Wed | Aug 16, 2017

The Dave Cameron lynch mob

Published:Friday | April 8, 2016 | 4:00 AM
Dave Cameron, CEO of the West Indies Cricket Board.

Dave Cameron, the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) president, may be wondering if the gods have deserted him. West Indies cricket has been going through turbulent times for well over two decades, and all of a sudden, it is now appearing that he is the cause for all its ills.

A certain section of CARICOM is insisting that he should dissolve the board and give it to others to run. That's like telling a man that he should willingly walk the plank! He has refused, and all of a sudden he is almost persona non grata in the Eastern Caribbean.

How many politicians and academicians who are insisting that he walk away would themselves walk away from their high-profile roosts? Those who want him out are pointing to the friction between the board and the West Indies players. But that's absurd. Problems between the board and the players go back decades.

The West Indies players, as far back as 1998, had basically refused to tour South Africa unless their demands were addressed. They were complaining about things for a while and that stand in London was a last straw for them. I didn't hear too many people calling for Pat Rousseau's head then. I didn't hear CARICOM saying the board should be dissolved.

Since 1998, we have had several strikes. We have seen players refusing to play at the eleventh hour. We have seen whole teams get changed. Maybe the worst of those times was when Floyd Reifer, of all people, became West Indies captain, leading the team to the Champions Trophy. We never heard from politicians and the learned that the board must be dissolved. So why is Dave Cameron being treated like a pariah?

 

SILLY RULE

 

We now hear both Dr Keith Mitchell and other West Indies cricketers arguing about the need for a change to the eligibility rule as far as West Indies selection is concerned. The rule basically states that if you want to play FOR the West Indies, you must play IN the West Indies in the format you hope to represent the West Indies.

The rule is silly. No other sport insists that the national players must play in the nation as a prelude to national selection. Track and field comes closest by insisting on coming home for national trials. But the rule predates Dave Cameron by decades.

Desmond Haynes had to take legal action against the board in the '90s for the same thing. And yet everybody is now behaving like it's Dave Cameron, who is imposing himself on the players with this archaic rule. It's unfair, and appears very personal to me.

Darren Sammy, of all persons, has come out knocking the board. He should be the last person to do that. No other person in the last 30 years has benefited more from the board. He was once captain in all three formats when there was a question mark about his ability to be an automatic selection on at least two of those teams.

Sammy was, thereby, earning money to which most people feel he wasn't entitled. Despite this, the board defended him and kept him there until it was obvious that he couldn't be dragged along as captain anymore.

There were strikes during Sammy's time as captain, too. Cricketers were disgruntled in Sammy's time as captain, too. But we didn't hear a peep from him.

I don't quickly subscribe to the theory of insularity, but it must be remembered that during much of Sammy's time as captain, the powers that be were from his section of the Caribbean.

 

UNFOUNDED CRITICISMS

 

Now we hear that the WICB president is arrogant and immature. Much of those criticisms are unfounded. His tweet about Chris Gayle a few months ago was out of place, but he has subsequently apologised. What else has he done that could warrant these accusations?

Cameron is clearly not on the greatest of terms with some of the players, but who says he has to be? How many bosses are on chummy terms with all their workers?

The WICB president should be setting policies to improve our cricket, and Dave Cameron has done more tangible and useful things than any of his recent predecessors. In three years, he has lengthened the first-class season, ensured that first-class players are paid monthly, paid women for the first time, ensured that the West Indies Under-19 team take part in the Nagico Super 50, and set the schedule so that the cricket tours don't affect IPL.

Some of those moves could be part of the reason we have lifted two of the three global trophies this year. So why the witch-hunt? There seems to be more at stake here than just cricket.

- Orville Higgins is a sportscaster and talk-show host at KLAS ESPN Sports FM. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com.