No use pointing fingers
Oh what a tangled web we weave!
The West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) is in a crisis of unimaginable proportions, even peril, after dreaded confirmation came today of a strong backlash from peeved cricket authorities in India.
In the wake of a controversial decision by players to abandon their tour of India at the end of the fourth One-Day International in Dharamsala on Friday, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is now contemplating a lawsuit to recoup losses estimated at $65 million for the cancellation of the last ODI, a lone Twenty20 International and three Test matches.
And it gets worse, the WICB could be shut out of the powerful and lucrative cricket market for at least five years if international reports are true.
As the rumblings surfaced last week, we looked on and appealed for good sense to prevail but it appears that egos won the battle and there will be big losers all around.
It would be easy to point fingers at this stage and ask the players who insisted they could not continue because their pay packs were unacceptable, if their course of action was worth virtually destroying this Caribbean game that we all proudly love despite their repeated failings on the pitch.
It would be easy to point fingers and ask the men in the middle who opted to pull stumps if they considered that the big pay packs they claim they were trying to preserve are virtually down the drain with the multi-million dollar lawsuit hanging in the dressing room of the already cash-strapped WICB.
It would be easy to point fingers and ask our players if any consideration was given to fighting their battles in private, never ever in public and far less on the international scene, to avoid the embarrassment West Indies cricket which has long lost the glory days of Sobers, Worrell, Richards and Marshall, will suffer.
It would be easy to point fingers and ask our boys whether there was no room for mediation with the very association they chose as their bargaining agent before calling it quits.
It would be easy to point fingers at the WICB and ask if it made every overture to the West Indies Players Association (WIPA) and its disgruntled members to settle the pay dispute to avoid the current dilemma.
It would be easy to point fingers at the WICB and WIPA and ask if they entertained an offer from Grenadian Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell to mediate the dispute.
But what’s the use of pointing fingers? Urgent solutions must now be found to save West Indies cricket which will pay dearly for the failure of both sides to play by the rules.
This disaster raises a cloud of uncertainty over upcoming international engagements, which include a tour of South Africa at the end of the year, followed by the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand in February and March.
It could very well cause sponsors to rethink their massive sums of investment into the game that is fast losing ground to football, more favoured by the young.
We implore both WIPA and the WICB to source the best negotiators in the region to broker a way out of this crisis, even as we pray that the damage is not irreparable.