Cricket – the game of glorious uncertainty

An important meeting is taking place in Grenada today (Friday) between the President of the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) and his members and some Prime Ministers of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).

Our Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell will host the meeting in his capacity as Chairman of the CARICOM Cricket Governance Committee.

The very sensitive issue of the dissolution of the WICB on the recommendation of the Governance Review Panel headed by Professor Eudine Barriteau, UWI Cave Hill Campus principal, will be a central issue in the discussions.

The meeting could be very contentious in light of the standoff over the past two weeks between PM Mitchell and board President, David Cameron on the request by the Prime Ministers for an early meeting to discuss the report of the panel.

THE NEW TODAY is anxiously awaiting the results of the meeting, as cricket is so near and dear to the hearts of thousands of Caribbean people whether living inside the region or elsewhere in the Diaspora.

The game cricket is one of the few things remaining that serves as a unifying force in the region.

The dismal performance of our players in the past 20 years has served to hurt and damage the West Indian psyche.

It can also be argued that the current state of the game is a clear reflection and manifestation of the existing conditions in many of the islands where the pool of players are selected.

That is why the Grenada meeting should be closely watched and followed in light of the prevailing circumstances in the region.

The Caribbean now has a generation of political leaders whose performances in office in their own respective countries are not much better than that of the West Indian cricket players in the international arena.

The leaders from Jamaica in the north to Guyana along the South American mainland have mismanaged their economies to the point that at various times they have had to run to the Washington-based International Monetary Fund (IMF) for bailouts with so-called “economic and financial packages” of austerity measures.

If is quite understandable that some persons are asking the question – Why is Satan trying to correct sin? Is Satan the right person to walk with the medicine kit to heal the ailing patient?

It is also equally important that our leaders are not allowed to take charge or be put in control of cricket matters in the region.

The Caribbean should resist such a move and to allow only persons deemed to be very independent and with good business sense to be at the helm of the structure of cricket in the region.

If these political leaders get a chance, they would return West Indies cricket to the days of bitterness and strife when the region’s team was selected against a particular background in which certain players were left out of the squad for too obvious reasons.

Former captain Clive Lloyd was able to mould a truly great West Indies team that conquered the world and the region and did our people very proud.

His team was the best and every player selected at the time truly deserved their place on the team.

There was no question of any player getting a place due to the composition of the selectors and their preference of looking in the direction of players from their own territories.

Our regional leaders have a vested interest in protecting their investments in all the stadia built in the various countries in recent years.

The truth of the matter is that some of the facilities can best be described as white elephants and are hardly utilized in any given 12 months of the year.

The situation becomes even more scary and frightening as the West Indies are only getting limited test matches these days due to the new structure governing ICC cricket.

The governments should also shoulder some of the blame for the decline of cricket in the region by their nonsensical policy of putting down a plethora of basketball courts all over the villages in order to be seen to be promoting youth and sport development.

A youngster who is a prime candidate to be a great West Indian fast bowler is now seen almost every day on the basketball court.

Do we honestly believe that he would get a lucrative scholarship to make it big in the NBA in the United States?

The huge size of Joel Garner, Colin Croft, Sylvester Clarke, and Wayne Daniel with ball in hand was just enough to scare any batsman whether from Australia, England, India or Pakistan.

Today, the typical West Indian fast bowler is so small in size that he himself might be intimated to bowl to any of the big name batsmen around the world.

It is doubtful whether the Prime Ministers themselves have the answers to the problems besetting West Indies cricket and should hasten slowly and do not give the people the impression that they want to take control and be put in the driver’s seat in the haste to replace what has become of the WICB.

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