PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad – Another Cricket West Indies (CWI) director has made it clear he will not support former president Dave Cameron in his bid to become the next chairman of the International Cricket Council (ICC), and he does not expect the Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board (TTCB) that he leads will either.
In fact, Azim Bassarath has suggested that Cameron’s bid is laughable.
“I don’t know how to react to this but the fact that Mr Cameron is seeking nomination for ICC chairman, I don’t think anybody in the Caribbean will take that serious,” he said on Isports on i95.5FM in his homeland.
His comment came in response to a question from host Andre Baptiste, who said others in the studio were laughing at the idea of Cameron seeking to lead cricket’s world governing body.
“I am also laughing,” Bassarath said as he expressed surprise at the efforts of the former CWI boss who found himself at the centre of controversy at several points during his two terms at the helm of the cricketing organisation.
Cameron confirmed a week ago, on Nationwide Sports radio show in his native Jamaica, that he would be asking for CWI’s nomination, as he seeks the support of at least two full members of the ICC in his bid to succeed Shashank Manohar.
Speaking on the same radio show on Monday, CWI vice-president Dr Kishore Shallow made it clear that Cameron would not be getting his support.
But two days later, on the Mason and Guest sports talk show, Barbados Cricket Association president Conde Riley urged CWI to support Cameron’s effort, saying that the governing body of cricket in the region needed to support its own.
Bassarath said he was not surprised that Riley, a longtime supporter of Cameron who lost the presidency to Ricky Skerritt in the March 2019 elections, would be batting for the Jamaican in this matter.
“Maybe he will ask Cricket West Indies to support Mr Cameron but I have my views also – that I will not support it – and I don’t think the Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board will support Mr Cameron, even in his nomination in moving forward,” the TTCB president said.
Bassarath also suggested that Riley, whom he referred to as his friend and a man who was passionate about cricket, was still stuck in the past and “has not as yet gotten over the fact that Dave Cameron is not president of Cricket West Indies anymore”.
That comment was in relation to Riley’s call for West Indies coach Phil Simmons to be sacked for leaving isolation at Old Trafford in Manchester, where the regional squad is preparing for their three-Test series against England. Simmons left the bio-secure bubble to attend his father-in-law’s funeral last Friday.
The BCA boss had written a letter to board members, quoted by ESPN Cricinfo, in which he called for the Trinidadian’s “immediate removal as head coach”.
Skerrit has since defended Simmons, who had received permission to leave the bio-secure environment, saying that he still has the full backing of CWI, “no matter what has been said”. The CWI president also contended that the matter of coach Simmons’ exiting and returning to Old Trafford “should never have been controversial in any way”.
Bassarath said Riley’s letter was “a bit harsh”.
“I think he should have waited until he received more information before he sent the letter…. I don’t think that Conde would have done a letter like that calling for the firing of Phil Simmons had he known the medical team had given him the necessary approval to attend the funeral,” he said.
He added that Riley had to realize that “the election is over and we must work together as a team for the benefit of West Indies cricket”.
“I hope that Conde is going to realize that the bickering and the fighting among directors will cease and let us move on with the cricket. The cricket is more important than any one of us and we have to do whatever has to be done for the benefit of the young men and women in the Caribbean who are involved and who are playing cricket professionally, and try to take the cricket across the Caribbean on an upward mobility,” he added.
However, Bassarath said Riley’s misstep was not enough for him to step down, adding that the Barbadian cricket administrator still had a lot to offer cricket in his country and in the region.
“I will maybe have a word with him for us to get together, let us work towards the cricket and focus on the cricket alone and leave the politics out at this stage,” he said.
However, CWI was subsequently chided by the Barbados Cricket Association after it was discovered that Simmons had been given permission but the other directors had not been notified. CWI was accused of indifferent communication with Riley subsequently indicating that he would not have made the call for Simmons’ removal had CWI communicated what had transpired and the permission which Simmons had received. (CMC)
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