Wed | Aug 23, 2017

Vince Williams | Cricket needs a writing revolution

Published:Saturday | October 1, 2016 | 10:00 AMVince A.R. Williams
Phil Simmons was recently sacked as West Indies coach.

Is axed coach Phil Simmons or captains of contemporary vintage the totality of our failures? Thought we discarded 'Control' from the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) in 1996?

If Simmons could atone for poor judgement, even betrayal, in his 2015 run-in with chairman of selectors Courtney Browne, surely recently reported "differences in culture and strategic approach" could be resolved without work termination.

Simmons appears to be another unwanted child of neglectful parents - an embodiment of administrative failure. If WICB CEO Michael Muirhead's report is accurate, non-partisan mediation should have ensued, given Simmons' acknowledged coaching skills and positive chemistry with players.

Is Simmons' dismissal insularity, vindictiveness, or an attempt to quell a dissenting voice? The outspoken, yet oft-measured Simmons being deliberately silenced is credible but not sufficient assessment.

Unfolding just ahead of a tour, his axing, we can agree, is ill-timed. Given the board's response to the Simmons-Browne incident, his firing also seems unmerited - if not vindictive and unjust - symptomatic of a controlling board unhinged.

Recall that we were grudgingly but predictably kicked out of the English cricket league. The pretext: Our cricketers were 'underdeveloping' theirs, supposedly robbing them of team places.

Regrettably, during this golden era of Windies cricket, administrators failed to partner with regional governments to fund a parallel infrastructure - including a professional league - thereby facilitating the continued dominance of brand Windies. Apparently, our prize money and gate receipts then could afford same as our cricketers' salaries, highest worldwide, were budgeted by our WICB.

Although insularity has been an uncomfortable feature of Windies cricket, never was it institutionalised. Ostensibly, Simmons could be viewed as an insular casualty, the Trinidadian being replaced at short notice by the Barbadian, Joel Garner. However, the weightier concern should be the consistently poor judgement exercised by our WICB, again evident in reasons for Simmons' dismissal.

Our board needs to atone before our cricket is irredeemably sullied.

Essentially, it is our WICB, entrapped by inoperable policies, that oversaw the frequently disputed team selections and salary disputes, the last culminating in abandoned tour ignominy.

 

RECOMMENDATION REFUSAL

 

It is our WICB, possessed by a spirit beckoning exorcism, which, despite its approval of the governance review committee, refused to honour the recommendation for board dissolution (Patterson Report, 2007). It is our board that remains deaf to the insistent Caribbean echoes thereof.

Undoubtedly, our WICB has commendably managed interventions such as Kiddie Cricket in schools.

Notwithstanding, since our board maintains it was wrong to blame its governance for Windies players' performance, and, given all its sins, the question arises: How can we, caring lions, transcend targeted roars of mistrust and insularity to redeem our Caribbean pride? With ONE CRY: sustained, solution-oriented open letters addressed to our WICB.

Cricket lovers, are you game? Write for change! It is time for a writing revolution towards Windies excellence regained. Stand with pen ready.

- Vince A. R. Williams is a school principal. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com and princevince111777@yahoo.com.