Over the years, Windies cricket has been plagued with controversies of one sort or the other, but even more so under the three-term Dave Cameron’s led administration.
Consequently, the recent booting of Cameron from office did not come as a surprise to the many pundits who were in the dugout or on the ground.
Moreover, one could easily argue that under Cameron’s regime West Indies cricket experienced one of the most tumultuous periods in regional cricket history.
That said, the Windies also reaped the best results under Cameron’s leadership, not only in terms of the sheer number of silverware brought home but also the number of players who now have health insurance and are also able to earn a salary or in local parlance, “eat a food.”
Also, the winning of three World Cups under Cameron’s leadership is indeed a significant achievement and he ought to be commended for accomplishing such a remarkable feat.
Now, with the toppling of Cameron in the recent presidential election, a new administration led by Ricky Skerritt, a former politician is now in play.
And, although not yet a month in office, the Skerritt’s administration is already faced with bitter criticisms from many people, charging Skerritt for being power drunk.
Skerritt’s radical approach to effect changes at the administrative level has seen the chairman of selectors Courtney Browne forced out of office and replaced by Robert Hayes while interim coach Richard Pybus makes way for Floyd Reifer, despite his recent success against England.
Moreover, Vasbert Drakes, who was removed from his position as bowling coach of the men’s team, has threatened to sue Cricket West Indies (CWI), claiming that the way he was terminated was unlawful.
Additionally, Skerritt has abandoned the former board’s selection policy, thus opening the way for out of favor and discarded former players such as Kieron Pollard, Sunil Narine, Dwayne Bravo, Darren Sammy, et al to come back home without singing a Sankey.
According to Skerritt, many of these players are still committed to West Indies duty, and a system must be developed to see them returning to Windies international cricket.
“This has been a very volatile issue, and our policy has been very clear,” said Skerritt.
“There’s a myth that our elite players don’t want to play for the West Indies. Over the last couple of weeks, we’ve engaged several of them and prior to the election, I personally engaged several of them and the desire and hunger to play for their West Indian colors is as strong as ever.”
He further said, “What we have to do is to make sure we put systems in place that can respect the players and help the players to respect their responsibility when they are actually involved in West Indies cricket, and do it in a way that is clearly communicated and that there’s mutual respect and understanding.”
“I have no doubt that in the hearts and in the minds of all of these players, the performance of the West Indies team and being involved in a successful West Indies team setup is important to them,” he added.
Of course, not many people would support that view by Skerritt given the past utterance of a former player who declared that Windies was the last of his priority in terms of a team to represent.
Previously, players were only eligible for West Indies selection if they participated in the corresponding format regionally.
The fact is an argument can be made for the support of this policy as at least it brought some discipline to bear on the game.
However, given CWI president’s new “player-centric” mantra — all players are eligible for selection to the Windies team once they are available.
This new move some would argue is tantamount to the tail wagging the dog.
So, with the ‘flood gate’ now opened, one cannot help but wonder what will happen to those players who helped Windies qualify for the World Cup, slated to take place in another few months.
This no doubt could open a rift among players, create a setback, and lower morale on the field of play.
Moreover, the question of whether justice would be served in having returnees replacing players who helped in the qualifiers is an apt one.
Indeed, one may argue that it would be better if the Windies lose the World Cup with those players who helped it to qualify rather than failing with the ‘returnees.’
The con, of course, is what if the “returnees’ helped the team to win, the simple answer — cricket is a gentleman’s game and the morality of the situation trumps winning.
No justice, no peace!
Yvad billings, Readers Bureau, Fellow
Edited by Jesus Chan
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