There has been great resentment from the local cricketing fraternity following the inexplicably disastrous performance of the senior national cricket team in the just concluded regional four-day tournament. The team not only remained at the bottom of the points standing after six matches, but they also failed to win any matches and lost four of them outright. This has been the worst display by a national team in recent times.
There are reasons for such a drastic decline, the foremost of which is that the administrative atmosphere of cricket is clouded in uncertainty. Manipulative governance; the non-inclusion of the Berbice Cricket Board, the Georgetown Cricket Association and the East Coast Cricket Board which are the live wires of cricket in Guyana; the non-existence of a comprehensive cricketing plan; and the poor functioning of the Cricket Development Committee previously headed by the learned administrator Mr Alfred Mentore have all played their part. The appointment of an inexperienced coach did not help the cause either, since Mr Esaun Crandon would have been recently playing with many of the players and certainly has not developed the skill and authority to draw the line as an experienced coach would.
So the length of time in which the players were trained, and the hiring of fitness trainers were only short term measures, instead of having a strategic work plan that should have been implemented since the previous year. I suppose the same thing will occur again close to the next regional tournament. Compounding such critical issues are the fact that the ECB is only providing lip service but has no institutional voice; the BCB has withdrawn its support; and the DCB is still to be legally instituted. So where is the intelligence and capacity-building status of the GCB in order for it to effectively and efficiently function?
It is against these worrying signs that I conclude that the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) must intervene to salvage any pride left in the cricket administration in Guyana, albeit to address the GCB’s legitimacy.
I recalled that prior to the regional tournament the Minister of Sport Dr Frank Anthony had said that the WICB President Mr Dave Cameron was to visit Guyana and it was his hope that key cricketing issues could be resolved. The current scenario should be of concern to him. Mr Cameron must address this issue soon, since a collective effort from all stakeholders should be the key to recapturing the pride and passion that our cricketers played with, mainly for the pure love of the game, so they can dignify their efforts with success.
I have enjoyed reading cricket statistician Sherwayne Walker’s recollection of history. His account of former Guyana and West Indies all-rounder Roger Harper’s exploits is quite phenomenal, including him being mentioned alongside the great Sir Garfield Sobers in achieving a rare feat of scoring a double century and taking five wickets in a regional match. Why is such an invaluable human resource being neglected? I even read a letter in one of the daily newspapers recently written by Mr WG Boston which suggested that there are attempts by a group of individuals to remove Mr Harper as President of the Georgetown Cricket Association. If such an allegation is proven to be correct then our cricket is being plunged into the depths of the sea. The entire cricketing public respects Mr Harper and he is a proven and professional leader. These attempts are only figments of the imagination of a group of current officials who have ruined the game and the psyches of many of the players.
The CPL in collaboration with the WICB sought the expertise of Mr Harper because he is an outstanding coach and administrator. I can only envision therefore that under the tenure of Mr Cameron whose winning platform was based on accountability, transparency and good governance, his leadership qualities will be brought to the fore. He has done so before by swiftly intervening and solving the crisis in the Leeward Islands Cricket Association. He therefore needs to act with the same vigour regarding the administration of the GCB. Mr Cameron should now be mandated by the WICB to take concrete steps towards salvaging the lost pride that pervaded Guyana’s cricket in the past.