Sir Richie goes to bat for home drums
West Indies team manager Sir Richie Richardson has stressed that making money on the Twenty20 circuit must be second to representing the regional side.
Speaking on the Sportsmax television programme today in Jamaica where the West Indies team have assembled for Sunday’s first Test against New Zealand, Sir Richie told hosts Jeffrey Dujon and Simon Crosskill that he had no problem with the players seeking to make as much money as possible, but was adamant that if they were under contract to the WICB they had to put West Indies cricket before any other cricket.
He noted that the players who were making money from tournaments such as the Indian Premier League (IPL) got that opportunity and arrived at that stage in their careers because of their involvement and exposure in regional cricket.
“What happens if all the players decide that they are going to play cricket all over the world and ignore West Indies cricket? Our cricket would die,” Sir Richie said.
The former West Indies captain’s comments came against the background of off-spinner Sunil Narine’s omission from the West Indies team after he chose to remain in India to play the IPL final for the Kolkata Knight Riders franchise, rather than return to the Caribbean to be part of a training camp in Barbados. Richardson had pointed out on his arrival in Jamaica that Narine knew of the rules relating to player availability for a series.
Players, based on the West Indies selection policy, are required to make themselves available for training camp at least seven days before the start of a series. It was mandatory for all players to report to the West Indies camp by last Sunday, the same day as the IPL final.
“At the end of the day, if it was not for West Indies cricket none of us would have been here,” Sir Richie said.
Asked by Dujon about the players’ general commitment to West Indies cricket, Sir Richie admitted that when he first took over as manager that total commitment was not always there but he had since seen it improve significantly.
Richardson called the situation with Narine unfortunate but suggested there were options that could be pursued in the future. Noting the impact of the IPL and its earning capacity for players, Sir Richard stated that all the cricketing nations should get together and ensure there was a clear window for the IPL tournament. He said this would alleviate the situation of future conflict between playing for country or franchise.
Meanwhile WICB president Dave Cameron has reiterated that the Board will not back down on the decision not to consider Narine for the upcoming three-Test series against New Zealand.
Cameron was responding to a letter from Trinidad and Tobago’s Minister of Sport Anil Roberts, who was pleading for the regional body to reconsider its position on omitting Narine after he failed to arrive at the pre-series training camp by the June 1 deadline.
Roberts wrote the WICB president last week, asking the Board to reconsider its decision to drop Narine, who helped the KKR to the IPL Premier League title.
But Cameron stated that the WICB “stands by its processes where players are selected to represent the region in various formats of the game.”
“A few months ago, the Board of Directors, West Indies Players Association and the Territorial Boards agreed [on] a way forward regarding our management of the sport with the aim of getting us back to number one,” Cameron said.
He added that the parties arrived at a “transparent” consensus that places the players as a priority as the WICB seeks to grow the game.
“We are cognizant of the emotions which run contrary to the process. We ask that other administrators respect our position and when the time is appropriate, [the WICB] will seek your valued input,” Cameron stated.
West Indies captain Denesh Ramdin, though registering disappointment that Narine would miss the Test series, was nevertheless confident about the spin attack at his disposal.
“We are disappointed but we still have two world-class spinners in Sulieman Benn and Shane Shillingford,” Ramdin told reporters shortly after the West Indies cricketers arrived in Jamaica.
“Any team that has Narine in the line-up would be amazing but we have to use what we have and hopefully we will overcome the New Zealanders.”