Two glaring errors on and off the field in the past few days would surely have grabbed the attention of the rebranded Cricket West Indies (CWI).
And knowing how fickle the hierarchy can be in reacting to constructive criticism, I am politely extending an invitation to ebullient president Wycliffe “Dave” Cameron to link with me on Mid Wicket, The Real Cricket Show, on Tuesday night to discuss frank matters pertaining to CWI, especially its public relations.
Dave, a long stopper is needed for your Media releases.
Being critical of some aspects of the public relations of CWI, formerly known as the West Indies Cricket Board, is nothing new. But after the pretty rebranding just one month ago with an official announcement on the change of name, one is still left to wonder if the sloppy work, which comes from Factory Road in St. John’s, Antigua is not synonymous with the way both the men’s and women’s teams are performing at the international level.
In a May 31 CWI release under the headline: Cricket West Indies rebrands with new website & celebrates 91 years”, the following was stated:
“Cricket West Indies will begin its 91st year today, with a new name and website as part of a comprehensive rebranding programme. From today the West Indies Cricket Board will be renamed Cricket West Indies and formally recognise all representative teams as the WINDIES.
“CEO Johnny Grave, commented: “Cricket West Indies better reflects how the organisation operates, as there are many different stakeholders who we work in partnership with, under the unifying aim of improving cricket at all levels within the region. We plan to work even more closely with them over the next few years and consultation will begin immediately as we develop a new strategic plan for 2018-2023.”
President Dave Cameron added: “Whilst the Board of Directors has an important role, we feel that the new name is more inclusive and appropriate, as we want to recognise the valuable role that our players, territorial boards, staff, supporters, governments, coaches, match officials and volunteers play in the organisation. For Cricket West Indies to operate effectively and efficiently we need all of our stakeholders to work in partnership and the name change is an important first step in our strategy.”
The release further stated: “The WINDIES name has long been associated with the representative teams within International cricket and this new brand will be used on all team playing shirts along with a new website focused on providing all WINDIES supporters more user-friendly information including live scores, team updates, videos and player information.
“The new website is www.cricketwestindies.org and the new match centre will launch on www.windiescricket.com ahead of the first International T20 against Afghanistan on Friday, June 2”.
Now, while one accepts that mistakes can be detected and corrected, the manner in which the latter is executed shows gross disrespect for the media, who stunningly did not get a mention in Cameron’s talk about the new name.
Here is another example of poor public relations. On Tuesday, June 27, a CWI release at 6:55 p.m. stated: Windies squad for 3rd, 4th and 5th ODIs of Seagrams Royal Stag Mega Cricket Cup (with photos), stated “the selection Panel of Cricket West Indies today named the Windies 13-man squad for third, fourth and fifth matches of the ODI Series against India.
“The selection panel named two newcomers, They are Kyle Hope, a 28-year-old top-order batsman and brother of Shai Hope; and Sunil Ambris, a 24-year-old wicket-keeper/batsman.”
While being a member of the CBC Sports Express commentary team for the second semi-final match in the Sagicor General Twenty20 Championship between Crane Resort St. Catherine and Home & Hardware Supplies Maple under lights at Kensington Oval, the announcement of the Windies team was made by commentator Barry Wilkinson.
Barbadian Jonathan Carter was immediately recognised as one of the players dropped and based on privileged information I had received from an informed source earlier in the day, I blurted that Kieran Powell was the other without seeing the squad.
Yet, a check of the release showed that the name of Kieran Powell was in the squad, along with the unrelated Rovman Powell.
I then identified fast bowler Kesrick Williams as the other player missing from the squad for the first two matches in Trinidad & Tobago. Even so, there was a feeling of uneasiness because my source had said emphatically that Carter and Kieran Powell had been dropped.
Media houses including Barbados TODAY and the world-renowned ESPNcricinfo carried the story with both Powells included.
Dramatically, however, in a “re-send” (corrected squad list) shortly after 7 o’ clock on Wednesday morning, Kieran Powell’s name was omitted and replaced by Williams of St. Vincent & the Grenadines without any explanation, apart from a note which read: Dear Editors/Correspondents: “Please see corrected Media Release issued by Cricket West Indies”.
Not to have apologised for the error and furthermore point it out showed the pompous nature of CWI.
Cricinfo placed a note, which read: *15.40 GMT The story has been updated to reflect Kesrick Williams’ presence in the squad, per a WICB media release pointing out a correction in the squad they had sent out.
The other boo-boo related to the toss and naming of the West Indies Women’s team for their first match against defending champions Australia in the ICC World Cup in England on Monday.
I felt sorry on two counts for West Indies captain Stafanie Taylor, who won the toss. She had a slip of the tongue by first saying that her team would bat and quickly changed it to bowl. In addition, she was not able to remember all of the names of the starting X1. At the same time, however, I believe the match referee was not tough enough in rejecting Australia’s challenge about the mistake.
In reporting, Cricinfo stated: 10 a.m. Toss: West Indies have opted bowl BAT. Looks like there is some confusion over what Stafanie Taylor said at the toss. It appears she said, “bat” and then changed it to “bowl”. Was it too late? The ICC website and Australia Women Twitter say West Indies are batting now. Phew! Time for the XIs:
“What drama! Taylor didn’t even remember her XI. West Indies confused? Remember, this is a replay of the 2013 final. The two sides have played out some memorable games in the past, most-recently that famous World T20 final in Kolkata last year”.
There are lessons to be learnt. Always write down the names of the team or the players who have been omitted.
The bottom line is that CWI must pay close attention to its public relations.
Keith Holder is a veteran, award-winning freelance sports journalist, who has been covering local, regional and international cricket since 1980 as a writer and commentator. He has compiled statistics on the Barbados Cricket Association (BCA) Division 1 (now Elite) championship for three-and-a-half decades and is responsible for editing the BCA website (www.bcacricket.org). Holder is also the host of theCricketTalk Show, Mid Wicket, on the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation 100.7 FM on Tuesday nights. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org