Cricket legend and president of the Barbados Cricket Association (BCA) Joel Garner, has blasted regional governments for their interference in the management of West Indies cricket.
Garner launched this broadside against West Indian political leaders last night while speaking at the 2016 BCA quarterly meeting at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, two Mile Hill, St Michael.
In his brief address the former West Indies pacer told an audience that included cricket legends such as Sir Garfield Sobers, Sir Everton Weekes, Sir Wesley Hall and Desmond Haynes that the Prime Ministerial Sub-Committee on Cricket had written to the International Cricket Council and the Board of Control for Cricket in India with details on the current impasse between the West Indies Cricket Board and the players.
While condemning the governments for tampering with West Indies cricket, Garner questioned the level of monetary contributions the same governments in the region were making to the development of cricket across the Caribbean.
Garner pointed out that cricket in the region needed financial assistance from the governments if it was to capture the youth from as early as the Kiddies programme.
Garner was speaking in the wake of recommendations from the Sub-Committee on Cricket Governance that the WICB be disbanded and an interim committee installed to run the affairs of cricket in the region. The Sub-Committee was set up last year following an agreement at a meeting between the WICB and the Caricom Cricket Governance Sub-committee, the latter comprising prime ministers Gaston Browne of Antigua & Barbuda, Ralph Gonsalves of St Vincent & the Grenadines, and Grenada’s Dr Keith Mitchell.
The WICB has rejected calls for its dissolution, while promising to implement recommendations for its restructuring.
The WICB, especially president Dave Cameron, has come in for criticism within recent times from senior West Indies players, including Chris Gayle, Darren Sammy, Kieron Pollard and Dwayne Bravo. Bravo during the week labeled the WICB the “most unprofessional board in the world” and Cameron as “small-minded”, “immature” and “arrogant”. He also said the management of regional cricket was in the wrong hands.
Cameron, who has overseen the introduction of the Caribbean Premier League, the Professional Cricket League and the spread of remuneration to a greater number of regional cricketers, has called on the international players who have been playing in lucrative Twenty20 leagues around the world, and with whom he has been at loggerheads, for greater compromise.
“We only have 52 weeks in a year. If you want to play Big Bash, Ram Slam and all those T20 tournaments, then we also need you to bring back the information and the experience to our players back home and also our sponsors who are sponsoring our tournaments who want to have our stars back home. You can’t want to play everywhere, the WICB has to call on your services either domestic or international, but then you want the WICB to pay you a nice, big, fat retainer.”
But West Indies cricket run the risk of being derailed by the International Cricket Council (ICC) as a result of political interference.
Last year following a politically appointed interim committee to take control of Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC), the ICC warned in no uncertain terms that Sri Lanka was perilously close to being suspended from the its membership.
ICC’s chief executive David Richardson detailed the repercussions Sri Lanka would face if politicians started interfering with the autonomy of the SLC.
In mail headlined “Apparent appointment of interim committee to run Sri Lanka Cricket”, Richardson made it clear that Sri Lanka would face suspension from ICC if the government arbitrarily took steps to appoint an interim committee without any proven misdeeds by the elected SLC office bearers.
“I note from reports in the media of today’s date that the government of Sri Lanka intends to form an interim committee to run the cricketing affairs of Sri Lanka Cricket.
“Whilst we have no further or substantive information about the accuracy or otherwise of these media reports, I just wanted to flag with you the risk that such action could put Sri Lanka Cricket in breach of Article 2.9(B) of ICC’s Articles of Association which states as follows: ‘Where a government interferes in the administration of cricket by a Member, including but not limited to interference in operational matters, the selection and management of teams, the appointment of coaches or support personnel, the Executive Board shall have the power to suspend or refuse to recognize that Member…’.”
Last night former Prime Minister Owen Arthur who also addressed the BCA’s quarterly meeting, said the WICB had to recognize that governments had a role to play in their own jurisdictions and there was a need to find common ground.
“It is not very difficult to see how or why all of the circumstances surrounding the governance of the development of West Indies cricket needs to be substantially re-ordered and improved to restore the Caribbean game to its former glory within the family of cricketing nations.
“Conflict and confusion at all levels and between all entities however seem to be the chief and only indigenous stroke that is being played in relation to West Indies cricket. I have no interest in adding to the controversies either.
“The WICB should recognise that governments have a role to play in their jurisdictions without which the game at the regional level will wither on the vine. Finding common ground on development matters is the place where the two set of entities need to locate their efforts and energies,” he said. (NC)