The West Indies Players Association (WIPA) has expressed concern over recent statements by incoming Chief Executive Officer of the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) Dr. Ernest Hilaire with respect to Chris Gayle and the West Indies captaincy.
In a press release issued yesterday, the organization stated that it viewed… “With utmost concern Dr. Hilaire’s comments pertaining to the captaincy of the West Indies cricket team and specifically as they regard Mr. Christopher Gayle.”
Dr. Hilaire recently told Cricinfo that while he felt a full strength team would be touring Australia later this year he was not sure whether Gayle would be the captain of that side.
Gayle and a number of key West Indies players are at odds with the WICB and have not played for the West Indies team against Bangladesh at home and the current Champions Trophy tournament.
They are however expected to return for the tour of Australia later this year after the two bodies WIPA and the WICB agreed to a six point plan by the regional governments (Caricom).
“It is for the selection committee to discuss and make a recommendation to the board,” Hilarie told Cricinfo.
“Chris has said in the recent past that he is not that interested in playing Test cricket anymore. I’m very open minded, and I am not sure what the selection committee is thinking. But I would have thought in light of recent reports it would be wise to ask him the meaning of his comments,” Hilaire added.
But the WIPA called the above statements “disturbing” and pointed out that Dr. Hilaire had not yet assumed the office of CEO but yet was making statements on one of the most important positions in the fabric of Caribbean life, the captaincy of the West Indies team.
“The WICB has announced that Dr. Hilaire’s effective date is October 1st 2009 but whether Dr. Hilaire was representing the views of the WICB (since it is the Board which approves and appoints the captain on the recommendation of the selectors) or whether Dr. Hilaire was articulating his personal views his comments, at this time, must be taken very seriously,” the release from WIPA stated.
Dr. Hilaire also expressed the desire to build a partnership with WIPA who, in the release, stated that they welcomed “those statements and commits to diligently executing its role in ensuring that the partnership is genuine, sustainable and in the best interest of West Indies Cricket.”
WIPA stated that they believed that Dr. Hilaire’s comments, whether representative of the WICB or personal, “could well be considered prejudicial to the integrity of the selection process and have the potential to impact on the process of the appointment of an individual to the important position of West Indies captain. “The system which exists within the WICB whereby the selectors are appointed by the WICB and report to Chief Operations Officer, who functions under directive from the CEO, is relevant in this regard,” the organization stated.
WIPA added that it was hoped that Dr. Hilaire’s comments “are not meant to serve as groundwork for the eventual victimization of Mr. Gayle with regard to him being re-installed as captain of the West Indies team – a position he performed in with significant success during his almost two-year tenure.
“With regard to the selection and appointment of other players as we move forward, this is to be carried out in accordance with the agreed provisions under the recommendations of the Caricom Prime Ministerial Sub-Committee on cricket. WIPA will therefore closely monitor this seemingly developing issue as we move forward and WIPA assures the cricketing public that it will do everything to protect its members from any form of victimisation at any level.
“While WIPA recognises the selection of players and captain resides with the WICB through their selection panel, our agreement (Memorandum of Understanding) speaks to the integrity of the selection process for which WIPA has a responsibility to ensure that all are treated fairly,” the release ended.