West Indies cricket, which has united the islands of the Caribbean for more than a century, could be split after Trinidad and Tobago said they could compete as an independent nation.
|Trinidadian Brian Lara was arguably the world's most destructive batsman in his time [GALLO/GETTY]
Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board (TTCB) chief executive Forbes Persaud said leading figures in the country's cricket body were considering breaking away from the West Indies regional team.
West Indies cricket is in crisis after leading players refused to play in the home series against Bangladesh due to contractual disputes with the regional board, and the tourists took advantage by winning both Tests against a weakened team.
"My personal view, if the trend continues with the manner in which West Indies cricket is being administered, is the (TTCB) should go on its own and compete as Trinidad and Tobago, just as is in football," he told the Trinidad and Tobago Express on Tuesday.
"If something is not done to have cricket administration at the West Indies level properly restructured, I believe we will have no choice but to think about playing as an individual territory on the international scene."
Trinidad and Tobago has been one of the traditional powerhouses of West Indian cricket along with Barbados and Jamaica.
Cricket is the only sport in which the former British colonies still compete as one unit – all the Caribbean nations play football and compete in the Olympics independently.
Bravo hits out
The West Indies Players Association, the players union at the centre of the dispute with the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) is based in Trinidad and on Sunday, leading Trinidad and international player Dwayne Bravo hit out at the WICB saying his local club was better organised than the regional body.
Persaud said that his view on a split was a personal one and there had not been formal discussions at board level – but other members shared his view.
"There are some board members who believe that we should start thinking about going on our own but, this has not been discussed in any official forum," he said.
"It's just people expressing their views informally."
Asked if such views were growing, Persaud responded: "Yes. Because of the present situation in West Indies cricket, people are becoming very disenchanted and they have been expressing their views along these lines."
Trinidad and Tobago-born cricketers to have represented the West Indies include Brian Lara, Ian Bishop and current star Denesh Ramdin.
Persaud said that the process would not happen overnight.
"Even if we were to go that way, it would be a very long, drawn out process," he said.
"It would have to go through the International Cricket Council and we must bear in mind the repercussions it is going to have and the impact it would have on the West Indian community since we know how
passionate the Caribbean people are about cricket.
"We all know how critical West Indies cricket is as a unifying force, to go that way would be destroying a legacy.
"It is not going to be an easy decision to make, if at all there is going to be a formal discussion on this."