Foster's Fairplay | From Babsy to Dave and WICB
Foster's Fairplay has always deemed the government Minister with responsible for Sports, Olivia Grange, to be the ideal fit for that aspect of her portfolio. Her groundings and those whom she assembles in her support speak to nothing less.
Recent reports as to her spontaneous effort to assist cricket for the visually challenged serve to accentuate that view. There is nothing fashionable about cricket for the handicapped. In fact, it is more of a where do they think they are going? situation. As such, whatever goodwill that is held for the sport that has fallen from grace tends to go to the sighted. The fact that, until now, the version that is now being given a most welcome boost, is not recognised or by extension, supported by the regional body, emphasises that point.
For those who came in late on this story, a West Indies team in which there are nine Jamaicans was selected to depart for the T20 World Cup Cricket for the Blind in India. Then comes the plea for financial assistance, as the funds needed to give life to the effort were short by approximately $3 million. As reported, the shortfall existed despite an input of $700,000 from the coffers of the Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA).
Enter the woman affectionately called 'Babsy' in and external to the sporting arena. With contributions from her affiliate body, the Sports Development Foundation (SDF), in the sum of $750,000, and a cheque for $2.2m from the ministry, suddenly, the dark side of blind cricket became bright. The team would be on its way at the appointed time. Bravo, Babsy!
All that said, and for sheer balance, before taking leave of the topic, a point ought to be made. Any praise or recognition for the current minister should not be taken as in any way, sidelining or worse, disrespecting the previous regime. The predecessor, Natalie Neita-Headley, now the sports' representative on the Opposition Sportspersons Council, did run a good supporting leg during the period that she held the baton.
In furtherance of Foster's Fairplay's promise to focus more stridently on cricket, a less healthy position is now highlighted. When it could be thought that lessons were learnt from a similar imbroglio last year, here comes another below-the-belt blow by the JCA. With the president of the newly named, Cricket West Indies, Jamaican, Wycliffe 'Dave' Cameron, seeking a third term, there is a likelihood of obstruction from the Wilford 'Billy' Heaven-led JCA. It has been reported that talks are being held along the lines of not supporting that ambitious bid for the top post.
Just as it was for the previous voting exercise, Foster's Fairplay is in opposition to the thought of the local body casting their ballot elsewhere. It is just not right. If Cameron cannot count on endorsement by his own, will not any attempt to address the woes of the region's cricket be fraught with foreseeable problems? Even if the financial affairs executive is able to surmount this challenge, will he not be haunted throughout his shift by the recollection that he was virtually red-carded by his homeboys? To be successful in his renewed vigil, they need to be beside in allegiance.
This columnist urges a re-think by Heaven and his people. The game is as fragile in its present state as one can ever want it to be. It cannot afford this negative distraction which is a breaking in ranks. There will always be disagreements on one issue or another. That is normal in matters of this nature. A sit-down discussion to iron out the creases is what is required. Emerging from that, there should be a united force ready and willing to move West Indies cricket to the upper floor. What is happening now, save for some top-level limited-over results, is far from being satisfying. Even those advances, in the light of more recent happenings, seem to be suffering from dilution or downgrade. The ultimate cause and priority must be the upliftment of the image of West Indies cricket.
The best way to fight for it must be with a unified team.
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