Sat | Dec 10, 2016

Enough is enough

Published:Sunday | December 28, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Dave Cameron, West Indies Cricket Board president. - File
West Indies captain Denesh Ramdin (right) with fan Peter Matthews as the team held Christmas celebrations on Thursday, December 25, in South Africa. - File
New West Indies one-day captain Jason Holder (right) with fan Keith van Anderson as the team held Christmas celebrations on Thursday, December 25, in South Africa. - WICB Media Photo/Philip Spooner
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Tony Becca, Contributor

There is an old saying that it takes just one straw to break a camel's back. It stands to reason, therefore, that one move, one mistake, can destroy anything, including West Indies cricket.

It does not take a genius, therefore, to figure that the players' strike in India recently can cripple West Indies cricket if India continue to seek compensation for the loss of an estimated US$42 million, some J$4.8 billion, from the West Indies, and can destroy West Indies cricket if India stick to their plan of cancelling all tours between the two countries.

That would be a catastrophe, that would see the West Indies losing millions and millions of US dollars, or billions upon billions of Jamaican dollars.

At present, and as the West Indies Cricket Board told the Board of Control for Cricket in India in a letter of apology a few weeks ago, in a letter seeking some leniency on India's part, West Indies cricket is bankrupt.

To those in West Indies cricket, however, that is nothing new, despite their lifestyles, despite paying their cricketers, their Test cricketers, quite well, despite their top-heavy entourage on tours, and despite the size of their cricket and day-to-day staff.

Tournament funding uncertain

Right now, the regional tournament is on, and no one knows how the board plans to fund it, except partly with the money from the CPL, and unless it seeks a loan from the ICC.

At Sabina Park, in one of the first set of matches in a tournament to save West Indies cricket, a Jamaica team took on the Windward Islands Volcanoes in a match which saw a handful of spectators, partly because hardly anyone knew about the start of the tournament.

West Indies cricket was never rich, not even when its cricket was the best in the world, and because of many things, because of size and population, because of the lack of marketing, it will never ever be rich, certainly not rich like that of England, Australia, South Africa, and the mighty India.

In many ways, however, the present predicament, the attitude which led to the walkout in India, is caused by the board and the players and someone must do something in an effort to stop it.

In other words, enough is enough, or should be enough.

The players have become too almighty, much too powerful, and this is because they consider themselves heroes of the people and untouchables, and because of weak board members and fawning and insular politicians.

The time, if it has not passed, has come for the players to start acting with humility, to have respect for the people they represent, and start to perform. It is time, if it has not yet passed, for board members to put West Indies cricket first, to stand up for West Indies cricket, to hold hands for West Indies cricket, and to say to everyone - to the fans, to the cricketers, and to the insular politicians, enough is enough.

The board, however, will have to cleanse itself. It will have to look at itself, and then it will have to make changes where changes are necessary. Changes such as a smaller, workable board, and to take some other things out of the dust-laden Patterson Report and implement them, even though some board members do not like some of them, especially the one dealing with a smaller, leaner board.

The power of the vote

It is either that, or the people should get rid of them by voting them out, by using the power of the vote, from the club level upwards.

In spite of the presence of football, track and field, and even in these changing times, some people, West Indian people, still believe cricket is special, is sacrosanct, is ordained for West Indies people, and should be, and must be, controlled by the people, by the politicians.

Cricket, however, should be, and must be, always controlled by people in cricket.

I do not support a body that is bigger than the board and above the board, and responsible for West Indies cricket; and I do not support such a body, or any body, that could end up with a politician, or two, or three, a lawyer, a union leader, a teacher, etc., as some of its members.

Cricket, like everything else in the West Indies, must look after itself with the blessings and the support of the people. What cricket needs are some good, strong, knowledgeable, and experienced people, some honest and unselfish West Indies men, and women.

And they are in the West Indies, and available.

Maybe, just maybe, and although times have changed and has moved on, it is time that West Indies cricket revert to the days of rotating the presidency, to the days when the board moved from one territory to the next every few years, the days when the president, the secretary, and the treasurer were from one territory for easy communication.

In those days, there was no campaigning and canvassing for positions on the board. There were no promises of perks for votes, and generally, West Indies cricket was happier and better.

The West Indies board must take back control of West Indies cricket and manage its development with a firm but honest and fair hand.

One way or the other, it is time, in the interest of West Indies cricket, to say, especially to the players, that although one like Denesh Ramdin has retained the West Indies captaincy, and even though he is on the team in South Africa, enough is enough.

Regardless of what president Dave Cameron says, the choice of captain of the West Indies team is the final responsibility of the Board, and whether the choice is right or wrong, it has done the right thing in naming a new and, from what can be seen, modest and humble young man as captain.

Enough is enough, and at least this offers some hope.