Political tensions with India mean Pakistan's participation in the marquee event is under cloud © AFP
Political tensions with India mean Pakistan’s participation in the marquee event is under cloud © AFP

T20 preparations abound across the globe in light of the ICC World T20 2016 that is to happen in India starting March. Yet, it is incredibly glaring that the event could become one of the dullest in the history of multinational cricket tournaments. The tournament is less than a month away, but the participation of at least two major teams is still under a cloud of doubt. These two teams are Pakistan and West Indies, both reputed for bringing to cricket a unique flavour. A tournament without these two teams in full strength could be a nightmare for the promoters. ALSO READ: PCB awaits government clearance for ICC World T20 2016 participation

Pakistan, as a result of their turbulent political relationship with neighbours India, are yet to confirm their participation. They are deeply aggrieved by the fact that India has withdrawn from a bilateral series arrangement with them. Their government gave clearance for them to participate in the tournament only a month before the scheduled start. Yet, there is no certainty that Pakistan will in fact perform. Najam Sethi has suggested that Pakistan might consider putting in a petition to have their games played at a neutral venue. Such a move can severely jeopardise the tournament’s charm. ALSO READ: Viv Richards sides with West Indies players in their ICC World T20 2016 pay dispute

West Indies remain one of the most exciting teams in the shortest formats, even as their fortunes in the other formats seem on an unstoppable downward spiral. The players of the calibre of Darren Sammy, Kieron Pollard and Sunil Narine add a unique, delightful Caribbean feature to any cricket they participate in. ALSO READ: West Indies contract crisis: Darren Sammy calls for mediation

Of those three players mentioned, two — Pollard and Narine — have withdrawn citing cricketing reasons (fitness and inadequate rehabilitation with a renewed action, respectively). Yet, there is good reason to surmise that the back outs have to do more with the pay dispute transpiring between players and WICB.

The utter mismanagement of WICB has come to the fore yet again and this time they have committed the atrocious act of offering players contracts of a significantly lower financial value than those offered in the previous instance of the same tournament, held in Bangladesh in 2014.

Skipper Sammy has been involved in an elaborate exchange of letters with WICB, asking them to double the value of their contracts, which was offering them a paltry $6,900. Recent reports claim Sammy and others in the side have signed contracts, without information as to the conclusion of the negotiations.

Apart from Sammy, big players like Chris Gayle, Dwayne Bravo and Andre Russell are also said to have signed the contracts. However, the pertinent question is whether, in the tense environment that plagues them, the players will be able to play to the best of their potential.

Recently, it has been seen that West Indies have played with dulled passion when representing the region, while displaying far more enthusiastic performances when turning out for franchises. In wake of the fresh controversy between player and management, this phenomenon could manifest itself to a more severe degree.

When two of cricket’s most electric teams are faced with complete to partial pullout, the prospects of ICC World T20 2016 to make for a blockbuster appear slim.

(Rishad D’Souza, a reporter with CricketCountry, gave up hopes of playing Test cricket after a poor gully-cricket career. He now reports on the sport. You can follow @RDcric on Twitter)