West Indies Twenty20 captain Darren Sammy and other members of the team have been accused by the International Cricket Council (ICC) of bringing the recently concluded ICC Twenty20 World Cup in India into disrepute.
So dim a view has the ICC taken of this conduct following West Indies’ defeat of England in the final, that cricket’s governing body said today it had even considered taking punitive action against the offending West Indian players.
In a speech on the podium in Kolkata, prior to accepting the trophy, Sammy rebuked the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) in a highly politicised speech in which he thanked his team-mates, the team’s supporters and the heads of CARICOM – in particular Dr Keith Mitchell, the Prime Minister of Grenada – for their support. However, Sammy charged that no one from the board had been in touch with the team in spite of their triumph. The board subsequently denied Sammy’s allegation while indicating it had indeed sent off congratulatory texts to both women and men’s teams.
“People were wondering whether we would play this tournament,” Sammy said during the live TV broadcast. “We had a lot of issues, we felt disrespected by our board … I’m yet to hear from [them]. That is very disappointing.”
Sammy’s anti-WICB stance was echoed by teammate Dwayne Bravo, captain of the ill-fated 2014 aborted tour of India, who after the World Cup victory described the WICB to the Indian media as the “most unprofessional” board in the world. He also described board president Dave Cameron as “immature”, “small-minded” and “arrogant”.
However the ICC board, which met in Dubai yesterday, reserved its congratulations for the WICB, whose teams it said completed an “unprecedented treble” in also securing the Women’s World T20 and the Under-19 World Cup in Bangladesh that took place in February.
The ICC described the comments emanating from the players as “inappropriate, disrespectful and [bringing] the event into disrepute”. The ICC added that serious consideration had been given to levelling Code of Conduct charges against the players, which could have resulted in fines and/or bans.
“The board considered the behaviour of some of the West Indies players in the immediate aftermath of the final, and unanimously agreed that certain comments and actions were inappropriate, disrespectful and brought the event into disrepute,” the ICC said in its press release today.
“This was not acceptable conduct at ICC events played out on a world stage in front of millions of people around the globe.
“The board acknowledged an apology by the WICB but was disappointed to note that such behaviour had detracted from the success of what was otherwise a magnificent tournament and final,” the release added.
ICC chairman Shashank Manohar also singled out Marlon Samuels for criticism, following what it described as his disparaging remarks about England batsman Ben Stokes at the post-match media conference in Kolkata.
“The sport of cricket is proud of its unique spirit and this involves being gracious in victory as well as defeat and respectful at all times to the game, one’s opponents, the sponsors and the fans,” Manohar said.
Though not commenting on calls made by the CARICOM Prime Ministerial Sub-Committee on Cricket for the dissolution of the WICB, the ICC also made an announcement that could act as a warning to CARICOM in its ongoing tussle with the WICB.
The ICC has suspended the membership of the Cricket Association of Nepal (CAN) in light of a court case involving the association and an Ad hoc Committee established by the Nepalese National Sports Council to run cricket in the country.
This is in breach of Article 2.9 of the ICC’s Articles of Association, which prohibits government interference and requires free and fair elections of officials to run cricket.
The suspension means that CAN will not be entitled to receive any ICC funding. However, the Board, in its absolute discretion and considering that the players should not suffer due to this suspension, decided that the Nepal cricket teams would be able to continue to feature in ICC events.
The media release noted that ICC management would now work with the Nepalese cricket community, and other stakeholders, in order to assist with the development of a sustainable governance and administration structure for cricket in Nepal.
The Board maintained that it doesn’t accept government interference in the affairs of its members as it wants all its members to work independently with the best intentions of promoting and developing the game in their respective territories in accordance with the ICC’s objectives and strategy.
It added that until such time as the CAN became free of government interference and was properly structured to begin exploiting the tremendous cricket talent and opportunities that exist in Nepal, the membership of CAN would remain suspended.