Not only will the new Cricket West Indies (CWI) management be putting cricket first, but it will be linking its administrative success to the on-field success of the West Indies team.
Speaking to Barbados TODAY at Hilton Barbados yesterday, newly elected CWI vice-president Dr Kishore Shallow said a major achievement during the tenure in office of CWI president Ricky Skerritt and himself would be an improvement in the team’s performances resulting in movement up the international rankings in all formats of the game.
“We indicated prior to the elections that cricket was our first and paramount objective and we meant that. So a highlight for us to measure our time in office will be our team moving up the rankings on the ICC table in all formats. What we will do for our players to achieve that goal is to provide an enabling environment for them to perform,” Shallow said.
The vice-president said it was still early days yet, but an achievement so far had been winning the confidence of the staff, and especially getting the director of cricket Jimmy Adams, chief executive officer Johnny Grave and commercial and marketing director Dominic Warne to buy into the vision that he and Skerritt had presented.
“Dominic has been coordinating these press conferences, hosted by the board. I don’t know if any press conference of Cricket West Indies has been presented to the public like this in the past. In my view this is improvement already in terms of marketing our image and our brand regionally and internationally,” Shallow said.
The youthful vice-president said the support from regional stakeholders had been quite positive so far.
“Everyone is aware we have already made a few changes which is an indication that we have started working immediately. Ricky has been travelling throughout the region, we have spent some time at the secretariat as well and the staff there has been more than cooperative. So there has been a positive response on all fronts,” Shallow said.
Asked about any discussions with the CARICOM Prime Ministers’ Sub-Committee on Cricket, Shallow said none had occurred as yet. But he added a meeting would take place with the committee in due course. He also indicated that meetings with other stakeholders, including the territorial boards, would also take place.
Shallow stated that Skerritt had met with the West Indies Players Association (WIPA) in Jamaica last week, and within a few days would update the entire board on that particular meeting.
When queried about changes to CWI’s sub-committees, Shallow stated that all appointments to these sub- committees would be completed by June at the next board meeting.
Shallow also said that he believed that West Indies’ chances of winning the imminent ICC World Cup in England were rather strong.
“I think we have a very strong possibility of winning the World Cup. The world will see a group of dynamic players exposing their skills. We have a powerhouse in Chris Gayle opening the batting and we all know what he is capable of doing. Captain Jason Holder is the leading all-rounder in the world currently. Cricket is a game of glorious uncertainties and anything can happen on the day. Our players are very confident. I spoke with coach (Floyd) Reifer and he told me the training camp has been fantastic. So I think our chances are as good as any team taking part in the competition and I know our players will play to their fullest in an effort to bring home the silverware,” Shallow assured
Meanwhile, speaking to SportsMax Zone, Skerritt said CWI was not looking to burn bridges with discarded cricket officials despite the several quick changes which he and Shallow had taken since coming to office.
Interim coach Richard Pybus, West Indies assistant coach Vasbert Drakes and the entire Courtney Browne-led selection panel were among the casualties when the new board began to enforce its mandate last month.
Some of the parties have, however, taken exception to their dismissals and threatened legal action against CWI. While Skerritt insisted he had not yet been briefed on the legal situation, he was quick to point out that CWI was not interested in alienating the recently dismissed officials and that other positions could be open to them in the future.
“What I would say is that each situation has been handled on its own merit and there is no intention to make things more difficult for any past players than it has it to be,” Skerritt said.
“Whatever the beliefs, we are about cricket. We are about helping players, we are about helping past players. We are about inclusiveness and we want past players involved in developing cricket and providing services of different kinds,” he added.
“If somebody is not used now as a selector it doesn’t mean they can’t be used later as something else. If somebody is not used as a coach it doesn’t mean they can’t be used later as some other kind of professional in cricket. We are not trying to burn any bridges with anybody.”