BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, CMC – Grenada’s Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell is not holding out much hope for the improvement in the fortunes of West Indies cricket as long as the arrogance in leadership, lack of accountability and the outdated governance structure of Cricket West Indies remains intact.
The long-serving leader, who in the past served as chairman of CARICOM’s subcommittee on cricket, said much of the systemic issues which plagued the regional game had not been addressed, making any positive outlook unlikely.
Mitchell, who has repeatedly called for governance reform at Cricket West Indies, once again pointed to the governance structure as the heart of the ongoing problems.
“I have not been that deeply involved since I took a strong position [to step away]. The Heads [of CARICOM] did not want me to give up that position [as chairman of the subcommittee] but I felt until we had a system where people could be held accountable for decisions that they make, then I don’t see how you could lead a system where someone can just go off and torpedo the whole process and there is no sanction,” Mitchell said in radio interview here recently.
“I don’t see how you can lead any organisation like this. That’s why I gave up chairmanship of the subcommittee. I’ve not given up hope in West Indies cricket but I certainly am not expecting change as long as that present structure continues and the personalities involved continue.”
He added: “I don’t think you’ll see the end of that type of governance behaviour with the type of individuals you now have leading the governance system of West Indies cricket. I’ve made my position very clear and that position has not changed because I don’t see the attitude changed.
“The arrogance and attitude being displayed in managing West Indies cricket will certainly cause us more and more pain.”
The issue of CWI governance resurfaced in earnest in recent weeks following the controversial appointment of Richard Pybus as interim head coach of the West Indies men’s side.
It emerged that Pybus had not been the board’s initial choice for the position but according to one CWI director, Enoch Lewis, the Englishman had been “hand-picked” by president Dave Cameron.
Lewis slammed the decision to appoint Pybus in a frank letter to the board, saying the appointment lacked “transparency, fairness and due process”.
He further said Cameron’s actions in headhunting Pybus were “without pre-authorisation and input from the board”, and any consultation with director of cricket, Jimmy Adams or the CWI cricket committee.
In reference to the controversy surrounding Pybus’s appointment, Mitchell said it reflected the “arrogance and the lack of interest in building a system of openness that would cause West Indies cricket to develop further.”
Mitchell also pointed to the on-field performances which have seen West Indies continue to struggle in virtually all formats. They lie eighth in the ICC Test team rankings, just a single point ahead of Bangladesh, and are ninth in the ODI rankings, only five points ahead of minnows Afghanistan.
And though the Windies are reigning Twenty20 world champions, they lie seventh in the rankings after losing 10 of 14 matches last year.
Mitchell said the current state of affairs was “difficult to accept”.
“I am a lover of cricket and I would never stop loving the game … and of course I have a passion for West Indies cricket and the historical success of our teams but it’s hard to take, watching the demise and the level of performance of West Indies teams at this particular time. It’s a bit humiliating for any Caribbean man or woman. That is difficult to accept,” he lamented.
“I am not happy at what is taking place in West Indies cricket at this particular time and I hope and pray that maybe we would see some change but clearly as long as that present leadership of West Indies cricket is concerned, I don’t expect to see much change.”