Editorial: Losing faith in Dave Cameron
When Dave Cameron's leadership of the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) was under attack earlier this year, this newspaper felt the basis of the assault was unfair - and said so. He was being blamed for the fallout from the West Indies team's walkout of their tour of India when the players' real grouse was, or ought to have been, with their union, the West Indies Players' Association.
Mr Cameron's incumbency was extended for a second two-year term with his defeat of Joel Garner's challenge for the presidency in March. Neither candidate, in our view, offered a compelling intellectual vision of West Indies cricket. They spoke ephemerally about returning the team to its dominance of the 1970s and '80s, without a strategic path by which it was to be accomplished.
We are beginning to sense that he may definitely not be up to the task. The problem, we perceive, is that he sees the solution to the crisis in West Indies cricket only in terms of earning more money from the game, which, of course, is important. But there has to be an intellectual foundation upon which any sustainable resurgence of West Indies cricket is constructed. And Dave Cameron appears to lack ideology - of whatever stripe - or any sense of history, exemplified by his vote to cede, in exchange for some cash, the control of international cricket to India, Australia and England.
Our concern over this aspect deepened during the recent two-Test series between the West Indies and Australia, which culminated at Sabina Park a week ago, with a second humiliating defeat for the regional team. That loss -save for a few weeks - coincided with the 20th anniversary of the decline of West Indies cricket, which began with the historic defeat by the Aussies in 1995 at the Kingston cricket ground.
Neither at the start of the most recent series, nor at its end, did Mr Cameron and his board see an even symbolic platform from which they could articulate a context for the regional game's resurgence. This is an inadequacy that exacerbates what we fear is the start of the dismantling of the idea upon which cricket's high-performance centre in Barbados was built.
NOT IN AGREEMENT
We are not in agreement with the ideological frame in which Professor Hilary Beckles perhaps still hopes contemporary West Indian society should be constructed. We, however, are at one with him on the social and political forces, in the period of colonial and Caribbean nationalism, that inspired the ascendancy of West Indies cricket. We are also in agreement with his prescription, enunciated two decades ago, for its rebirth in this period of globalisation.
In offering a blueprint for what became the high performance, Professor Beckles, in the second volume of his book, The Development of West Indies Cricket, said the objective would be to "advance the cricketer's mentality by two decades with respect to information technology, strategic planning, psychological dexterity and financial organisation".
These are the kinds of gaps, it has become increasingly obvious, that exist between contemporary West Indian teams and their better-performing counterparts. Their teams are far more socially and psychologically mature than ours. Yet earlier this year, the WICB substituted the programmatic approach of the high-performance centre for short-term initiatives. The deeper development, a board official suggested, would be left to teams.
West Indies cricket needs a new paradigm.