Wed | May 22, 2019

Paul Wright | Give change a chance

Published:Tuesday | April 23, 2019 | 12:24 AM
Cricket West Indies (CWI) president Ricky Skerritt (right) shares a light moment with Jamaica Cricket Association president W. Billy Heaven (left) and group CEO, GraceKennedy, and chairman of CWI’s Corporate Governance Committee, Senator Don Wehby, after a high-level meeting at the Terra Nova All-Suite Hotel last Wednesday.

The Wright View

West Indies cricket has, for several years, moved from all-conquering giants of the sport to minnows struggling to qualify for major tournaments. We only qualified for the next International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cup by virtue of reaching the finals of the qualifying competition and being beaten by Afghanistan in the finals. Change was demanded.

The previous administrators of Cricket West Indies (CWI) instituted a policy of exclusion that resulted in many of our best and most talented performers either walking away or being unceremoniously discarded from representing us. Fans wanted change, past players demanded change, and politicians tried to insist on change, but all to no avail, until the delegates of CWI, some of whom listened to presentations of the two candidates for the position of president, voted eight to four for a change.

The incumbent president lost the election, and a new president was elected and given the task to initiate and administer the change everyone wanted.

The selection policy was changed, a move that opens the door, once again, to the best of the regions cricketers. Team personnel and players have been changed, and new faces appeared.

However, the disciples and supporters of the losing presidential candidate seemingly will have none of it, and already, we see every move by the new administrators being subject to criticism on radio and in the print media, BEFORE the changes have an opportunity to perform.

The usual shouts of ‘traitors’ and ‘badmind’ escaped the lips of the backers of the defeated one, in the early days following the election, and when these charges gained absolutely no traction, we now see articles about the style of OUR president, Ricky Skerritt. Dave Cameron lost the election.

Rebirth and revival

Let us all with one voice wish him well in his new dispensation and give our support to the new president and his team, as we strive to return to the good old days when we were proud of our players, win, lose or draw, in world competition. Give change a chance!

The holy time of Easter is about rebirth and renewal. As we mourned the loss of cricket writer and gentleman, Tony Becca, we learnt of the passing of another icon of sports.

The Honourable Patrick H.O. Rousseau passed on last week and will be laid to rest on Friday. He was a hockey player of note, manager of national sport teams, and an administrator extraordinaire of cricket.

He rose to the post of CWI president where he (almost) single-handedly conceived the idea and convinced members of the ICC to have the World Cup of cricket here in the West Indies.

He was a racehorse owner, breeder and past president of the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association (TOBA, a name that he insisted on and changed during his term as president).

He was a lawyer, negotiator, friend, and mentor to all who came in contact with him, and he will be missed.

I think that as these changes occurred just prior to this holy week of Christian celebration, we should use this opportunity of rebirth and renewal to look ahead at what can be and cease and desist from looking behind at what was.

Ricky Skerritt and his team have the reins of power and the opportunity to move cricket in the West Indies to where it ought to be based on the God-given skills and talents of our West Indian sisters and brothers. Let us support them and our own people for his term of office.

If he and his team falter and do not produce the type of performance that our players are capable of, then by all means, criticise. But for now, forget the past, move on. Dave Cameron has lost the election. Ricky Skerritt won. Fair and square. I end by repeating: ‘Give change a chance.’