While there is stiff competition for the presidency of the West Indies Cricket Board, the poor performance of our cricketers, allegations of bankruptcy by the WICB. both financial and in terms of finding suitable players to represent the Caribbean squad, it seems as if our cricket is doomed unless swift action is taken to alleviate the situation.
There is no doubt that the standard of our cricket is deteriorating. We failed miserably in the first warm-up match leading to the World Cup; both our batsmen and bowlers were way below standard against England.
We lost in all three formats of the matches against South Africa. It seems therefore our players will not be in serious contention in the World Cup. It very unfortunate since the West Indies won the first two World Cup tournaments in 1975 and 1979 and was in the final for the 1983 tournament. Clive Lloyd was at the helm and now he is the Chairman of the Selection Panel.
Of course it is decades since the West Indies was a force to reckon with; things have changed in several areas – modern technology, emphasis on money, etc, etc. The big question is, can the Caribbean players rise up to the challenges of contemporary cricket? I think we can, but a lot has to be done both in terms of administration, the attitude of players, better cricket grounds, improved facilities, better coaches, etc. It is easy to identify the problems, but to correct them needs money – a lot of money – and it seems as if the WICB is not in a financial position to do so. In fact it is in such a bad way that it is alleged that it is finding it difficult to pay the players.
Unconfirmed reports state that the cricketers were not yet paid for the South African tour, neither were the regional players paid for the recently concluded One Day series and the four day series.
It is rumoured that the WICB is awaiting funds they expect to receive from the International Cricket Council (ICC) for the World Cup to pay the players. However we have to bear in mind that the Board has a huge bill to pay for the tour abandonment in India earlier last year. The WICB has submitted a proposal to the BCCI (the Indian Cricket Board), but it has been denied and the Indians are pressing to be compensated for the financial loss of the tour because the players refused to play because of a financial disagreement with the WICB.
There is a serious grouse between the West Indian Players Association (WIPA) – the players
representatives – and the WICB, and this rift should be tackled as expeditiously as possible.
Dave Cameron, who took office as President of the WICB in 2013 is being challenged by Joel Garner, a former West Indies pacer who is now the President of the Barbados Cricket Board of Control. Both Cameron and Garner are optimistic about winning. The big question is can a former cricketer do a better job than a business executive? Even if this is so he will have to get the support of not only the WIPA, but several organizations in the Caribbean, as well as political leaders in the OECS and Caricom. We should remember at all times that cricket is an integral part of the Caribbean people and that sport is mainly responsible for unity in the region.