SPORTS

Former Cricket West Indies CEO — “The West Indies As A Brand Is No Longer A Relevant Force”

Former Cricket West Indies CEO Chris Dehring has pronounced the death of West Indies cricket and again called for the individual territories of the Caribbean to go it alone.

Dehring voiced his opinion while speaking on the radio sports program Mason & Guest, which broadcasts from Barbados.

Dehring’s call comes on the back of West Indies’ failure to qualify for the ICC ODI World Cup Tournament scheduled to take place later this year in India.

He also expressed similar sentiments in a Jamaica Observer newspaper article as his response to the West Indies’ inglorious first-round exit from the 2022 ICC T20I World Cup.

Among other things, Dhering argued the following:

1. West Indies as a brand is no longer a relevant force, and the emotional attachment is best left in the dustbin of history.

2. Resources spent to promote the game may be best utilized locally rather than spread thinly among Caribbean territories.

Professional athletes are produced differently today than yesterday, and West Indies investment in personnel and infrastructure is minuscule.

3. The backward and forward integration required for the development of the sport at various levels is not only lacking but pales in comparison to what obtains internationally. West Indies is stuck in a time warp in methods and practice.

4. West Indies is only competitive today “because we have significant talent, we have an incredibly high talent quotient… but unless you have a professional production line that would keep it going, to stay in it, develop it and so on, it’s going to fail. And that’s what we’re seeing now: a faded brand and a faded team. And it’s extremely sad to see, but we keep attacking everything at the top.”

5. “West Indies is an idea whose time has passed. It was a wonderful idea.” Today, “independence has come along” and nationality trumps the idea of a West Indies.

7. West Indies is engaged in window dressing by changing personnel at the top, although the problems run much deeper.

“Let’s change the president. Let’s fire the board… those things are peripheral.”

8. Unlike, for example, football and athletics, there is no national fervor or political capital to be gained from West Indies cricket.

“Jamaica football wins, gets to the World Cup, there’s a national holiday, West Indies cricket wins, sorry, there’s no political value to be gained for any government.”

9. Cricket as an Olympics sport would bring about a paradigm shift in people’s mindset and force a change in the current cricket setup. It would open opportunities for individual territories.

10. In terms of market and the generation of revenues, Windies cricket is below par on every matrix – share of wallet, share of eyes, and in general lack of scale.

In large markets, players’ appeal pales compared to revenues generated from television rights, endorsements, licenses, etc. West Indies cannot compete with larger markets such as India, Bangladesh, and others for revenues.

The region lack specialists with knowledge, understanding, and skills in sports marketing.

West Indies missed the opportunity of twinning the domestic market with the U.S. because of insular interest.

Failure to leverage West Indies’ assets and capitalize on opportunities has been a major obstacle in generating revenues over the years.

Investment in West Indies cricket is not a priority for regional government.

Inefficiencies have plagued the system over the years.

The truth is Dhering has made some important points; ignoring them would be at our own peril.

However, should West Indies Cricket as an enterprise be viewed solely on economic grounds?

Should West Indies Cricket be viewed through the “Chicken Little” lens or panned with a Humpty Dumpty outlook?

Shouldn’t West Indies Cricket be viewed as a public good and treated as such?

Is this another “one from ten leaves nought” scenario all over again?

Our forefathers should be rolling in their graves after our long history; we as a people can’t collectively build anything together, not even a good cricket structure. 

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Readers Bureau, Contributor

Edited by Jesus Chan

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