Vice-president of the Barbados Cricket Association Calvin Hope is batting for cricketing territories to be compensated for home-reared players who play cricket for other countries. This is similar to what occurs in football, which he pointed out would break new ground for the International Cricket Council.
Hope also believes that the conversation should be put on the table to commercialize the game at the national level through Cricket West Indies and similar to what is done in T20 franchises such as the India Premier League.
In the past several players who have benefited from their home board’s financial investment in them at the youth level, have switched allegiances at adulthood based on their parentage. Some administrators believe the home countries should be compensated by the countries who subsequently engage these players’ services.
“I believe that the system should operate like how it operates in football where if you want my player you buy him. But that is breaking new grounds in cricket and a massive undertaking for the International Cricket Council but I think there is a case for it,” Hope said.
While he would like to see such a move being discussed and possibly implemented, Hope, an attorney-at-law, quickly pointed out that there are no rules which govern or states that countries such as England who have capitalized on the talent of Caribbean cricketers are entitled to pay.
He said that while there is room for discussion on the topic, as it stands these players are entitled to play for whomever they so desire.
“A player can choose to go where they want and I don’t know why people get so [concerned] about Jofra Archer and Jacob Bethell. They are two wonderful players and if the people chose to exploit an alternative that is available to them that is their decision. If the circumstances were different for Gordon Greenidge and other West Indians who went to England from a very young age and grew up there and the circumstances were different in terms of the earning power and the commerce of cricket today, who knows. So, it is really driven by a sense of the circumstances of today’s world.
“It would have been good if Barbados had all its talent available to it and any country would be glad to have all its talent available to it. But the positive side of that demonstrates that Barbados for its small size is still highly recognized for producing highly talented cricketers. That is the positive side of that because if England could be looking around with all the millions of people and money they have to seek after our talent, it tells me that we are doing something right and the legacy of Barbados cricket lives on,” Hope explained.
He added: “What is incumbent on us as administrators is to make sure that we have a system that continues to produce the best world-class talent. We owe it to the game to produce the best talent in all categories across the board and to make sure Barbados is competitive in cricket at all levels.”
In the India Premier League, a percentage (one-third) of the salary paid to West Indies cricketers who participate in those franchises is split between the governing body, their member associations and clubs. But as it stands only India and Pakistan leagues pay and credit to former West Indies President Dave Cameron for fighting earnestly and making this a reality.
Former England cricketer Roland Butcher who is Barbadian by birth and knows better than most what it is like to play for two countries doesn’t believe compensation will happen because of several factors that must be taken into consideration.
“I don’t think so because there is no precedent. You had people who left South Africa and played for Australia and South Africa were not compensated. A lot of people who played for England who are South Africans like Jonathan Trott so I don’t think that is going to happen. There is a window created for the India Premier League (IPL) which means that when the IPL is on most teams don’t play to allow the IPL to have the players so that is why that happens because it is compensation to the boards for not having international tournaments. So, that is why the IPL is different because it has a window in the calendar.
“The other thing is that because I grew up in Barbados and I left Barbados at age 13 to go to England and I play for England. How can Barbados be compensated because I played cricket in Barbados, I played in England. In the case of the others, Bethel and Archer, they were born in Barbados but they also have passports from other countries so that they could go into those countries, not as overseas players but as local players and play for England,” Butcher said.
He noted that the best option would be to get other franchises on board. “The best thing is for them to get the other T20 franchises to do that because really the IPL’s is really compensation to the territorial board and then it trickles down. When West Indies players are playing IPL, a lot of the time West Indies players are not playing international cricket. So, there is a bit of compensation by a percentage of the players’ fees.”