Wed | Nov 21, 2018

West Indies cricket in a hopeless mess

Published:Tuesday | February 24, 2015 | 12:00 AM
WICB president Dave Cameron
file JCA president 'Billy' Heaven

If there was even the slightest modicum of doubt that West Indies cricket is in a hopeless mess, all that doubt should by now be totally dispelled by the developments in and around the regional team for the last five months.

If even the slightest semblance of hope existed that there is light at the end of the tunnel, as it relates to the survival of West Indies cricket, as we know it, that light should also, by now, be summarily extinguished by the desolate depths to which all facets of West Indies cricket have plummeted.

Our problems by no means began with the fiasco in India. They have certainly been exacerbated and exposed to the wider world by the petty and myopic reactions to the crisis by the leadership of our cricket.

Instead of inspiring the resolve and a sense of conviction to collectively tackle the problems, the Indian debacle has instead become a springboard to sharpen the wedges of division, inflame and deepen personal disagreements and vendettas within the fraternity.

Rescue and development of the game, and restoration of respectability to the status of the region's cricket, has taken a back seat to massaging inflated egos and reactions to random gushes of testosterone.

The inherent pettiness of the issues that erupted across the Jamaica cricket fraternity in recent weeks is an index of how negatively twisted the priorities of our cricket leadership have become.

There is no love lost between elements of the Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA) leadership, including president Wilford 'Billy' Heaven and the Jamaican president of the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB), Dave Cameron, spilling over into Heaven's refusal to support Cameron in his quest for a second term as WICB president. The ensuing twists, turns and politicking ended with Heaven eventually having to bow to the wishes of the general JCA membership and announce the JCA's full endorsement of Cameron in his presidential bid.

That kind of parochial wrangling that engulfed the JCA is a microcosm of the way West Indies cricket has been governed of late. Cricket never seems to be the priority, instead nationality, loyalty and long-standing friendships supercede competence in determining how and by whom the affairs of our cricket are run.

Instructively, all of this systemic administrative disorder is taking place simultaneously with the consistent and embarrassing on-field demise of the regional team.

Add all those dynamics to the evolution of cricket, regionally and internationally, where West Indies cricket no longer has a monopoly on the livelihood of the region's players. It no longer commands the full commitment and/or respect of the region's emerging cricketers.

The cash-rich swashbuckling franchise-based T20 version of the game is the new master of the now generation, another stark indicator that the future of West Indies cricket, as we know it, is in clear and present danger.

The complex and multifaceted nature of the issues facing the region's cricket will not disappear with the flick of a switch or snap of a finger, or, for that matter, appointment of an all powerful and nobly intentioned cricket tsar.

milking of the legacy

The relevance of today's West Indies team continues to be hinged to the continued milking of the legacy created by the blood, sweat, tears, guts and skills of warriors of great teams of the past.

How much longer can we continue to exploit that goodwill?

Neither the return of Dave Cameron, nor resorting to Joel 'Big Bird' Garner as president of the board, will significantly rescue West Indies cricket. All things considered, on and off the field, it is impossible to realistically fathom a return to those elusive glory days, as things continue to get progressively worse.

As it is in any overly abusive relationship, the parties involved must decide at what point enough becomes enough, summon the courage to cut their losses and walk away.

Despite unwittingly dwelling in denial, that time has arrived for many of us, as fans of what was once our beloved West Indies cricket.