MELBOURNE: Cricket Australia on Wednesday welcomed a breakthrough in negotiations over a West Indies' player dispute, opening the possibility of a full-strength team to tour Australia next month.
he West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) and West Indies Players' Association (WIPA) said in a joint statement on Tuesday that nearly all the outstanding matters in their dispute over pay and contract issues had been settled.
A severely depleted West Indies team, missing stars such as captain Chris Gayle and Shivnarine Chanderpaul, was well beaten by Bangladesh in recent Test and one-day matches in the Caribbean last July.
There were fears a similarly understrength touring team might also be headed for Australia, leading to lopsided matches.
The breakthrough in the impasse was welcomed by Cricket Australia (CA).
"We are seeking confirmation, but the early reports we are seeing reflect the encouraging private noises we have been hearing from West Indies cricket in recent weeks," CA chief executive James Sutherland said in a statement.
"Test cricket is about the best versus the best and we are looking forward to an exciting summer against the West Indies and also the talented Pakistan team."
Australia are scheduled to play three Tests against the West Indies in November and December, starting at the Gabba in Brisbane on November 26, as well as two Twenty20 games and five one-dayers in February.
Pakistan will also play Test and one-day series and a Twenty20 match against Australia.