for England to show their thanks for supporting West Indies’ pleas for away teams to get 20% of broadcasting rights.”

Holder further highlighted how a tour be England this year can help CWI more than hosting some other nation. “I was speaking to our chief executive Johnny Grave, who highlighted that we really only make money from playing England and India (at home),” he said. “Maybe we break even with Australia and Pakistan. But we lose money against other teams.”

The West Indies skipper also raised the issue of the ICC revenue sharing. “This is me personally bringing up a case for looking at the revenue distribution, particularly from the ICC, to see how better we could support the smaller countries in world cricket,” he added.

The Big Three – England, Australia and India – which contribute more to the International Cricket Council coffers in turn also get bigger share in the ICC revenue in comparison to the other member nations.

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