The demise of West Indies cricket continues to be a topic of conversation across the Caribbean. A good observation can be drawn that Cricket West Indies (CWI) , CARICOM, University of the West Indies, Caribbean Examinations Council and a few other regional agencies combine to build greater resilience and scale, as well as enhance bargaining power on the global stage and in the case of sports, competitiveness. Certainly this was the intention of the founders?
Here are comments from two commenters on the blog reacting to West Indies recent failure to qualify for the T20 World Cup.
It appears as if the new West Indies Cricket Board is going to continue in the same downward trend as the past Board did if they select Floyd Reifer as Head Coach of the West Indies senior team.
I am in full agreement with Michael Holding on the issue of Reifer being selected as acting coach because of a cricket bully who bullied the Board in 2009 and screwed up West Indies cricket by making a cricket failure at the test level captain of the West Indies team and seven players from the UWI team that came through the back door in local cricket.
West Indies cricket will not go forward if this cricket bully is allowed to have things go his way because he now wants to bully people into thinking that Reifer is capable of coaching the West Indies team ahead of experience cricketers that have made their mark and name in cricket in the likes of Richards, Lloyd, Greenidge, Haynes and Simmons.
The problem is that none of the names that I mentioned are yes men and cannot be bullied. I know that the current President of the West Indies Cricket Board cannot be bullied by anyone and he is definitely not a yes man like the past president.
Cricket is a business and should be operated in a like manner and not like a big boy friendship club. What West Indies cricket needs is a strong manager who is not a yes man to lead West Indies cricket back to its glory days. One that will select its best eleven players to represent the West Indies and give 200% for the team.
West Indies cricket is not a fashion club, it is serious business. Given the current behaviour and attitude of our young people, I cannot see Reifer getting any respect from many of the current players especially since they all are friends, party and hang out together. I might be wrong in my thinking but I am sure that I might not be too far off.
When the West Indies had a chance to turn our cricket around by selecting Tony King as its Manager, they turned their back on him because he was a disciplinarian who did not tolerate foolishness and was all business. As a result of that decision West Indies cricket was the one to lose out and is one of the reasons it is in the current state.
Reifer has not proved himself to be capable of leading the West Indies team at this juncture. If he is selected as the Head Coach it would be a case of one foot forward and two backward for West Indies cricket, maybe down the road but not at this time.
I hope common sense will prevail here. I expect there will be feedback I do not like my own and all of that, but I am a realist who has a mind of my own and not one to jump on a bandwagon. I sincerely hope that West Indies cricket can get back to where it was but the West Indies Cricket Board has to go about it in the right manner.
President of Cricket West Indies (CWI) Dave Cameron is being challenged for the position by Ricky Skerrit in an election scheduled to be held in Jamaica on the 24 March 2019. The blogmaster does not have a horse in the race, however, of concern is the autocratic manner the Condé Riley led Barbados Cricket Association (BCA) has involved itself in the contest.
It is a standard affair in any democratic process for all persons contesting an election to be given a chance to present a ‘manifesto’ to those casting the vote. The decision by the board of the BCA to decline a request from Ricky Skerritt and his running mate Dr. Dr Kishore Shallow – the challengers to incumbent Cameron and Nanton – disregards all reasonable convention and ‘good taste’ as far as right thinking observers can see. Acknowledging that the rules of the BCA indicate that the Board is not obligated to seek direction from its membership on the matter.
It is noteworthy the BCA board invited Ricky Skerritt and Shallow to present when news broke that the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill- to its credit- had invited them to share plans in a public forum. As if to trivialize the invitation AND magnify its collective ignorance – there was a simultaneous item running in the media confirming BCA’s support for Dave Cameron and his running mate Emmanuel Nanton.
The decision by the Condé Riley BCA Board violates all guiding principles around good governance of a Board of Directors. There is the irony that that the Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA) has extended an invitation to Skerritt and Shallow to present their Cricket First plan for developing regional cricket. If the irony has escaped anyone, Dave Cameron is from Jamaica and in all likelihood will gain the two votes from the JCA which has not declared public support for either side as far as the blogmaster is aware. Twelve votes are available from the six regional boards which comprise the CWI. Skeritt has the support of Trinidad and the Leewards and Cameron that of Guyana, Barbados and the Windward Islands.
It will never happen but the blogmaster wishes for it all the same. The BCA membership should trigger an extraordinary meeting to express a lack of confidence in the Board of the BCA regarding the decision to give unconditional support to Cameron while barring Skerritt and Shallow from presenting to the Board. If we pretend to be a democratic people utilizing democratic processes then a project to democratize the BCA must be a priority by its membership.
On what basis does Dave Cameron command unconditional support from the Boards of Barbados, Windward Islands and Guyana anyway?
In 2012 West Indies was ranked #7 in Test, #7 in ODI and #8 in T20.
In 2019 West Indies is ranked #8 in Test, #9 in ODI and #7 in T20.
In summary, after 4 years as president, Cameron the incumbent, has not been able through his leadership to improve the performance of West Indies team on the field in ALL forms of the game. The blogmaster will resist including in the analysis of Cameron’s performance the cancellation of the 2014 tour to India, his unprofessional trumplike Twitter tweet directed at Chris Gayle in 2015 and the lack of respect shown to Caricom governments through his tenure by his Board – one of two key stakeholders.
West Indies cricket is one of the few regional entities which serves to thread the former British colonies together. It is unfortunate and ironic that the process to elect the President of the CWI does not reflect the very democratic ideals practised by all the countries CWI represents.
West Indies cricket supporters, both of the born-again and the true-blue variety, are naturally feeling aggrieved at the recent decisions of the match referee in the current Test series to impose varying match bans on the captain, Mr Jason Holder and fast bowler, Mr Shannon Gabriel, for their respective infringements of the playing regulations and the Code of Conduct of the International Cricket Council [ICC].
The pique surrounding Mr Holder’s exclusion from the final test in the already-won series appeared to have been a reaction to what was perceived as the “most unkindest” cut of all, given his stellar performances in the first two matches and, especially, that the offence in question pertained to a failure to complete a required number of overs in a given period, when the match itself was completed in fewer than three days! However, as cogently argued in another section of the press last Sunday by three commentators, much of the huff here is misplaced, especially since a similar ban was previously imposed on Mr Holder when the opponents also won the match in three days. It is all about a single day’s play, not the duration of the match.
The Gabriel matter has evoked a similar disparagement of the ICC and more than a few individuals have levelled fanciful and baseless charges of some sinister plot by that governing body to weaken the regional team’s chances in the remainder of the series. Mr Gabriel was charged with an infringement of Article 2.1.4 of the ICC Code of Conduct for Players and Player Support Personnel that prohibits “using language or a gesture that is obscene, offensive or insulting to a Player, Player Support Personnel, other Match Official or Match Official Support Personnel or any other third person (including a spectator) during an International Match”
According to the guidance notes for the offence –
Article 2.1.4 includes: (a) excessively audible or repetitious swearing; and (b) obscene gestures which are not directed at another person, such as swearing in frustration at one’s own poor play or fortune. In addition, this offence is not intended to penalise trivial behaviour. [Emphasis added]
When assessing the seriousness of the breach, the Umpire shall be required to take into account the context of the particular situation and whether the words or gesture are likely to: (a) be regarded as obscene; (b) give offence; or (c) insult another person.
This offence is not intended to cover any use of language or gestures that are likely to offend another person on the basis of their race, religion, gender, colour, descent, national or ethnic origin. Such conduct is prohibited under the ICC’s Anti-Racism Code and must be dealt with according to the procedures set out therein.
According to Mr Gabriel’s account of the matter, “The exchange occurred during a tense moment on the field. The pressure was on and England’s captain Joe Root was looking at me intensely as I prepared to bowl, which may have been the usual psychological strategy with which all Test cricketers are familiar.
“I recognize now that I was attempting to break through my own tension when I said to Joe Root: ‘Why are you smiling at me? Do you like boys?’
“His response, which was picked up by the microphone, was: ‘Don’t use it as an insult. There’s nothing wrong with being gay.’ I then responded: ‘I have no issues with that, but you should stop smiling at me.'”
Clearly, if we accept this version of events, and it has not been contradicted to my best knowledge, the charge would have been based on the premise that the language used by Mr Gabriel to Mr Root was obscene, or offensive or insulting. Arguably, at the very least, it was not obscene, and even if “offensive” is taken in an objective sense to mean “liable to be reasonably interpreted as offensive”; I am of the opinion that it would not meet that threshold, given the nature of the statement in its interrogative form. For the same reason, it could be deemed “insulting” at a stretch only, given the nature of Mr Root’s response indicating that while in his view Mr Gabriel might have intended it as such, he was not himself insulted, added to the unlikelihood of a reasonable man feeling insulted by such a query in that context.
In my view, Mr Gabriel’s question was converted into an assertion of fact and thus construed as offensive and insulting at the same time. This altered construction would have been owed substantially to Mr Root’s response that treated Mr Gabriel’s question as an allegation that he, Mr Root, was gay.
Otherwise put, Mr Gabriel’s question was transformed into one of those in Latin preceded by “Nonne” or “Num” that suggests the answer –
“The second method of forming questions in Latin is used when a specific answer is anticipated or preferred. “Nonne” is used when a yes answer is expected and “Num” is used when a no answer is expected.” The distinction is among “You like boys, don’t you?” [Nonne]“You don’t like boys, do you?”[Num] and “Do you like boys?”[Gabriel]
A perusal of the historical incidence of the use of this Article to punish offenders makes for interesting contrast. On January 9 last year, Taranjit Bharaj of Denmark, after not taking an obvious second run, shouted “F…” which was heard off the field of play… it was so loud. Then, on August 30, Bilal Khan of Oman used offensive language towards the opponent’s wicket keeper after hitting the winning run. Earlier, on March 8, our own Ashley Nurse, after a delivery of his was hit for a boundary, shouted an expletive very loudly which was picked up by the stump mike. And, for identical conduct, Rubel Hossain of Bangladesh was reprimanded on August 18 while Syed Aziz of Malaysia was even more flagrant. According to the ICC website, when bowling, Aziz ran towards the batsman and yelled an expletive- https://www.icccricket.com/about/cricket/rules-and-regulations/code-of-conduct
From these scenarios, it can be inferred that the mischief aimed at here is the use of audible expletives on the field, whether or not directed at oneself, a player or official, an instance far removed from Mr Gabriel’s confessed infringement in this case.
It is acknowledged, nevertheless, that players, by their participation in ICC matches, agree to submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of any Match Referee, Judicial Commissioner or Appeal Panel convened under the Code of Conduct to hear and determine charges brought (and any appeals in relation thereto) pursuant to the Code of Conduct; and not to bring any proceedings in any court or other forum that are inconsistent with the foregoing submission to the jurisdiction of the Match Referee, Judicial Commissioner or Appeal Panel. –Article 1 of the Code.
More over, in any case, whether rightly or wrongly (!), Mr Gabriel pleaded guilty to the charge. So matter fix’. I would have advised him differently, though. And is a demerit point the most rehabilitative remedy in the circumstances?
ONE thing West Indians can be certain is that on the eve of an international cricket Test series there will be at least ONE controversy to serve to distract the team from the job of winning. And to expose the failings of our regional institutions.
The ICC Men’s Test Rankings support the view that #8 ranked West Indies out of 10 Test playing countries will have its work cut-out to beat a #2 ranked England team. The first Test is scheduled to start in Barbados on the 23 January 2019.
The question West Indians fans must ask therefore- why do our cricket administrators continue to debate issues that should be resolved in the board room and at the Secretariat? Perhaps there is a naive view held by the directors of Cricket West Indies (CWI) that shouting across island boundaries will not impact player performance AND the moral of a dwindling spectator base. The current state of West Indies cricket continues to spiral southward and it is worthy of note that although the current #8 Test Rankings positions West Indies above Bangladesh, we were beaten by them in the last series and they are just ONE point behind the West Indies.
What is the latest brouhaha?
The decision by CWI to appoint Richard Pybus has triggered a shouting match between two CWI Directors Enoch Lewis from Antigua and Conde Riley from Barbados. Lewis is critical of the process that led to Pybus’ selection. Riley has rebutted Lewis by sharing with the public on a radio show that the matter was discussed at Board and voted on.
At this stage of the argument it does not matter who is right or wrong. What matters is the inability of our cricket administrators to manage the cricket utilizing the best governance practices readily available.It has not gone unnoticed by the blogmaster that many of the Directors were educated in the region. We were unable to find a link to the CWI Board of Directors to determine level of formal training.
The blogmaster has held his nose to develop the view on the merit of appointing Pybus as Head coach of the West Indies team given his unflattering resume.
Here we are – as a West Indian cricket fan – having to witness the spectacle of cricket administrators and supporting cast, embarrassing the hell out of a people AGAIN. Although Test cricket does not hold the high place on the list for sports fans in the former colonies compared to the past. Let us accept that our inability to efficiently lead cricket reflects a large failing by people of the region to effectively lead most things.
[Barbados Underground] It is unfortunate that Barbadians and what is suppose to be a cricket loving region has not felt the urge to stridently protest a decision by the UK government to deport Collis King. There is no need to detail the cricket bio of the 67 year old all-rounder. His crime: he applied for a visa to live with his British wife while resident in Britain, this type of visa must be requested while residing outside of the country. From all reports Collis King has been living and working in the UK for the last 40 years.
Caribbean Life Newspaper, July 29 – August 2, 2018
The captioned article refers to an offer by Colin Graves, chairman of the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) to ‘assist’ Collis King in his immigration ‘matter’. The blogmaster unhesitatingly adds his tuppence to the discussion by calling for the UK government to do the right thing and at this late stage extend all courtesy to Mr. Collis King- a famous cricket who has lived in that country for decades. The manner which he has been treated so far not least the confiscation of his passport at the airport as he was ibeing deported to Barbados.
The blogmaster will resist pulling the race card. However, how can anybody explain why the UK foreign office (government) would not have felt compelled to intervene? The UK is a cricket playing nation – creator of the cricket game – surely there was time to halt the deportation action when the name Collis King was whispered to someone at King Charles Street?
The pride of a great West Indian warrior has been forever harmed, however, there is still the opportunity for the UK government to deliver ‘satisfaction’ to King with the urgency the matter deserves!
Many will remember Collis King for the innings he played in the 1979 World Cup final in a partnership with Viv Richards.
The blogmaster makes special mention of Heather Cole for bringing this matter to the fore.
DAVID A. COMISSIONG, President, Clement Payne Movement, Citizen of the Caribbean, and Lover of West Indies Cricket
How shameful it was to witness the gleeful rejoicing of the members of the West Indies cricket team in the wake of their fortuitous and totally undeserved victory over Scotland — a non- test status, associate member team of the International Cricket Council (ICC).
These men — supposed heirs to the great West Indian cricketing tradition of such immortals as George Headley,Sir Frank Worrell, Sir Garfield Sobers, Clive Lloyd, and Sir Vivian Richards — seemingly had no qualms about celebrating the fact that it took a manifestly erroneous umpiring decision, the intervention of a shower of rain, and the complicated calculations designed by Messers Duckworth and Lewis to “gift” them a 5 run victory over a Cricket team that is regarded as a minnow in international cricket!
But, as hurtful and shameful as this experience was, it should not have come as a surprise to any of us.
Let us recall that less than a year ago – on 20th June 2017 to be precise – Darren Sammy, our former West Indies cricket captain, prophetically warned us as follows:-
“I am very scared for the future of West Indies cricket …………I am scared that we might be relegated to the league of the Irelands and Scotlands, playing against these guys which is very, very sad — if something doesn’t change. And at the moment, the guy (Cricket West Indies president, Whycliffe “Dave” Cameron) has just been re-elected for another term. I can’t see it happening for us. It’s very sad for us.”
(Published in the Nation Newspaper of Barbados on 21-06-17)
At the time, I came out publicly and stated that Itotally agreed with Darren Sammy . West Indies cricket, I felt, would go nowhere but DOWN under the immature, self-centered, and self-righteous leadership of current Cricket West Indies president Whycliffe “Dave” Cameron and the social class that he is a representative of.
I also took the opportunity to renew my call for the resignation of Mr Cameron – a call that I had first made when he presided over the backward decision to remove the Combined Campuses and Colleges (CCC) team from our regional one day cricket competition on the most ridiculous and frivolous of grounds, and I repeated the Call when his irresponsible and self-centred actions led to the abandonment of the West Indies cricket tour of India.
As far as I was concerned, the honourable and responsible thing for Mr. Cameron to do – in his capacity as President and leader of the WICB – was to publicly accept a considerable measure of responsibility for the Indian fiasco that had taken place; to publicly apologize to the Indian Cricket Board; and to resign from office.
Needless-to-say no such resignation was forthcoming then, and none ever will! And the reason it will not happen is not because of any special peculiarity of Mr. Cameron’s character or personality! Rather, it will not happen because the members of the Caribbean social class that Mr. Cameron belongs to simply do not behave in that manner!
The sad reality throughout our Caribbean is that a new bourgeois class has taken over the key leadership positions in Government, in the professions, and in important areas of national and regional life such as Cricket Administration. And it is such a self-absorbed class that its members find it extremely difficult to accept personal responsibility for anything, or to recognize that there are causes or institutions whose interests take precedence over their own personal individual interests.
These social elements have capitalized on the relative apathy and marginalization of the working class, and have constituted themselves into an entrenched elite or in-group, equipped with their own narrow group interests, and with a narrow, self-serving value system. Furthermore, many, if not most, members of this “class” have convinced themselves that they are entitled as of right to positions of privilege, wealth and comfort in our societies. This, in turn, is manifested in their unceasing jockeying for and pursuit of positions of status – privileged “jobs” – in national and regional political and Administrative structures, not least of which is the leadership and administrative structure of the WICB.
Many, if not most, of them are contemptuous of the working class base from which they have sprung. As a result, they possess no substantial roots in our region’s history of race and class struggle, and are therefore incapable of truly appreciating the value of the fruits of such struggles – whether such “fruits” are the sacred cultural institution of West Indies Cricket or — in the case of my island home of Barbados — the famous Barbadian system of free secondary and tertiary education!
The same social element that is incapable of perceiving that the interests of the people’s institution of West Indies Cricket dwarfs their own personal interests, is the same social element that – in national governments throughout our region – is incapable of recognizing and defending the precious social-democratic gains that generations of Caribbean sufferers struggled so hard to achieve.
We, the masses of Caribbean people—the so-called ordinary citizens of the Caribbean– therefore cannot simply sit back and expect these supposed leaders to act responsibility and selflessly, not even where our beloved game of West Indies Cricket is concerned. Left to Cameron and his ilk, they will complacently look on while the once mighty West Indies Cricket team is reduced to a genuine and certified “minnow” in contemporary international Cricket, as long as they –the so-called Administrators– can continue to enjoy an elevated social status and the financial rewards that go with that status.
Some form of determined mass activism has to emerge from the base of our societies if our Caribbean Community is to get back on track with its historic liberatory struggle!
If we truly want to preserve the WICB, West Indies Cricket, “free” education, public health care, welfare provisions, worker rights, national sovereignty, and the list goes on – the people at the base of our societies and such working class-based institutions as the trade unions and the grass-roots cricket organizations (like the “Barbados Cricket League“) will have to bestir themselves and unite around a concrete people’s agenda.
Jeff Cumberbatch – Chairman of the FTC and Deputy Dean, Law Faculty, UWI, Cave Hill
“It’s not whether you win or lose, but how you play the game that matters” –Gerry Richards in a postscript to his radio sports show in the 60’s
For the second year in succession, the West Indies Under-19 cricket team at the International Cricket Council’s World Cup competition has been involved in the dismissal of an opposing player that while unarguably within the laws of the game, may nevertheless conflict sharply with what some choose to call the spirit of the game.
It should be recalled that last year in the tournament in Bangladesh, the team ran out the non-striking Zimbabwean number eleven batsman with the match hanging on a razor’s edge; I believe that Zimbabwe needed to score three runs only to win the game. That decisive run-out was effected by way of the “Mankad”; the eponymous dismissal whereby the bowler pauses mid-stride in his run-up to break the stumps and thereby catch the non-striker, who is backing up too far, out of his ground. The spirit of the game, according to some, would have required that the bowler first warn the batsman not to venture out of his crease again otherwise he will suffer the consequences and be run-out.
On this occasion, against South Africa, the South African batsman played forward to a delivery which rolled back dangerously towards the stumps. The youngster, perhaps mindful of the rumoured perils of hitting the ball twice, watched the ball’s progress carefully, without touching it with his bat or hand, until it had come to a complete stop. He then proceeded, as he must have seen a number of his seniors do on countless occasions in Test and other matches, and in a spirit of assistance, to gently lob the ball to the wicketkeeper-captain who immediately proceeded to query the umpires as to whether this did not amount to a dismissal. In fact and in law, it does, and the batsman was accordingly given out for “obstructing the field”.
According to Law 37.1.1
Either batsman is out Obstructing the field if, except in the circumstances of 37.2, and while the ball is in play, he/she wilfully attempts to obstruct or distract the fielding side by word or action.”[Emphasis mine]
Two points bear further observation here. First, it is doubtful whether the impugned action in this instance could be reasonably considered to have been a “wilful attempt to obstruct the fielding side” as is stipulated and, second, had the batsman indeed struck the still moving ball, he could not have been given out as he appeared to believe, on my interpretation of Law 34.3 –
The striker may, solely in order to guard his/her wicket and before the ball has been touched by a fielder, lawfully strike the ball a second or subsequent time with the bat, or with any part of his/her person other than a hand not holding the bat. [Emphasis added]
Cricket might be popularly known as a game of glorious uncertainty. It is also a game of quirky oddities among which the current controversy might well be numbered. Unlike other games, cricket is not satisfied with mere rules; rather describing its regulations as the more lofty “Laws”. Moreover, befitting its appellation of the “gentleman’s game”, there exist a number of conventions that are applied in the course of the game and that, by definition, do not always accord with the letter of the Laws or require their strict enforcement.
For instance, there is nothing to prevent a batsman from taking advantage of a throw at the stumps that strikes his bat and goes away into the outfield to run extra runs as overthrows, but it is just not done. According to another axiom, it is not cricket. And while the “Mankad” form of dismissal may be justified in that the non-striker is availing himself of the advantage of completing a run over a shorter distance, and is thus contributory to his own demise, no similarly unfair or dishonest act was perceived in the most recent incident.
These behaviours are all part of the “playing culture” of the game. In their text, Sports Law(2001), Gardiner et al define playing culture as “informal and rarely defined rules of strategy”. The authors emphasize the negative aspects of this concept, instancing the use of “sledging” in cricket, but they also make reference to the clamant need for fair play generally in modern sport, as is illustrated at a general level by the prosecution of participator violence, the prohibition of drug abuse in sports and the proscription of the exploitation of young athletes.
The Council of Europe in its ministerial document, Code of Sports Ethics: Fair Play- the Winning Way (1992) defines fair play as “much more than playing within the rules. It incorporates the concepts of friendship, respect for others and always playing with the right spirit. Fair play is a way of thinking, not just a way of behaving. It incorporates issues concerned with the elimination of cheating, gamesmanship, doping violence (both physical and verbal) exploitation, unequal opportunities, excessive commercialization and corruption.”
The difficulty of applying these criteria directly to cricket would appear to be derived from the protean nature of the game where it is sought to assess a particular incident for fairness. The laws go in one direction, the playing culture or winning strategy goes in another and the code of ethics in yet a third way. It is this conundrum that makes it so complicated a task to critique the recent appeal of the West Indies captain. He was clearly within the laws; and the strategy of appealing proved effective in that context.
Should it at all matter that he is reported as saying that on reflection, given the identical situation again, he would not have appealed? This might suggest that his conscience is sufficiently pricked as to the ethical nature of his decision, but alas, there are no “do-overs” in this context.
The glorious uncertainty referred to above might appertain to more than the unpredictability of a result.
Submitted by DAVID A. COMISSIONG, Citizen of the Caribbean, and Lover of West Indies Cricket
In an article published in Barbados’ NATION Newspaper of Wednesday 21st June 2017 under the headline Sammy Slams CWI Over Decline, former West Indies cricket captain Darren Sammy stated as follows:-
I am very scared for the future of West Indies cricket …………I am scared that we might be relegated to the league of the Irelands and Scotlands, playing against these guys which is very, very sad — if something doesn’t change. And at the moment, the guy (Cricket West Indies president, Whycliffe “Dave” Cameron) has just been re-elected for another term. I can’t see it happening for us. It’s very sad for us.
I totally agree with Darren Sammy! West Indies cricket can go nowhere but DOWN under the immature, self-centered, and self-righteous leadership of current Cricket West Indies president Whycliffe “Dave” Cameron and the social class that he is a representative of !
This is a matter that I addressed in a Newspaper article some two and a half years ago, at the time of the imbroglio involving Mr Cameron and the Cricket Board of India. That article was entitled “Deconstructingthe WICB’s Dave Cameron And The Class That He Represents”.
In light of Darren Sammy’s poignant and righteous heartfelt CRY, I think it would be useful to re-publish the said article. I now do so as follows:-
“By a letter dated the 31st of October 2014, the “Board of Control For Cricket In India” (BCCI) wrote to the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) as follows:-
Dear Mr Cameron,
The WICB gave the BCCI a binding commitment that it will field its team in India for a total of 9 matches………..
On the eve of the first ODI in Kochi on 8th October 2014, you intimated to the BCCI that, on account of some disputes between you and your players, the WICB was considering pulling out of the tour………
Finally, after the fourth ODI at Dharamshala on 17th October 2014, you pulled out your team and communicated your decision to cancel the remainder of the Tour.
The adverse financial ramifications and the negative impact of your action to unilaterally cancel the remainder to the Tour was well within your understanding, yet you still went ahead and cancelled the Tour…………………
The consequences of cancellation….. is a monumental disaster for the BCCI…………… In plain economic terms, the BCCI can tentatively quantify its losses as ……… USD $41.97 Million.
The BCCI calls upon the WICB to formally inform the BCCI, in writing, of the steps it intends to take to compensate the BCCCI towards the losses quantified above as well as those losses yet to be quantified…………..
Pending resolutions of all disputes the BCCI suspends all bilateral cricketing relations with the WICB.
Hon. Secretary, BCCI
The President of the WICB – Mr Whycliffe “Dave” Cameron – received this chilling letter against the background of an earlier warning delivered to the WICB by their accountants – KPMG – that the WICB was already in such severe debt that there was “substantial doubt that the company (the WICB) will be able to continue as a going concern”.
Mr Cameron also received this letter in the full knowledge that he himself had contributed significantly to the escalation of the crisis that is now threatening to engulf and destroy West Indies cricket, by his prideful, obstinate and arrogant refusal to communicate any willingness on his part to compromise with the disaffected West Indian cricketers. (Yes, some blame can be attached to the players, but clearly the bulk of the blame has to be laid at the feet of Mr. Cameron and his fellow administrators, for, as leaders of the WICB, the proverbial buck stops with them.)
And so, what was Mr. Whycliffe “Dave” Cameron’s response to this situation of grave existential crisis facing the historic and crucial Caribbean institution that he has been entrusted with the sacred duty to lead, guide and protect?
Well, according to the Nation Newspaper of Tuesday 4th November 2014, one of Mr. Cameron’s responses was to avail himself of his internet Twitter account, and to tweet the following message to the world at large – and no doubt to the officials of the Indian Cricket Board:-
They’ve criticized you. They’ve doubted you. They’ve lied on you. They’ve done all they can do, but one thing they can’t do is stop you.
Really, Mr. Cameron? Is that the appropriate response to the life and death situation facing the WICB and West Indies cricket? Even when faced with such a monumental threat to the institutions that have been entrusted to your care, you still can’t see beyond your own personal interests, your own pride, your own sense of grievance? Even now, as we totter on the precipice, is it still all about you?
As far as I am concerned, the honourable and responsible thing for Mr. Cameron to do – in his capacity as President and leader of the WICB – is to publicly accept a considerable measure of responsibility for the fiasco that has taken place; to publicly apologize to the BCCI; and to resign from office, thereby clearing the path for a new and reconstituted WICB leadership to engage with the BCCI in an effort to negotiate away the financial death sentence that is currently hanging over the head of West Indies cricket.
But, I can assure you that this will never happen! And the reason it will not happen is because the members of the Caribbean social class that Mr. Cameron belongs to simply do not behave in that manner!
The sad reality throughout our Caribbean is that a new bourgeois class has taken over the key leadership positions in Government, in the professions, and in important areas of national and regional life such as Cricket Administration.
This is the class of crassly self-centered and opportunistic people who , in the 1980’s, we used to refer to as YUPPIES or BUPPIES. And it is such a self-absorbed class that its members find it extremely difficult to accept personal responsibility for anything, or to recognize that there are causes or institutions whose interests take precedence over their own personal individual interests.
These social elements have capitalized on the relative apathy and marginalization of the working class, and have constituted themselves into an entrenched elite or in-group, equipped with their own narrow group interests, and with a narrow, self-serving value system.
Furthermore, many, if not most, members of this “class” have convinced themselves that they are entitled as of right to positions of privilege, wealth and comfort in our societies. This, in turn, is manifested in their unceasing jockeying for and pursuit of positions of status – privileged “jobs” – in national and regional political and Administrative structures, not least of which is the leadership and administrative structure of the WICB.
Many, if not most, of them are contemptuous of the working class base from which they have sprung. As a result, they possess no substantial roots in our region’s history of race and class struggle, and are therefore incapable of truly appreciating the value of the fruits of such struggles – whether such “fruits” are the sacred cultural institution of West Indies Cricket or the famous Barbadian system of free secondary and tertiary education!
The same social element that is incapable of perceiving that the interests of the people’s institution of West Indies Cricket dwarfs their own personal interests, is the same social element that – in national governments throughout our region – is incapable of recognizing and defending the precious social-democratic gains that generations of Caribbean sufferers struggled so hard to achieve.
The masses of Caribbean people—the so-called ordinary citizens of the Caribbean– therefore cannot simply sit back and expect these supposed leaders to act responsibility and selflessly. They, at the very least, have to be pushed, and we have to be the ones pushing them – howling and screaming – in the direction of duty and responsibility!
Some form of determined mass activism has to emerge from the base of our Caribbean societies! If we want to preserve the WICB, West Indies Cricket, “free” education, public health care, welfare provisions, trade union power, worker rights, national sovereignty, and the list goes on – the people at the base of our societies and their institutions (trade unions, churches, sports clubs, community based organizations, cooperatives, credit unions etc. ) will have to bestir themselves and unite around a concrete people’s agenda.
West Indies cricket is as good a place as any to start! I therefore say – let there be such a loud and determined expression of outrage by the legions of ordinary cricket fans of the Caribbean, that Mr. Whycliffe “Dave” Cameron is forced – howling and screaming– to do the right thing!”
And so, we have a very serious structural class and socialization problem that we have to deal with, and it will not be easy to do so. Indeed, it will call for a determined, long term effort to bring about the transformation of culture and cultural values in our regional nation.
But let us at least — in the immediate short term– deal with the egregious problem of Mr. Whycliffe “Dave” Cameron !
As we continue to witness the tragic and humiliating constantly accelerating decline of West Indies cricket, it has become absolutely clear that the only “right thing” where Mr. Whycliffe “Dave” Cameron is concerned is that he MUST go !
Cameron must be removed from the leadership of West Indies cricket in order that committed servants of the game– cricketer patriots of the ilk of Darren Sammy for example and administrators who genuinely love and are committed to the game of Cricket –may take up and play their rightful roles in helping to revive and rebuild West Indies cricket.
I trust that readers are not misled by today’s caption into thinking that I am writing for a second successive week on the economic misfortunes of Barbados; a circumstance that I chose to refer to last week as “our darkest hour”. As would be widely known by now, Barbados’s sovereign credit rating was downgraded on Thursday of last week by Moody’s, thereby confirming a similar and earlier failing assessment of its fellow rating agency, Standard & Poor’s.
I suppose that for those among us who are given to counting these things, these would amount to two downgrades in raw numbers, although I am more partial to the notion that the latter assessment should serve merely as corroborative of the first rather than a discrete downgrade itself; indeed, on paper it appears to be ostensibly better than the S&P rating-Caa3 as opposed to CCC+. So it is not a cumulative downgrade or a downgrade from S&P’s earlier assessment; it is, rather, a downgrade from Moody’s last assessment. Not to put too fine a point on it, it remains an unacceptable rating nevertheless.
Even more nettlesome is the turgid notation to the Moody’s rating, -“the stable outlook on the Caa3 rating reflects the high probability of a credit event in the next 2-3 years, and reflects a balance of risks between lower and higher levels of loss given default”.
I readily concede that I am not versed in the jargon of global financing but my limited skills in the interpretation of language inform that a “credit event” does not foreshadow the granting of a sizable loan on easy terms, in much the same way that a “cardiac event” does not portend a love affair! And while a “high probability” does not equate to certainty or even places the matter beyond the familiar reasonable doubt, it carries the sense of being “more likely than not”. Against this likelihood is the enviable Barbados record hitherto of never failing to repay a debt incurred. We trust that this shall continue unimpaired.
Suitably stung by this poor grade, the governing administration has chosen to react as would have any student identically situated and to urge focus not on the mark awarded but on the overall integrity and cultural capacity of the individual examinee. “You may give a failing mark but you do not thereby make me a failure”. I have heard it often throughout the years. After these initial reactions of incredulity and rationalization should come that of acceptance and, ultimately, the resolution to improve. This last is not always readily forthcoming, however.
I choose today, however, to focus on another downgrade, perhaps of lesser consequence, that also occurred on Thursday last. This was the relegation of the regional cricket team to a lowly ninth position in the world rankings and therefore currently, though temporarily only, out of the running to qualify for the next ICC ODI World Cup in 2019 that will comprise the top eight teams.
Let me here enter the caveat necessary whenever a commentator who has not at least played cricket at least in the local first division attempts to offer an opinion on the state of the game at any level in the region. I console myself, nevertheless, with the celebrated dictum from CLR James “What do they know of cricket who only cricket know?”
And the decline of the regional side seems an apt metaphor for the decline in our economic fortunes over the years. In one sense,there has been an undesirable devaluation of the brand in both cases. Time was when Barbados was ranked at a heady level among the developing countries of the world and commended for “punching above its weight” whatever that meant, as was once the West Indies ODI side during the decade of the seventies when we won the first two World Cup contests in London in 1975 and 1979 and lost the final in the third by 43 runs to India in 1983.
Both entities have subsequently descended rapidly from those lofty perches, and while I am prepared to leave it to others perhaps better informed to ascribe the reasons for the decline in our economic fortunes, I posit that our cricket decline may be attributed to a cocktail of bizarre selection policies, a preoccupation with self, a failure to come to terms with a changing environment, a regrettable absence of self-confidence and a woeful dearth of the concentration and focus necessary to succeed in any undertaking.
Having written these, I suppose that it might fairly be argued that the metaphor is even further actualized and that similar reasons might be advanced for our current economic misfortunes.
Our selection policies in the recent ODI series against England beggar belief. Apart from changes enforced through injury, we seemed to have been content to field the same team throughout the three matches in spite of some rather novel and exciting additions to the original squad. Second, we remain engrossed with the number of locals in the team as if that were a relevant and not a distracting factor in the moulding of a necessary team spirit. Third, we appear to be victims of our history whereby a single outstanding performance by a player in a different context is liable, after the fashion of the ancient Greeks, to guarantee that player the keys to the city and a pension (or, in this case, a spot on the team) for life.
So far as the changing environment is concerned, just as we have been substantially smitten in certain respects by the global economic downturn given the vicarious dependence of our economic fortunes on those of others, we appear in the cricket context to have over-relied on our historical status, blithely ignoring the reality that others have restructured their modus operandi to confront the opposition. We are thus preparing to play 1980 Australia and England while they are fielding remodeled teams of the twenty-first century against us.
The surface difference of course is that in the economic context we might be considered to have been innocent victims of circumstance while we may fairly be charged in the cricketing context with having failed to adapt to our habitat, a certain recipe for destruction. However, in both cases it may be submitted that we have failed to adapt in that in the economic context we have persisted with the same paradigm despite the change in the global economic outlook.
Much like another metaphor, that of the boiling frog.
The following Advocate Editorial is reproduced for the benefit of the few loyal cricket fans to be found lurking on Barbados Underground.
Maybe to those of a certain age, popularly referred to as the millennial generation, sometimes as millennials, or frequently as the quizzically titled Generation Y, it may merely be classed as the stuff of legend, but there was indeed a time when our regional team stood at the apex of the cricketing world; when most fans in the region stayed awake all night to follow the commentary when we played in Australia; when people walked with transistor radios glued to their ears, inevitably requested time and again to provide some inquiring stranger with the latest score; when schools were granted an entire day off during local Test matches and when it seemed that all was right with the region and, indeed, the world.
Alas, these times have changed significantly and what was once our passion has now become enveloped in a pall of disinterest consistent with much else in the region besides; a disinterest that even our two successive triumphs in the lottery of World T20 cricket competitions have been unable to diffuse.
And this lack of accomplishment appears moreover to pervade the entire cricket administration – from the CARICOM sub-committee on cricket whose chairman, Gr Keith Mitchell, Prime Minister of Grenada, resigned this position earlier this week because he felt that his colleagues had undermined his chairmanship by reneging on earlier agreed positions to the players themselves.
Given the degree of Dr. Mitchell’s avidity to replace the current management of West Indian cricket with an alternative administration, it is scarcely surprising that this enthusiasm is not wholly shared by some of his regional colleagues who might see their own electoral fates reflected in that of the West Indies Cricket Board [WICB] through an identical loss of popular support.
The current morass does not stop there. The WICB itself, no model administrator, has managed to alienate many of the fans of the regional game over the years with its apparently dictatorial approach and its crass adoption of an attitude of master and servant to its relationship with its employees and the players.
Nor, as earlier suggested, are these last any less culpable, even though there are more than a few fans who, as Pontius Pilate did, can find no fault in any of them. Nevertheless an alarming and unarguable lack of performance, together with a regrettable sense of entitlement, has managed to estrange a significant number of former cricket aficionados over the last two decades.
Of course, there is the view that all this disenchantment may be put down to our relatively disappointing record and there may be some validity in such a thesis. After all, we are a people that revel in victory and are highly intolerant of defeat, especially those of the humiliating kind.
We have clearly reached a critical point in our cricketing culture, one that requires us to consider whether the game is so embedded in our psyches and that we have invested so much in it financially and emotionally that any contemplation of its abandonment as a regional outfit is out of the question, or whether we may yet continue as individual units or whether, despite the historical significance of the game, the time has come for us to bid it farewell and to concentrate our energies elsewhere.
This, we accept, may be viewed as an extreme circumstance. It may be pure coincidence however, that as we are preparing this, the West Indies has just succumbed to Pakistan in Dubai by another large margin of defeat in a T20 match, the version of the game in which it has reaped most global success.
The time has come and has been long overdue for the revamping of the West Indies Cricket Board and its band of myopic nomadic members, whose purpose is to splurge off of West Indies cricket for their own personal gains and to keep West Indies cricket a submerged state in the cricketing world. It is quite clear that the Board is out of control and is not accountable to no one but themselves. With the latest episode of the firing of Darren Sammy as captain and player of the 20/20 team, who has been the most successful captain in recent years and who had held the team together at a time when there was no discipline or order among the players?
Since the Board is not accountable to the governments of the region and does not acknowledge any of the recommendations put forth by them, then it is up the people of the Caribbean to boycott the cricket, by not attending the games. The boycott in 1992 sent a strong message to the Board then and was very successful in bringing changes to the game. It is rather clear that the Board is using strong arm tactics to control the cricket, players and coaches that do not conform or follow their regime will not be tolerated by axing them.
It would appear that the Board does not subscribe to any player or coach who is out spoken and feels threatened by their actions to stand up for the players. In recent years, the Board has seen it fit to purge themselves of any players, coaches or selectors who went against the grain. One can see clearly that it is the Boards intentions not to tolerate anyone who is out spoken and only surround themselves with “YES” men that they can control. Over the years, there has been a number of ex test cricketers the Board has distance themselves from and continue to do so, because they are very out spoken and no nonsense individuals like the Brian Lara’s and Sir Vivian Richards to name a few, all who can make a valuable contributions to West Indies cricket. As recent as this year, the Board rid itself of it’s out spoken Chairman of Selectors Clive Lloyd and replace him with a “YES” man and Lloyd in turn given the newly created post of Special Ambassador.
There have been too many controversies and embarrassments over the years in West Indies cricket by the current Board and it is high time that this band of self imposing radicals be curtailed from office, in order for West Indies cricket to rise again to its glory days. Since the governments of the Caribbean or any of its committees that were selected to formulate a path forward for West Indies cricket, does not have the fangs to bring about changes within the Board to any of the recommendations that they put forward, then the people of the Caribbean has to stand up to the Board. It’s the people that have the power in their hands to force the Board hand in implementing changes to the way it does its business, by not supporting the gates when the West Indies team is playing in their individual territories. If there are no spectators, then there is no money going through the turnstiles, then the Board would have to change their way of running the board, that is, if they are truly interested in West Indies cricket rising from the ashes and not their own personal goals.
What an inept West Indies Cricket Board and a bunch of jokers for selectors on a road to nowhere. I just happen by chance while turning around in the kitchen, to hear one of the selectors say that hardly anyone was at Kensington Oval watching the cricket and that it was very disappointing.
Well, what do they expect? Bajans are very knowledgeable about their cricket and if the selectors continue not to select the best team regardless to whom they are playing, even if we qualify as a minnow like the current West Indies team; then West Indies cricket will always be at the bottom of the ladder.
How can you be playing One Day Cricket against teams like Australia and South Africa and not be playing your best players like Gayle, Russell and Simmons because of a dumb archaic rule? You are playing at home and have the advantage of calling up other players to fill the void such as opener Kraigg Brathwaite, J L.Carter or the Barbados wicket keeper S O. Dowrich who scored runs against the same Australians and yet the selectors continue to play the same team, game after game.
How can you say that you select a team for the first four games? What happens if you lose the first three, are you saying that you are not changing the team? No wonder the West Indies Cricket Board continues to do as they like because they are not accountable to anyone but themselves. One thing for sure, I know that I am one person, who is not going to watch West Indies cricket or breakup my nights rest to listen to commentary about a bunch of second rated cricketers.
I have not gone into Kensington Oval since it has been remodelled because of the poor standard of cricket, and I cannot ever see myself going to watch the West Indies, unless the high standard of cricket and cricketers that I grew up watching, return from those glory days when cricket was cricket. It is sad to see that my boycott in 1992 at Kensington Oval against the board and its selection policies improve has gone to nought.
Submitted by David Comissiong, President, Clement Payne Movement
So, why didn’t the Government of Barbados confer our country’s highest national honour on Tony Cozier during his lifetime? Why wasn’t he “Sir Tony Cozier”?
Similarly, why didn’t our regional university– the University of the West Indies – confer an honorary doctorate on Tony Cozier, as they have done for so many other less deserving Caribbean personalities? Why wasn’t he known as Dr. Tony Cozier?
The failure by Barbadian and Caribbean “officialdom” to properly appreciate and honour the late Tony Cozier is a cause for shame, and speaks volumes about the lack of understanding and the skewed value system of our national and regional leadership institutions!
There can be no doubt that Tony Cozier was a great “West Indian” and was deserving of the highest honours that our regional leadership has the power to confer.
But, don’t take it from me alone. Listen instead to the measured and weighty opinion of the eminent ground-breaking Caribbean “New World” economist and scholar – the late Lloyd Best.
Back in the year 1999, Lloyd Best, in collaboration with George Lamming, marked the turn of the millennium with the publication of a major compendium of West Indian or Caribbean writings entitled “Enterprise of the Indies”. And in an article titled “My All-Time West Indian Cricket Squad”, Lloyd Best declaimed as follows:-
“My starting line-up would read: Hunte, Greenidge, Headley, Richards, Sobers, Worrell, Walcott, Marshall, Holding, Roberts, Gibbs. The opening attack would normally be Sobers (2-3 overs) and Holding.
Finally, I would add Tony Cozier to make a squad of 18 in all. I fail to see how West Indies could ever travel without him. His writing may well be our most crucial resource.”
Now, Lloyd Best put his focus on the Cricket writings of Tony Cozier, but, as we all know, Cozier’s contribution went way beyond his exploits in the field of print journalism.
For close to 50 years Tony Cozier was “our man” – our representative West Indian man – in England, Australia, India, New Zealand, and in all the other regions of the world in which our West Indies Cricket team sojourned to be tested and assessed, not only for their Cricketing skills, but also for the value and worth of the people and “nation” that they represented.
And we had the comfort and assurance of knowing that even if our beloved Cricket team faltered on the field of battle, that our cause (and our worth as a people and “nation”) would still be held aloft in the commentary booth by our great Ambassador and champion – Tony Cozier!
Not only did we know that we could depend on Tony to self-evidently be the fairest and most knowledgeable, articulate and gracious commentator in the commentary box, but we also knew that we could depend on him to convey to the world-wide listening audience a mature and respectful sense of our trials, accomplishments, character, predicament, and dreams as a people and nation.
And let us be very clear about this. Tony Cozier was not merely the best West Indian or Caribbean cricket commentator: he was the best cricket commentator period! Like Sobers, Worrell and Headley before him, Tony Cozier proved that the very best in the entire world could emerge from a small Caribbean territory!
It also needs to be said that Tony Cozier was the outstanding example of the white Barbadian/West Indian who was able to come to terms with and transcend the racial contradictions and insecurities of the colonial era, and to fully embrace his identity as a citizen of the new predominantly Black independent nation.
This – as we all know – was not an easy task for many white Barbadians in the immediate post- Independence years of the late 1960’s. In fact, many of them opted to abandon Barbados and the Caribbean all together, and to run off to white Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
Tony Cozier was the living example par excellence of the alternative option – a sensitive understanding of the shared history, heritage and culture that makes it possible for black and white Barbadians/West Indians to embrace a new common destiny, and a rejection of the white supremacy value system and its inability to countenance black leadership and achievement.
The truth is that there was no Barbadian– white or black–who was more “Bajan” than Tony Cozier! Just as there was no Bajan who was more West Indian than Tony Cozier! Furthermore, our Tony Cozier was a living embodiment of the holistic interconnectedness between a Barbadian identity and a wider, and potentially even more powerful, West Indian or Caribbean identity!
It is perhaps fitting that one of the last and most powerful images that Tony Cozier would have carried to the after-life is the image of the victorious Women’s and Men’s West Indies T20 Cricket teams “standing on top of the world” and joyously celebrating their Championship victories – in true ebullient West Indian style – for the whole admiring world to see.
I have no doubt that Tony Cozier, the consummate West Indian/Caribbean man , would want us to commemorate and celebrate his life by rededicating ourselves – with seriousness and integrity – to the twin causes of building the Caribbean nation and recapturing the glory days of his and our beloved West Indian cricket team.
May the great man rest in peace! And may his name always be remembered by lovers of the noble game of Cricket!
I haven’t listened to cricket on the radio in decades but the passing of Tony Cozier has stirred some long dormant memories.
I can’t remember when I first heard Cozier on the radio but my first memories of listening to cricket was the WI tour of Australia in 1960-61 when as a sapling I was able to stay up late at night to listen to Johnny Moyes in a colourful Aussie accent on ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corp.)
Later during the WI tour of England in 1963 we were treated to the dulcet tones of John Arlott whose descriptive commentary of Cricket as well as the surrounding countryside provided a picture as vivid as any contemporary movie scene.
Cozier came on the scene sometime after that tour and I recall his voice on the radio as one of our own and that voice although lacking the timbre of some of the other commentators was very informative. I also remember his reports in that other media- newspapers- I believe he came from a media family as his family was involved with the Daily News (now defunct) and I seem to recall a column by his father EL Cozier which appeared under the byline ELC. The immediacy of TV has diminished the importance of the radio voice but those of the generation which came of age in the 60’s remember radio as our connection to the outside world and we relied on the eloquence of the person behind the mike to fuel our imagination and Cozier fit the bill.