Big stick needed to save West Indies cricket

In the last two decades, West Indies cricket has been trapped in an ever-increasing failure spiral and just when we think that things cannot get any worse, they do. A constant turnover of presidents, CEOs, directors of cricket, head coaches, specialist coaches, trainers and players have so far failed to arrest and reverse that decline.

What has not changed is the intransigence and autocracy of Cricket West Indies (CWI) and its selfish and irrational aversion to the reform of its antiquated structure; factors that have contributed greatly to that failure spiral. Other deficiencies are lack of awareness and responsibility, hostile attitudes toward players and failure to create a learning and enabling environment.

Some of our cricket administrators are behaving like desperate people crying out for power, status, enrichment, recognition and public acclamation and it is sometimes sad to see them doing anything and everything to succeed. But there are other motives such as making an honest living, winning for oneself to experience that quiet inner feeling of satisfaction and sense of achievement, and boosting other people’s self-worth and self-confidence to get the best out of them.

Watching how ignorance and unreason have crept into the administration of West Indies  cricket is quite perplexing. CWI members are not just ill informed; they are aggressively wrong and are unwilling to learn. They seem to have an antipathy to the expertise, experience and professional know-how of past administrators and former great players from the Worrell and Lloyd champion teams. To reject the advice of these experts  and to instinctively resist facts that might challenge their status and beliefs is a way of insulating their fragile egos from ever being told that they are wrong about anything. One gets the impression that our administrators have reached a point where ignorance of cricket matters and cricket performance is an actual virtue.

The Dunning-Kruger effect that was described in 1999 states that the less competent people are the greater the belief they tend to have in their own competence. But insecurity often forces them to say that they know, when they don’t know. This was not always the case. Past cricket administrators used to operate in a more reasonable manner. They did not pretend to know everything.

Caribbean people will agree that our cricket is in a very unhealthy and dangerous state. So how will this period end? In this time of unreason and malfunction anything is possible. Let’s hope that it doesn’t end in disaster. The cricketing public have lost all confidence in CWI and are praying that CARICOM will step up to the plate to save what is left of West Indies cricket and get the West Indies team back to its winning ways.

For years CARICOM prime ministers have been asking the board, now CWI, to examine and improve its governance of West Indies cricket, but their pleas were usually ignored. Disagreements between the two bodies came to a head in 2014 soon after the BCCI slapped CWI with a $42 million claim for damages after the West Indies team abandoned its tour of India. Disagreements intensified when CWI rejected the findings and recommendations of the Governance Review Panel that was jointly chosen by CWI and CARICOM and which was headed by Professor Eudine Barriteau of the University of the West Indies. CWI won that battle and while it enjoyed its victory, CARICOM went quiet.

But at the recent Intersessional summit in Haiti, CARICOM took the decision to have another try to save West Indies cricket. The prime ministers stressed that West Indies cricket is “a public good managed by a private entity” when in fact it is a public good that is mismanaged by a private entity. The prime ministers plan to meet the International Cricket Council (ICC) in London during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in April to express their deep concerns about the current governance and the future of West Indies Cricket. ICC will do the right thing and listen but I do not believe that it will act or intervene. I wish the prime ministers luck.

CARICOM leaders cannot change past mistakes, but they have the power to act decisively in the present to rewrite the future of West Indies cricket. They have two powerful trump cards that they can play and they must play them while holding a big stick over the head of CWI. This is not the time for diplomacy. It is time for decisive action.

Source: by Dr Rudi Webster (Dr Rudi V. Webster, a former Barbados ambassador to the United States, is a trained psychologist)

3 Responses to Big stick needed to save West Indies cricket

  1. Walter Prescod March 6, 2018 at 9:49 pm

    Atlas, atlas, You have hit the nail on iits head.

  2. Nathaniel Samuels March 7, 2018 at 12:33 am

    If a former player was President of the West Indies Board, everything would work out sweet and dandy. If our former players were involved in coaching our team even without the requisite training, everything will work out well.
    I see the problem of West Indies cricket as one of disdain for and jealousy of the President, Dave Cameron. Some of the problems he has initiated just by his aloof nature and his ‘dissing’ of some of the former players. Despite all that has been said against Cameron, his administration has seen to improved opportunities for the players though these same players have not represented us well. As a professional, you have to do your job even though you might not like your boss. I would not think that our former players were enamoured with the administration in their time.
    Going to the ICC is a waste of time. If you want to get rid of Cameron, you need a plan where at the territorial Board level, you put your man in place and groom him for the position you want, the West Indies Board presidency. If, however, you come with a coup, rest assured it will be coup after coup, after coup, after coup.
    Let us do things right so that we do the right thing.

  3. Krishna Gopaul March 7, 2018 at 6:17 am

    There is no logical justification for stating that a ‘former player will make a good CWI President’..statements like these are borne from ignorance. Former players have been involved as consultants and even as coaches. The reason things dont ‘work out well’ ,is because the CWI runs it’s affairs in a very dishonest and callous manner. In the last 30 years, there has been no significant improvement in the infrastructure for the expansion and development of cricket in the caribbean. As a result, there is a huge decline not just in player performances at Test and ODI level ,but in interest as well. It’s all well and nice to say that ‘the team is not winning’ ..that usually is the typical noteable response but we must ask ourselves why t20s have gained so much relevance in such short time? Money and convenience ! It surpasses tests and odis in money making ability. Players make up to ten times the amount they would playing for WI ,why would they or anyone who recieves the opportunity say no to that? I dont respect people who talk about lack of pride ,passion ,discipline and dedication from players because administrators are guilty of worse. CWI claims to be making a profit but can’t pay WI senior team players what they are worth? And what of this ‘rebuilding’ that has yielded what is undoubtedly the darkest period in WI cricket ? Players alone cannot take responsibility for that.The solution lies in the formentioned legislation, CWI is police ,judge and executioner and yet they answer to no one for thier abuse of power, victimisation of players ,irresponsibility and unethical behaviours. So go to the ICC, let the mandate be clear. Without the caribbean people and thier love for WI cricket ,there will be no players for the CWI to use and abuse in thier shambolic governance of WI cricket. Cameron is a failure ,the stats prove such ,and he represents the typical cricket administrator here in the WI which is the real issue..there are more like him who are simply biding for time until they gather enough momentum to ascend to the CWI presidency. No clear planning ,no consistency in scouting ,training camps, no proper recruitment of foreign personell and by god how could the master of disaster ,Richard Pybuss be offered another position as director given how poorly he performed as director of WI cricket ? The time is now.


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