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Cannot be business as usual

Saturday, January 9, 2016

It certainly will not be a happy new year for the West Indies team and management currently touring down under. And the same applies for all the WI fans, what little is left of them, that is.

I, for one, can recall the heady days of a distant past when the WI team was an all-conquering force in world cricket. Arguably the best Test team ever, Clive Lloyd and his bunch of merry marauders made other teams grovel at their feet. And they were the biggest box-office draw even when playing abroad. Everyone wanted to see Richards, Greenidge, Haynes, the aforementioned Lloyd and the four-pronged pace attack of Roberts, Holding, Croft and Garner initially.

But those days are long gone and all any die-hard fan has to look forward to is one humiliating defeat after another. And the West Indies Cricket Board can try to shirk their responsibility for the disaster that is WI cricket, but if you are tasked with managing the game regionally and cannot produce results then whose fault is it? 

The latest from the WICB is, of course, that they will not be dissolving “themselves” any time soon. Not unexpected but the sheer arrogance to lay blame everywhere else is quite amazing. No looking in the mirror for Dave Cameron and company, no way. 

The Caricom committees have got it all wrong, did not look at all factors and if they, the board, have provided enough compensation, facilities, training and resources well then it is the players who shoulder the blame.

What a cop out! To reiterate, the WICB is charged with running the game regionally. If results are not showing on the field and it is the players at fault well, who develops and selects the players in the first place? There is no way the WICB can escape the responsibility and no one in the WI will buy that. 

The Caribbean people recognise that things have changed. They know money plays a most important role in cricket today. They will even acknowledge that the crop of players today don’t have the same motivation and mental strength that is required to compete at the top level of the game. But if that be the case they also know that the WICB is the organisation that is supposed to change that paradigm and develop better prepared cricketers. So no pass for the WICB and they are not fooling anyone with their rhetoric.

No “happy new year” and I am not surprised at the results in Australia. If I were a betting man I would be wagering on how fast the WI would lose each Test. I could have been rich since I knew it was well within three or four days. The question is where do we go from here? 

Since the board has no intention of being held accountable by Caricom then I suggest that the only recourse for the Caricom governments is for each independent nation to withhold any funding from the territorial boards until reform is forced to happen, ie the dissolution of the WICB. 

If I am not mistaken no territorial cricket board can survive without some kind of government subventions. And this would be the vehicle which could ensure necessary changes begin to take shape. 

Whether or not the respective governments take this approach is left to be seen. 

At this point I do not see too many options for them and if they do not act forcefully then it will be just business as usual with the resultant humiliating defeats continuing to overshadow the once proud cricketing tradition of the West Indies.

D Brahim