Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by the author(s) do not represent the official position of Barbados TODAY.
By Ray Ford
The Caribbean needs to make up its mind. Or have our minds been made up for us? Because on one hand we say that cricket in the Caribbean like sugar, no longer matters. But then on the other hand, with our unceremonious exit from even the preliminaries of the current ICC T20 World Cup – that was before the games actually began, the avalanche of commentaries and editorials across the region are suggesting that like sugar, West Indies cricket does matter. But was it the stinging commentaries from within? Or was it that stinging commentary from well beneath our feet – the one from the former Australian captain Ricky Ponting that stung most of all?
We West Indians can take a family quarrel. And we seem to love doing so. Because we have been engaged in one over our cricket for the last 27 years. But for our cricket to be called ‘a disgrace’ by an outsider, even if we were down for the count, that should have cleared the cobwebs out. So where do we go from here? Because we cannot remain on our backs looking at twinkle stars from our nadir.
Other emergencies can serve as a guide. When lacerated, the first thing we laymen do, is to apply a tourniquet to stop the bleeding. We cannot now afford to lose any more blood. We cannot therefore allow our souls, to be bamboozled anymore. Everybody except our principals knows that our cricket is in bad shape. And that did not just land on us like Plymouth Rock. But we have allowed ourselves to be pacified if not hoodwinked, by sweet-talking soothsayers. From here on out, Caribbean people should rise-up in unison and say, ‘no more’!
Anarchy now, will not help. But neither will chicanery. And so, we should take CWI’s proposed soul-searching, with a grain of salt, or more advisably, not take it at all. Because which physician can heal himself?
What West Indies cricket needs at this very moment is credibility. Because, it now has none. Over time, we have become unmoored – loosed by poor decisions regarding critical staffing positions, and allowing our anointed prima donnas to dictate.
This call to arms should levitate above minutia. But where did Mr. Monty Desai come from? And when since we started to augur for our international cricket fixtures to be used as send-off fete matches? Slides pick-up speed, little by little. And it serves us right. Because we allowed ourselves to be duped by officiousness, and by English well-spoken. All this while our results became even more shocking. Until now in the eyes of many, we’ve hit rock-bottom.
But this is a dangerous time for us. And like an accident, some will come to aid the injured. But others will show-up like at Kendal, to rifle our pockets.
Who among us wants to go it alone? And who among us considers West Indies cricket and our glorious history, some accidental occurrence that can no longer survive? We must banish that thinking, rope-off the scene of the calamity and not allow the pocket riflers to add more insult to our injury.
West Indies cricket needs people who think that it can be saved, see the worth in saving it, and willing to roll-up their sleeves to save it. It doesn’t need those who after they have gained bountifully from it, now coming to tell us that it’s worth more dismembered than kept whole. We should run those more keen to pull the plug, than to give the patient oxygen.
We have some good directors who want to see West Indies cricket do well. And others more interested in parochial representation, and installing their man in Washington.
The good directors now need good direction. And the not so good ones need to be properly led. But too many wrong prongs have been taken, at critical junctures in the road. And if we pick only from the same barrel to lead us, the odds will be against us.
Somehow, we must find people who look at resuscitating West Indies cricket, as service to country and not a job. And we need a leader who is passionate but not partial; wise and considering, but not paralyzed by inertia; has a clear head and not mired in gobbledygook speech.
Later yes. But not now. Because those from whom the self-serving governing laws say we must choose from, are either compromised or complicit in our demise. Some, by having gone along with the program, are now damaged goods.
We must re-start with a new vision – doing new things in different ways. We must not pour old wine in new casks. West Indies cricket leadership more than anything else, needs at this time, an outsider to steer it.
Ray Ford is a West Indies stakeholder, running to bring back joy to West Indies cricket supporters.