(Press Trust of India) The West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) has agreed to pay a "retainer fee" to its players from October this year to "ensure that they stay fit and have peace of mind at all times even when they are not playing cricket".
The decision comes in the wake of protracted negotiations between the WICB and the West Indies Players Association (WIPA) for the last many years.
"At this time the WICB is looking at around 20 players for the initial group and is willing to do this at whatever cost because it will certainly assist the competitive life of our best players," a source in the Board said.
The amount of the retainer fee was not immediately known.
According to the current payment structure for international cricketers in West Indies, players at the lowest rung - those who have played between 1 to 20 Test matches - earn about $3,500-$4,000 per Test. The amount ranges to $8,000 per Test for players having experience of more than 80 Tests. The captain gets between $8,000 and $8,500 per Test.
WICB and WIPA will work together to ensure that all parties are agreeable to this idea of retainer fee to the players.
Meanwhile, legendary fast bowler Michael Holding has urged WICB and WIPA to settle their differences and operate closely for the welfare of West Indian cricket.
"The relationship needs to be like a marriage. There is no way you can go forward unless you work hand in hand," Holding said.
He said the recent strike by the players should not have happened.
"I don't think we should have reached that far where cricketers go on strike. I cannot accept that as an ultimatum. But we learn and we move on. Let's hope we have learnt from that experience."
Dinanath Ramnarine, president of WIPA, said all interest groupd must work together to ensure that West Indies was back at the top of world cricket.
"We the players know that we must demonstrate responsibility. We must have loyalty. We must display our commitment to our personal success and to the success of West Indian cricket," he said.