In the Barbados Today Article published on April 4, 2018, and released on April 8, 2018, on the Cricket West Indies Website, I find it ironic that the writer sees it fit to come to the defence of Whycliffe Cameron. It is as if what is presently happening within our cricket the present president shouldn’t be held accountable for the issues presently facing the sport and its players.
Without a shadow of a doubt, Cricket West Indies has faced many challenges in the past and it has left many to wonder if those in the past had the interest of the sport and players at heart. The writer cannot make such a blanket statement that “We are completely confident that president of Cricket West Indies Whycliffe ‘Dave’ Cameron has the success of West Indies cricket at the core of his every administrative strategy”. While from the looks of things both on and off the field it tells a different story in the operations of Cricket West Indies along with the negative outcome of the team on tour.
Yes our cricket has been on the decline since 1995, but long before the decline there were serious issues between management and player, however, such issues weren’t taken seriously due to the fact that our team was always winning and made spectators along with regional heads pay little or no attention to the internal wranglings of the team.
Mr Cameron took over the presidency of the then-named West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) in 2013 – some 18 years after the state of the slide from the likes of Peter Short (1993 – 1996), Partick Rosseau (1996 – 2001), Sir Wesley Hall (2001 – 2003), Teddy Griffith (2003 -2005), Kenneth Gordon (2005 – 2007), and Julian Hunte (2007 – 2013) and the problems nonetheless passed on from one president to the next until this day. So it wasn’t as if regional heads along with spectators refused to speak about the numerous issues facing this regional side. They spoke about it but as per usual it fell on deaf ears either by supporters being bitter than certain players from their respective island weren’t selected to the easiest thing to do was the boycott and matches that were being played in the region especially in their island.
Like any organisation, it is run in a business-like manner and the individual being placed to head said organisation is there to take it to the next level. When Cameron was given the nod to become president of West Indies Cricket Board back in 2013, many within the region and especially Jamaica had high hope that he would be able to do a lot a turn around West Indies Cricket and bring it back to it’s winning form. It was expected that:
- We would have more teams coming to the region to play against our team.
- Contracts would be issued to selected players in a timely manner before they left the region for any tour.
- Players will be greatly renumerated at all cost.
- The development of cricket would be done across the board from the primary level to the senior level.
- A cricketing academy would be built within the region to assist players who would need to work to correct their techniques instead of sending them off to Australia’s cricketing academy which proved to be very costly in the long run.
- Work with regional presidents in getting cricketing stadiums up to international standard to host day and night matches.
- Coming up with creative ways to have stadiums within the region filled to capacity to host either Test, ODI, or Limited over matches at an affordable cost to the spectators.
It is my belief that that current cricketing president hasn’t recognised that West Indies cricket is deeply entrenched into Caricom and with that being said whatever affects West Indies Cricket be it positive or negative the various regional heads have every right to speak on the matter of cricket. Cameron needs to understand that he cannot operate as if West Indies Cricket is his personal business and he can do as he pleases without having the regional heads formulate an opinion or make a suggestion as to the way forward as it relates to Cricket both regionally and internationally.
Once again Cameron cannot think that Dr Gonsalves isn’t within his right to approach the International Cricket Council (ICC) for a meeting with respect to restructuring the governance of the game in the region since he, Cameron hasn’t found it fit to meet with members of the subcommittee responsible for West Indies Cricket. It cannot be business as usual or do as you please while the sport of cricket is in shambles and your only concern is that regional heads are interfering with your job.
It’s not just now that regional heads see it fit to interfere in the runnings of West Indies Cricket, former Jamaican PM Portia Simpson Miller decided to intervene when Christopher Henry Gayle was being unfairly treated by the said Cricketing board along with the likes of Professor Hilary Beckles. In 2012 Professor Hilary Beckles made it clear that reform was the “duty of his generation”, Sir Hilary pointed to Carlos Brathwaite’s heroics of four sixes off the first four balls of the final over in the men’s final which fired West Indies to victory over England and stressed that it was now left to the regional governing body to complete the process. The Patterson Report, commissioned by the WICB and authored by former Jamaica Prime Minister P.J. Patterson, was produced in 2007, but its main recommendations have been ignored by the WICB.
Truth be told Mr Cameron has simply rubbed many people the wrong way because of his management which has infuriated regional politicians that Chairman of CARICOM’s cricket subcommittee and Prime Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines Dr Ralph Gonsalves speaks on the need to dissolve CWI.
Worldwide cricket is a lucrative business, but it’s only Cricket West Indies that finds it hard to take up the mantle set by others and take care of its players in order to make sure that many have a strong commitment to the sport and not be easily swayed into the Franchise cricket which draws a large number of spectators to the sport with lucrative financial rewards in the end. In the end, Cricket West Indies who were once kingpins of Test cricket find themselves at the bottom of the standings in all format of the sports and find that they have nothing much to bring to the table when their representatives meet at the International Council so the likes of India, Australia and South Africa will always dictate how they which the game to be played in its modern format and also can sanction ICC to make sure that many of our bowlers for one reason or another are not overlooked and are banned from the sport if they believe their bowling seems suspect.
When President Cameron was appointed the president of West Indies Cricket Board many thought they were getting someone new and different to pave the way forward for West Indies Cricket. Sorry to say that in 2018 we have moved from West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) to Cricket West Indies (CWI) same cast but a different script operation under the umbrella “Business as usual”.