It seems Cricket West Indies (CWI) president Dave Cameron will not be copping a break from Grenada’s Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell anytime soon.
Just days after West Indies’ 381-run demolition of England at Kensington Oval within four days, Mitchell, has poured cold water on the West Indies win, warning once again that unless there is a change in the current administration of CWI, instances like the weekend victory over England in the opening Test will remain one-off occurrences.
The veteran leader who has been one of Cameron’s staunchest critics over the past three or more years argued that sustained success on the field could only be achieved by proper leadership and management, and a governance system “that promotes the interests of the players”.
“We have seen West Indies perform well in a particular game in the past but as one who understands the game well, I know you cannot make a final judgement on the performance of a team by one game,” Mitchell said.
“As they say in areas of intellectual activity, maybe that’s a one-off. I don’t like one-off. I like it to be clear there’s a permanent change in attitude.”
He added: “As I have said over and over, unless the administration changes, I do not think we will see the kind of performance we need to.”
Mitchell is a former chairman of CARICOM’s Prime Ministerial subcommittee on cricket and has continued to lobby for governance reform in West Indies cricket.
During his tenure, he found himself at odds with the current Cameron-led administration when he endorsed the CARICOM-commission Governance Report, which among other recommendations, called for the “immediate dissolution” of the current board and the appointment of an interim board “whose structure and composition will be radically different from the now proven, obsolete governance framework.”
CWI dismissed the recommendation as “impractical” and an “unnecessary and intrusive demand”.
Mitchell agreed while there was an abundance of talent in the region, West Indies were suffering from a lack of leadership.
“I always believe we have the talent in the region; I never think we are short of talent,” he pointed out.
“Maybe we will not see a Gary Sobers or Brian Lara emerging, but we have the talent to ensure that we can extract the maximum performance, but it requires the leadership, management and governance system that promotes the interests of the players and the unity of the region as a whole.
“I think that is the fundamental thing that is lacking and I hope we see a change in that regard.”
Cameron has copped criticisms from Mitchell and others despite greater financial reward being obtained by a greater number of players under his tenure and more age-group cricket being played around the region. CWI has also been part of the Caribbean Premier League introduction in the region, as well as the regional Professional Cricket League
Meanwhille, West Indies face England in the second Test of the three-match series starting on Thursday in Antigua with speedster Shannon Gabriel and wicketkeeper Shane Dowrich having recovered from minor injuries picked up in the opening Test.
Gabriel limped out of the fourth day’s play at Kensington Oval last weekend with a bruised toe while Dowrich also sat out proceedings with a sore back.
West Indies team manager, Rawl Lewis, confirmed today there were no major injuries in the squad as they chased a historic series win.
“[There are] no worries at all. There will always be little niggles after a hard Test match but they are all ready to go,” Lewis said.
He added: “We practised from 2 pm to 5 pm and everyone was there nice and healthy and strong and looking pretty good.”
Gabriel had little impact in the opening Test claiming just two wickets but worked up a fair turn of pace in the second innings before having to go off after lunch.
Dowrich, meanwhile, batted outstandingly in the second innings to finish unbeaten on 116 but was replaced by Shai Hope behind the stumps for the entire fourth day.
West Indies named an unchanged squad for the upcoming Test but have added fast bowler Oshane Thomas as a 14th man, after the Jamaican acted as cover for fellow pacer Alzarri Joseph for the first Test in Bridgetown last weekend.