Veteran journalist and broadcaster Tony Cozier has taken strong offence to claims by West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) president, Whycliffe “Dave” Cameron, that his failing eyesight is the reason why he has not been asked to do television commentary.
In fact, Cozier wants to know if his eyes are so bad, why has the British Broadcasting Company (BBC) contracted him to do radio commentary for them.
His reaction came on the heels of recent comments made by the WICB president, in which he said while Cozier had not been banned, he had not been asked to do any television commentary in recent times because he was not seeing well.
In an interview with Barbados TODAY over the weekend, Cozier condemned Cameron’s comments, calling them “ridiculous”.
The experienced journalist revealed he had done television commentary on every series in the Caribbean between 1990 and 2013.
However, he said that in 2014 when the Regional 50-overs tournament in Trinidad was sub-contracted to AJS Events, his troubles began.
“The head guy, Tony Still, who I know very well got in touch with me and said they had been sub-contracted to do the tournament, and asked me if I was available.
“He told me the terms and conditions and after I accepted he booked my plane tickets and accommodation,” Cozier explained.
“But then he came back to me and told me that the Board had scratched my name off the list because they said they wanted a better mix of commentators and not only ones from Barbados and Trinidad.”
Despite that reason given, he said of the six commentators contracted, four were from Trinidad along with Jeffrey Dujon and another Barbadian, Barry Wilkinson.
“And then after that I did nothing after, everything gone,” he exclaimed.
Cozier said he once again expressed interest in doing work this year, but had been told that the Board had handed down a list of commentators and his name was not in it.
Subsequently, the veteran broadcaster with over 40 years experience said BBC asked him to work with them.
“What he has said is that I am old and my eyesight is going. How is he going to know that?
“BBC Radio . . . I’m not talking about CBC, I’m talking about BBC Radio Test Match Special Commentary . . . I’ve done them since 1966,” Cozier noted.
“So when England came here last year for the One Day matches, they contacted me and asked me to do them. Well of course I wasn’t doing any radio or television so I said yes fine and I did them. They asked me again last October if I could do the Test series here and I did it. Those people are not going to want somebody just because he is old and half-blind . . . it’s just ridiculous.”
Cozier is the second commentator to disapprove of comments made by Cameron, following the reaction by Michael Holding to reports that he had not been asked to do commentary because he was busy working with the UK based company SKY.
Holding disputed those facts, saying he had not been asked by the WICB to do any television commentary since 2012.