Meeting to probe alleged discrimination in Windies camp put off
West Indies batsman Odean Smith

A highly anticipated meeting between Cricket West Indies (CWI) representatives and the regional players' union to thrash out allegations of discrimination within the senior team camp has been put off.

The meeting was scheduled after the West Indies Players' Association (WIPA) became concerned about Odean Smith's role in the regional team in the current Twenty20 (T20) series versus England in Barbados.

In a statement, WIPA said the meeting, which was to be held on Friday, was “unilaterally postponed” by CWI until after the T20 series.

However, WIPA, which is headed by former West Indies batsman Wavell Hinds, added that it will “continue to have cordial and meaningful engagements with CWI on all matters” pertaining to player welfare.

It further stated: “Historically, we've always denounced all and any form of discriminatory behaviour towards our members, and we'll continue to do so in the sternest manner through the established channels of engagement.”

The Jamaica Observer has learnt that the 25-year-old Smith, who is a WIPA member, has repeatedly been asked by at least one influential member of the West Indies staff to switch the management agency that he is signed to. That agency is said to have a number of West Indies players on its books. Smith is said to have refused the offer.

The 25-year-old bowling all-rounder, who is quickly becoming one of the most sought-after Twenty20 players globally, has been bizarrely utilised, only bowling one over for four runs as West Indies won last Saturday's opening T20 match at Kensington Oval.

Smith, a member of the triumphant 2016 West Indies Under-19 World Cup side, did not bowl in the second outing a day later as the tourists levelled the five-match series at 1-1.

For the third T20, he was replaced by batting all-rounder Rovman Powell, who scored a stunning century in the West Indies victory.

On Thursday, CWI President Ricky Skerritt condemned the allegations as “unfounded and mischievous” and said they were “designed to sow division” in the Caribbean side.

Head Coach Phil Simmons also shot down suggestions of a rift in the team during a press conference on Thursday, claiming “there is no victimisation in selection in West Indies cricket”.

— Sanjay Myers


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