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A tasty WICB presidential race
After Friday’s showing in the first One-Day International (ODI) against Zimbabwe, West Indies are overwhelming favourites to sweep this three-match ODI series, easily win the two Twenty20 Internationals (T20I), then come out ahead, even if they will have to work harder, in the two Tests. Piece of cake, really!
Not so much in the presidential race of West Indies Cricket Board (WICB). That is quite another matter. I feel somewhat sorry for Zimbabwe. They have not played full international cricket for a year and did not even have enough money to bring all of their coaches, a situation that International Cricket Council (ICC) should have addressed by alleviating that financial stress.
Yet, Zimbabwe is here, trying hard. So, if you remember, when Guyana had problems with that interim management committee (IMC) a year ago, I mentioned directly that I was sure that the real purpose of being IMC’s leader was a stepping stone for my former captain, Clive Hubert Lloyd, whose overall ambition was to be WICB president. Happily, again, I was so right.
However, given the situation and candidates listed, runners in this race, it is not a forgone conclusion that Lloyd will become next president of WICB. That will be more difficult than beating Zimbabwe. I expect that most former international cricketers, including me, would like to see drastic administration changes for the better, from WICB. Former team-mate Andy Roberts has already stated thusly.
But, to be fair, WICB has overseen excellent on-field improvements recently, with our senior men’s and women’s teams becoming and performing much better. As they say in Guyana, “Yuh gaf foh gih Jack ‘e jacket!” Present WICB must take much positive credit. Few gave West Indies any hope of winning anything, stumbling blindly from pillar to post last decade, looking for that special combination of personnel, on and off field, to become much more than just competitive but also to actually win.
Indeed, most did not think that selections of Ottis Gibson as head coach, and Darren Sammy as captain, would bring West Indies anything but grief. Yet, they have managed to shock us. Out of that dark mist came that most unexpected, magical win of ICC World T20 Championship last year. Regardless of what many may say now, after the fact, less than 25 percent of our supporters expected that outcome.
Yes, that winning boost was as needed as several heart transplants for many very badly ailing hearts. If that was not a great fillip to WICB’s achievements, our senior women’s team nearly pulled off the impossible. They emerged way beyond expectations anywhere, to play in ICC Women’s World Cup Final a few weeks ago. Suddenly, West Indies teams are winning again! That can only be really good for the sport and region.
Dr Julian Hunte, present WICB president, running again for that position, must take credit here, after taking fearful flax, for nepotism and home-town favour when Sammy, a fellow St Lucian, was appointed. Dr Hunte has had the most recent, maybe his last laugh, as WICB president, but has savoured improvements and achievements, basking in the glory of West Indies teams doing so well.
Many have continuously claimed that present WICB has no clue as to what to do with development. Yet, overall, there is very much more cricket being played in the Caribbean than at any time in the past. This WICB presidential race has delicious situations developing before our very eyes, like Darren Bravo’s mature, initial international ODI hundred or Johnson Charles coming of age with consecutive ODI centuries.
Already, T&T has washed its hands on nominations, saying publicly, like proper politicians, that they cannot show whom of Dr Hunte, his deputy Dave Cameron or Lloyd, they would support. That is just the tip of this really entertaining but potentially quite dangerous iceberg. Lloyd has also even asked Guyana’s Cricket Board for its endorsement. What?
Mind you, this is the same erstwhile body that he and Guyana’s government have tried, extremely diligently, with court injunction after court injunction, to have permanently removed from office. Cameron will have his hometown, Jamaica’s vote. He also boasts, we note, of having at least two other entities in his corner.
Neither Barbados nor Leeward Islands have shown anything, despite Roberts’ comments so maybe Cameron knows something we do not! Talk about intrigue, this is titillating! West Indies beating Zimbabwe takes a distant back seat. Enjoy!
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