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Save West Indies cricket


One is tempted to ask, what is happening in West Indies cricket, given the continuing series of incidents, but perhaps it is more accurate to say that maybe TOO MUCH is happening, unfortunately in the negative spheres. We have hardly had good news about West Indies cricket since the triple triumphs in the World Cup (T20, female and Under-19).{{more}}

Fans could be forgiven for thinking that those global victories would herald a new era of restoration of the glory of our beloved sport. Not if our administrators would have their way! It is as though our cricket is headed by an axe-wielding bunch, hell-bent on chopping off the heads of all those perceived as slighting the leadership, and forcing the others to cower in submission.

Already there was a crowded “naughty corner”, as they say about kindergarten schools, but to it were added Curtly Ambrose and Darren Sammy, heroes of the triple triumphs, and even regional Heads of Government, virtually told by the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) leadership to “mind their own business”. Joining them for punishment now is the latest casualty as West Indies coach, the popular Phil Simmons.

To add to the confusion, WICB CEO Michael Muirhead has announced his departure, while a number of former officials of the body, including former presidents Ken Gordon and Pat Rousseau, have called for a “forensic audit” of the WICB. This, on the heels of two substantial reports from highly-respected regional persons, commissioned by CARICOM Heads calling for a radical overhaul of the WICB.

All this is happening in the context of the continuing decline of the West Indies as a major cricketing power. The triple victories in the shortest format of the game notwithstanding, the report card makes dismal reading. West Indies has not even qualified for the 2017 Champions Trophy, and is one of the teams mooted for relegation to second-tier status in Test cricket. For the first time in six decades the West Indies does not have either a single batsman or bowler in the top rankings in international cricket.

Yet, none of this seems to bother the cocky WICB president Dave Cameron, who dismisses genuine criticisms as though he and his cohorts have earned a God-given right to lord over the sport in the Caribbean. Wheedling support from some quarters, whether at governmental level, as in the case of Antiguan Prime Minister Gaston Browne, or among some sections of former players, Cameron continues to play his high-stakes game, in defiance of broad public opinion in the region.

In the course of it, it gives the appearance of the favouring of one set of nationals against others in making appointments, a dangerous road to tread in a sport based on regional aspirations and unity. That may not be the intention, but to the average fan it may appear to be that way.

Clearly we have long exceeded the limits of our patience. West Indies cricket does not belong to the WICB alone; we all have a stake in it. WICB Cameron would do well to note that not too long ago his namesake in British politics also played a high-stakes game, ushering in Brexit in the United Kingdom. He has had to leave long before Britain leaves the EU. This Cameron and his cahoots have gone too far. West Indies cricket must be saved.