Windward Islands cricket administrator Julian Charles is firmly supportive of incumbent Dave Cameron being returned as president of Cricket West Indies (CWI) when elections are held in Jamaica later this month.
Charles, who is president of the St. Lucia National Cricket Association and a director of the Windward Islands Cricket Board of Control, said in a statement today that West Indies cricket was back on track and on a trajectory for positive growth. He said that after major decline in the sport since the 1990s, West Indies cricket was “heading in the right direction.”
Stressing that there was no urgent need to change the management of regional cricket at this stage, Charles highlighted a number of improvements that had occurred under Cameron’s watch. He cited the establishment of the regional franchise system – with more than 150 cricketers in regular training – as one of the reasons the regional sport was flourishing.
“Out of that pool, what we’ve seen emerging now are world class players … even more crucial is our bench strength is very strong … where our second team is highly successful against other second teams and may very well challenge even the first team of international sides, a situation which occurred when we dominated world cricket,” said Charles, who is also president of the Windward Islands Volcanoes franchise side.
The former first-class cricketer added: “On the back of winning three World Cups, CWI has conducted coaching programmes which have seen over 200 coaches qualified in the last three years who are absorbed into the system and are passing on their knowledge at various levels. Cricket pitches have improved across the region with a hands-on approach by the board’s appointed curator Mr. Kent Crafton from St. Lucia. Sponsors are coming in, team harmony and an enhanced environment are evident, and players are committed to representing the region to the best of their ability. To this end, several of them have moved significantly up the ICC rankings.”
Charles credited the disciplined application of the coaching staff and the collective leadership of Cricket West Indies, led by Cameron, for the turnaround in the fortunes of regional cricket.
“It’s a very stressful job being the president of Cricket West Indies. We all want the West Indies team to succeed … and I’ve seen Dave handle that stress very well. Calmness, maturity, a very democratic process, and he has done a very fine job,” noted Charles, a regional banker for more than three decades.
He disclosed that while directors sometimes expressed differing views within the boardroom of the regional body, Cameron’s approach has been to build consensus or at least a wide majority. “From that perspective, his democratic style of leadership is very evident,” observed Charles.
On the upcoming elections for a CWI president, Charles explained that the Windward Islands Cricket Board of Control had met and unanimously decided to support the Dave Cameron/Emmanuel Nanthan ticket prior to receiving a request to entertain a presentation from presidential challenger Ricky Skerritt. In fact, stated Charles, the Windward Islands board had already nominated the incumbents, which include its own president (Emmanuel Nanthan) whose performance they were well pleased with.
Charles comments come mere hours after the president of the Barbados Cricket Association (BCA) Conde Riley indicated that his board had already voted to support Cameron’s candidacy and this had rendered it pointless entertaining proposals from challengers Ricky Skerritt and Dr Kishore Shallow to the posts of CWI president and vice-president.
Riley said the BCA’s decision was based on the expansion of regional first-class cricket and the professionalism to the game which had occurred during Cameron’s tenure. Previously only about 15 cricketers playing on the international stage reaped significant benefits from regional cricket. Under Cameron’ leadership, Riley pointed out, each of the 15 cricketers in the six regional franchises were now paid a salary and were able to make a living from the game. Conde also noted that female cricketers, unlike what occurred previously, were now being paid salaries under retainer contracts.
It is understood that in addition to the Barbados and Windward Island Cricket Boards, Cameron’s bid for reelection is also being supported by the cricket boards in Jamaica and Guyana. Skerritt and Shallow’s bid is reportedly being supported by the cricket boards of the Leeward Islands and Trinidad and Tobago.