When it was stated that Sir Shridath Ramphal our esteemed international statesman had been identified to oversee the cricket mediation process, I felt that at last we would have a resolution to this seemingly unending conflict. However, when he pronounced that the matter would be resolved by August 31, 2009, (ie) within one month I was totally taken aback and felt that Sir Shridath must be totally unaware of the magnitude of the task he had undertaken.
Evidently he wasn’t cognisant of the deep levels of distrust and disrespect that existed amongst the main players – the WICB, WIPA and the players and the fact that there could be no quick fix solution to this problem.
I gathered (from what I have been reading) it was expected that those players who withdrew their services would have been selected for the upcoming Champions Trophy and all would be well. This is so far from reality that come next year, or even sooner, the ugly head of conflict would rise again unless the main issues are addressed. The main cause of the continuing conflict rests with the existing MOU which effectively relegates the WICB to a subordinate role in the process of administering WI cricket, with WIPA in control and the players and WIPA showing an unprecedented level of disrespect for the authority of the WICB. As long as this MOU exists there can be no ending to the conflict, for the constitution of the WICB gives authority to the board only to administer WI cricket. You can’t have two entities running cricket in the WI simultaneously. Therefore a new document must be drafted and accepted by both parties as the first step towards resolving the conflict. The document should be based on mutual respect, fairness and performance-related earnings for the players, and should be designed to suit their respective roles in the process of West Indies cricket development.
In the meanwhile the current players selected to represent WI must be given the respect and support required of any representative WI team since they answered the call at short notice, unexpectedly and under-prepared. They are not the cause of the current problem, for even with the ‘stars’ our ranking and performance were pretty much the same. We should therefore all pray and hope that out of this effort will emerge a new cadre of committed, responsible players who will at least endeavour to be the best they possibly can given their skill levels, whilst exhibiting the attitudes, fitness levels, discipline, fortitude and ultimately performance levels that have been missing over the years despite the presence of our so called ‘stars.’
This could bring the dawning of a new era of hope and success to our most cherished and beloved expectations.