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Who has power to initiate cricket change?

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

The issue is not whether the final report of the Caricom Cricket Review Panel makes sense and holds the possibility for reforming West Indies cricket, but rather it is a matter of how the Caricom Prime Ministerial Committee on the governance of WI cricket will get the West Indies Cricket Board to accept the major recommendation.

That recommendation is for “the immediate dissolution of the West Indies Cricket Board whose structure and composition will be radically different from the now proven, obsolete governance framework.”

The rationale of the committee, chaired by and inclusive of a number of eminent West Indians, including former West Indies wicket-keeper, Deryck Murray, is that “there is an inherent and as yet unresolved tension between the evolution of the game of cricket into powerful, professionally driven, entertainment and sporting industry and a system of governance predicated on an earlier, more simplified set of requirements.”

The conclusion must be that what is needed is an administrative and organisational framework that could among other things, establish systems, structures, training programmes and more that will cultivate, manage and train young players into the kind of professionals that are required for international cricket.

In place of the present board and the development of a new governance structure, the report recommends “the appointment of an interim board and a change management expert.”

The report notes there is precedent for the International Cricket Council accepting such an interim committee, one having been recently established to manage Sri Lankan cricket.

The report is an updated version of the more fundamental Patterson report which was commissioned by a previous WICB. 

The board that commissioned it and succeeding boards have left that report, which was a comprehensive and incisive examination of cricket in the region and what had to be done to push West Indies cricket into the 21st century, to rot.

Former Jamaica prime minister, the respected PJ Patterson has remarked that he wasted one year of his life in preparing a report that has been ignored.

But so too was another WICB-commissioned report left. That report produced by the Charles Wilkin team examined the causes behind the disgraceful pull-out of the West Indian team from the tour of India; the Indian board is now claiming US$42 million in compensation.

As could be expected the present WICB has not put forward one feasible option of how the debt is going to be paid and how West Indies cricket is to survive that financial onslaught. 

The present report identifies the poor state of WI cricket, the team now ranked 9th in the world and the dismissive manner which the major teams now deal with West Indies cricket both on and off the field.

But that is not news to West Indians, many of whom have lost hope, swallowed their pride and have been left wondering if their golden heritage has been forever lost. 

The present report makes a distinction between shareholders of WI cricket, ie, the WICB and the stakeholders, the people and institutions of the West Indies who many consider to be the real owners and possessors of the regional game and its history.

The original question therefore remains: who has the power to initiate the change that is absolutely required?

WICB President Dave Cameron has in off-handed manner said he would get around to reading the report at some point; no indication there of paying any serious attention to a report commissioned by the prime ministers of Caricom. 

Is it going to be a messy upheaval in which the board is marched out of office; or should some formal mechanism be devised to do the job?

The third option is stack up yet another report while WI cricket dies.


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