Sat | Jul 20, 2019

The Wright View

Published:Tuesday | February 17, 2015 | 12:00 AM
AP West Indies' Dwayne Smith (front) walks off after he was caught out for 18 runs against Ireland during their Cricket World Cup pool B match at Nelson, New Zealand, yesterday. Ireland won by six wickets.

The World Cup of cricket is truly on. Of the matches concluded so far, the results have been predictable. I have had a discussion with 20 die-hard supporters of cricket. Each fan has his/her own opinion on who will be the eventual winner of this contest. My own prediction is that Australia will win the Cup, most likely against either South Africa or India.

However, to a man, all the fans I polled insisted that the West Indies have absolutely no chance of getting by the quarter-finals, and very few admitted to the possibility of watching and cheering for the Windies!

Secretly, though, I know that ALL will be watching and cheering.

Cricket in the West Indies is dying, but it is not dead. Poor results over decades have dampened enthusiasm, but as support dwindles, along comes administrators who seem determined to oversee the final rites of the sport in the Caribbean.

The present controversy/ confusion in West Indian cricket cannot be good for the game or the players. This fact seems lost on the directors of the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) and the executive of the West Indies Players Association (WIPA).

As past players and non-cricketers jostle and fight - as in the case of the elections for the president of the Jamaica Cricket Association - the future of the game, at a reasonable international standard, looks bleak.

What has happened to West Indies cricket is a synopsis of what has happened to the business of sport worldwide. International sport has garnered the interest of television's financial gurus, who have seen the potential earnings of televising sport, with concomitant astronomical financial rewards for those who play the game.

This has resulted in some players becoming millionaires because of their ability and skill.

To my shock and dismay, this financial windfall has seemingly angered some past players and administrators to the extent that the new mandate of these past players and administrators appears to be finding ways to marginalise and ban these stars for what were minor infractions in the past under the guise of helping the youth.

It is no fault of the present cricket stars that the financial rewards for skill and ability were not there 20 to 30 years ago. Therefore, to find themselves constantly at odds with those who find their wealth nauseating must be frustrating to the extent where representing an organisation run by these administrators is not a priority.

What else can explain the performance of these same cricket stars when playing for club, country, or foreign cricket associations?

The only hope for West Indies cricket is for the people of the region to insist that the administration of West Indies cricket be placed in the hands of those men or women who are glad that some of our cricket stars are multi-millionaires.

The courts in Jamaica have ruled on the importance of the independence of members of the Jamaican Senate. There are those, who to this day, maintain that such independence of thought on matters before them for consideration must be subordinate to the wishes of those who appointed them.

Similarly, in the JCA, there were some members (the majority) who thought that the candidature of Barbadian Joel Garner, for the presidency of the WICB, was more attractive than the candidature of the incumbent, Jamaican Dave Cameron. Now we hear on radio and television that no matter the virtues of one candidate over the other, the fact that you are a Jamaican, you must support the candidate who is Jamaican, or else!

When will we mature as a people? When will we support those that make decisions that are the best for the country and not the political party? When will we support those who make decisions that are the best for the sport and not the best for their countryman?

Do we need divine intervention to assist us in growing up as a nation?

'Oh Lord' we pray!