It was not only former West Indies fast bowler Joel Garner’s father who died last Saturday. West Indies cricket died too.
It would not be unfair to say that the majority of cricket followers wanted Saturday to be a red-letter day for the sport, a day which would have seen the rebirth of West Indies cricket so to speak.
Garner was challenging incumbent Dave Cameron for the poisoned chalice which is the presidency of the West Indies cricket Board.
He lost 4-8.
One is not sure which hurt the most, the death of his father who surely played a tremendous role in his upbringing and ultimately his cricket exploits or the death of his desire to lead the WICB out of its present quagmire and into greener pastures.
Those who held that decision at their fingertips, the directors of the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB), voted for the status quo to remain unchanged rather than for ushering in a fresh new wave of accountability and transparency in the administration of the region’s number one sport.
This is one of the reasons why cricket in the West Indies will not develop because of the parochial views of those whose sole aim is to remain in charge of West Indies cricket and its lowly status rather than aim for the bigger picture which is to have the West Indies cricket team regain their place as the number one cricket team in the world, a position they held for over a decade back in the 1970s and 80s.
Like politicians in most of the Third World countries, the WICB operates under the mantra `survival is the name of the game’.
This phenomenon has given rise to the formation of cliques where those in power look to main their control at all costs. There is usually behind the scenes bartering on a whole range of issues.
It is why the WICB will not address the Guyana situation nor cooperate with the Guyana government as it seeks to streamline the administration of cricket in the country. The WICB President knows that his support of the present Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) administration is linked to their support for him as illustrated by the fact that it was the GCB which nominated Cameron for reelection for a second term.
What is surprising in the reelection of Cameron is that his first stint as WICB president will be remembered more for the infamous withdrawal of the West Indies senior team from the tour of India last year than for anything else.
It was a withdrawal which has left the WICB facing a US$42 million compensation claim from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) one of the most if not the most powerful cricket board in the world today.
The $42m US claim is almost sure to leave the West Indies coffers severely in the red as reports indicate that the WICB usually operate at a deficit yearly except for the year 2007 when the Cricket World Cup was held in the region.
Cameron, not content with his poor handling of that situation, next committed a major faux pas when he retweeted “Gayle goes? Can’t buy a run. Let’s give him a retirement package. Can’t fail repeatedly and still front up based on reputation,” a tweet originally sent out by a cricket fan.
It is totally absurd for the WICB president to pass on criticism of a player who has done so much for West Indies cricket but yet refuse to acknowledge his own shortcomings as WICB president.
Cameron has been given a second chance to make a success of being the president of the WICB.
Let’s hope for the sake of West Indies cricket that he does not `retweet’ his previous performance.