Cricket confusion continues
-GCB, Anthony present different T20 teams to WICB
The confusion that has gripped local cricket over the last year with the government battling the Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) for control of the game reached dizzying heights again yesterday with both naming separate teams for next year’s Caribbean T20 tournament.
However, West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) spokesman, Imran Khan told Stabroek Sport yesterday that the WICB will ignore the team from the Guyana Government and proceed with that submitted by the GCB. He reiterated that the WICB did not make any request of Government to submit a team.
Ten players can feel assured that they will be playing for Guyana regardless of which side wins the struggle as they are on both lists. Eight other players will have to hitch their fortunes to one of the two sides.
On Tuesday, the WICB announced that it had received a 14-man team from the GCB and had accepted it. The GCB had sprung out of a hiatus by declaring that the court injunctions sought by the government against its functioning had been discharged. The WICB has maintained its recognition of the GCB over the last year and has rebuffed the Guyana Government’s move to replace it with an interim management body headed by former West Indies captain Clive Lloyd.
Yesterday, Sport Minister Dr Frank Anthony disclosed that a separate team was dispatched on Wednesday via letter to WICB President Julian Hunte. Anthony had been unavailable to Stabroek Sport all week to answer questions on the selection of the team. However, yesterday’s edition of the Guyana Chronicle carried a letter that Anthony sent to Hunte on his version of the team. Anthony did not make this letter available to Stabroek Sport.
In the letter, Anthony said that the team was selected by the “last legally-constituted Senior Selection Panel” of the GCB comprising Claude Raphael, Hubern Evans and Rabindranauth Seeram. By contrast, the GCB’s team was picked by “Senior Selectors of the GCB” namely, Reyon Griffith, Nazimul Drepaul and Adrian Amsterdam.
Anthony asserted in the letter to Hunte that the GCB is not properly constituted since most of its players had resigned since March 22. The Minister added that an injunction remains in force preventing any member of the board from performing their duties as members of the GCB.
Said Anthony: “I have attached a copy of the Court order of 9th May that effectively restores the injunctions that had been earlier discharged. The lawyers have advised that if any of the named members of the former Guyana Cricket Board violate the Court order they will be in contempt of Court. I am sure that a law-abiding organization like the WICB would not encourage a breach of the law”.
In light of this, Anthony said that the GCB could not act as the agent of the WICB until the court matters are resolved and the GCB is properly constituted. “We would therefore like to encourage the WICB to appoint an agent to act on your behalf during this period”, Anthony said. The WICB has already rejected this proposal saying that they only recognize the GCB.
Anthony then went on to say that Guyana’s participation in the CT20 was a national concern and urged the WICB to permit its team to participate.
Anthony’s team is captained by star batsman Ramnaresh Sarwan with Veerasammy Permaul as the vice captain. The GCB team is captained by Permaul with Christopher Barnwell as the vice captain. The other seven players appearing on both lists are Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Narsingh Deonarine, Royston Crandon, Jonathan Foo, Devindra Bishoo, Derwin Christian and Ransford Beaton.
The GCB list names four other players: Trevon Griffith, Steven Jacobs, Leon Johnson and Rajiv Ivan. Anthony’s list names four other players: Delon Heyliger, Richard Ramdin, Gajanand Singh and Assad Fudadin.
While the Sport Ministry was exchanging words with the WICB on the legality of the GCB, the GCB-selected team is in training.
Yesterday, Stabroek Sport found the team in training at the Everest Cricket Ground, where Manager Alvin Johnson said their focus is not on the controversy.
“As it is now we are not focusing on the controversy but this is the squad that was handed to me as the manager of the team and we’re encamped on the 5th and we started our preparation yesterday (Thursday)”.
Johnson said apart from some issues with transportation, practice sessions are going as planned. “As I said we are not focusing on the controversy, the administrators who are involved and embroiled in that have to deal with it, we are dealing with the cricket as it is”.
Asked whether talk of the National Stadium at Providence being available to the GCB for training was true, Johnson said yes.
“I learnt yesterday that the Stadium has been made available to us as from tomorrow (today). So tomorrow we should be at the stadium all day and we continue there on Monday with Sunday being a day off”.
It is unclear whether the Sport Ministry will permit this.
Some of the players spoken to by Stabroek Sport said that they were concerned about the dispute and that it would be difficult for them to concentrate on the field. Others said while the situation was unfortunate, that was not their focus. One player said the circumstances under which they were going to play this time around were not ideal but at least they are still getting to play cricket at least at the Regional level. Because of the controversy over the GCB, the WICB pulled international matches from Guyana last year.
Despite assertions by Sport Minister Anthony that the injunctions are still in force, there are no moves yet to charge anyone at the GCB with contempt of court.
Anthony’s letter to Hunte also addressed moves for a new constitution for the GCB. Anthony had forwarded proposals to Hunte who in turn had pointed out areas that the WICB was not in agreement with. Anthony said that the bill for the new GCB constitution would be tabled on December 17 and that passage should be concluded before the end of December and followed by elections for a new GCB. He said he looked forward to meeting Hunte under the auspices of Barbadian Prime Minister Freundel Stuart and Caricom to resolve the problem.
The controversy arose after the government derecognized the GCB last December and appointed a committee headed by Lloyd. Prior to that move the GCB had been wracked by financial and other controversies for a number of years, culminating in an acid attack on one of its members who had spoken out about a series of irregularities.
The Caribbean Twenty20 tournament starts from January 6 to 21st.