Time will tell whether Julian Hunte, the new president of the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB), has played a masterful strike by co-opting Dinanath Ramnarine to the directorship of the board.
There are likely to be few people in the West Indies who would feel otherwise, except for Ramnarine who, in the role as president of the West Indies Players' Association (WIPA), has maintained a long and intensive guerrilla campaign against the WICB, ostensibly in protection of the interest of regional players.
Of course, Ramnarine's supporters will point out that WIPA, under his leadership, has won its arbitration cases against the board, suggesting that he is consistently in the right. But as the more perceptive will note, legality and morality are not always on all squares. And under-performing players consistently demanding and grabbing for more may be legal, but hardly morally legitimate.
Mr. Hunte, in the absence of a full overhaul of the administration of the game in the West Indies, has chosen, on the face of it, the easiest option which he hopes will ease the hostilities between WIPA and the WICB. He has widened the constituent interest on the board to include Ramnarine and two other respected Caribbean personalities with connection to cricket. In essence, Mr. Hunte has merely advanced an approach by his predecessor, Mr. Ken Gordon, who had named Sir Alister McIntyre, former captain Clive Lloyd and Sir Granville Phillips as directors.
So, Mr. Hunte hopes that WIPA can now be "part of the solution (to the problem that beset West Indies cricket) instead of continuing to be perceived as part of the problem". We hope so, too we very much doubt it, given Mr. Ramnarine's personality and the animosity that exists between himself and current WICB CEO Bruce Aanensen - as has been Ramnarine's relationship with the executives of the recent past.
Perhaps Mr. Hunte's approach will work. Even if it does, while the appointment may be broadly right in concept, we question the approach.
The announcement suggests that Ramnarine named to represent WIPA, was specifically appointed. We would have expected that the offer would have been made to WIPA to name a representative and allow the membership or executive of that organisation to appoint the individual. Or, perhaps it is assumed that Ramnarine is the sum total of WIPA.
This development, of course, underlines the urgency to complete an issue which Mr. Gordon dealt with at some length in his farewell address last week as WICB president: the governance of West Indies cricket.
There are two pertinent issues to be addressed on this matter. The first is that there can be no resuscitation of the game in the region, if West Indies cricket is poor. And whatever accusations may be levelled at Mr. Gordon's stewardship, the bold hard fact is that his administration lifted the WICB out of the bankruptcy in which they found it. That's an important start.
Second, Mr. Gordon appointed the Patterson committee to recommend on restructuring the administration of the game in the region which we initially felt was unnecessary, given the numerous reports and analyses already undertaken. Be that as it may, we advise that whatever the final recommendations of the committee, they and the implementors must understand that cricket exists in a 21st-century, globalised marketplace and can't be run like a government bureaucracy or old-fashioned NGO.
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