Why no-ball Dave Cameron?
Was there ever a time when the off-the-field drama in West Indies cricket was bigger than it is now? Who cares about West Indies players doing well on the actual field of play when what's happening off the field is so much more exciting?
The question of what will happen in the next presidential election for the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) has so far been much more intriguing than what the West Indies team will do at the upcoming World Cup! We half expect that the team will do poorly anyway, so we might as well focus our attention on all the drama that's unfolding as the countdown continues for that next presidential race.
Who could foresee that the Jamaican cricket directors would vote that they wouldn't support sitting president, Dave Cameron, when D-Day arrives? Dave is, after all, a Jamaican, and it was so ironic that the Guyana Cricket Board had written to the Jamaica Cricket Association, essentially encouraging its members to back the Jamaican.
What is it that the Guyanese have seen in Dave Cameron that the Jamaicans have not seen? How much of that is politics and personality clashes as opposed to genuine cricket reasons? Are these directors voting for Joel Garner, the man challenging Dave, or are they just voting against Dave Cameron?
One board member, Wayne Lewis, said publicly on Wednesday that they didn't even get the chance to hear the manifesto of Garner when they were told to vote Tuesday night. If that's true, what does that tell us? This same board member said, when the issue came up whether they should back Dave or not, they were told that they should wait and meet with Dave Cameron to hear his vision. That seemed fair enough, but then the obvious question is, why wasn't the same principle applied for the challenger? If all this is true, what we are witnessing here is not just about cricket, is it?
Dave has been slaughtered publicly by some big names. Some powerful people are completely against him. Michael Holding, former president Pat Rousseau, and St Vincent and the Grenadines President Ralph Gonsalves have all come out swinging against the embattled Cameron. They are not alone.
Dave isn't exactly flavour of the month in certain sections in the region, and even in India, we are told. For the life of me, I cannot understand all this vitriol against him.
The task force set up to investigate that unfortunate Indian tour found that all three parties, WICB, West Indies Players' Association (WIPA) and the players, were all to blame for that walkout. Why they needed a task force to tell them that, I don't know! Any objective person could see that.
The players never HAD to walk off and cause us all this embarrassment and a looming debt to pay, however genuine their concern was. WIPA, for all its good intentions, appeared not to have properly communicated to the players what the REAL deal was, and the president may have appeared too nonchalant when the players were up in arms in India.
Politics or personality clashes?
Why are those powerful voices calling for Dave's head not accepting that he alone can't be blamed here? Why are Dave's detractors not as inclined to blame the other two parties involved? Again I ask, how much of this is cricket and how much is just plain politics or severe personality clashes?
Truth be told, Dave doesn't deserve the knocks he is getting. He, more than any recent president, seems to be genuinely trying. The move to make first-class cricketers 'eat a bigger food', the lengthening of the first-class season, and the plans to streamline the operations at the academy to make it a virtual habitat for a West Indies A team are all credible moves. Whatever fault we may find in his handling of the Indian tour debacle should pale against all this.
We are told he is one arrogant fellow. I personally find him to be quite affable, though he doesn't appear to be easily pushed around. He isn't anybody's yes-man. Is this the real problem? And what if he is the most arrogant man alive? Why is one's personality such a big factor in determining whether one is a good president or not? Why are we not judging him on his body of work as opposed to his personality.
I found Viv Richards to be the most cocky human being in the world when he was playing, but, like most West Indians, I adored him for his ability to play cricket! Poor Dave! I'm watching this election with keen interest. It will tell us a lot about who we really are.
n Orville Higgins is a sports journalist at KLAS ESPN FM. Email feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.