Boardroom cricket in shambles
It was only last weekend a Jamaican team came back victorious from Trinidad and Tobago, where they had won the inaugural staging of the regional Under-17 cricket competition. That team's victory had given Jamaica one short of a clean sweep of all the cricket titles on offer in the Caribbean. We are now, indisputably, the kings of Caribbean cricket.
One could have been forgiven for supposing that cricket administration in Jamaica was far advanced and that our cricketers at all levels were merely reflecting the brilliance that goes on in the boardrooms. One would suppose that all is hunky-dory in the hallowed halls of power in Jamaican cricket. Sadly, that isn't quite the case.
We do well, in spite of, and not necessarily because of, those who are entrusted to run the game here.
Jamaica's cricket, over the last few years, has been littered with a whole bunch of problems, which include, but aren't confined to, incompetent workers, bickering, and infighting. If some are to be believed, 'infighting' can be quite literal. In one famous case recently, a sitting president was accused of beating up another board member, hours before an election!
Following the election, that case of alleged assault and battery was mysteriously never pursued. There have been very questionable elections at the parochial level, and in at least one parish, many of the long-time devotees have disappeared from the game, maybe for good.
On the field at the senior level, it's an open secret that not so long ago, battle lines were drawn.
I could go on. Teams have taken the hitherto unheard of stance of taking the Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA) to court, for what they perceived was unfair handling of local matters. Other legal actions have been threatened.
We can't find a sponsor for our top cricket competition, and only last year the JCA had to be bailed out by the benevolence of someone from another sport - football's Captain Burrell.
The team that has won the top islandwide competition for three straight years can't get one man in a Jamaica eleven for those three years, in any form of the game, competitive or otherwise. It's a mystery why we do so well! You would think that we couldn't sink to lower levels, and yet, horror of horrors, we have!
UNDER-15 CRICKET DISGRACE
A national Under-15 team is scheduled to leave the island on Sunday to St Kitts to take part in the regional competition. A 14-man squad is selected. I had a brother who once played Under-15 cricket for Jamaica. I know the sheer unadulterated joy and pride he felt then, and I can understand how the youngsters felt when they learnt of their selection.
At the 11th hour, it was discovered that only two of the youngsters met the age eligibility criteria, as stipulated by the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB)! The youngsters are devastated. One minute they are national players, the next minute they are not. Their dream of representing Jamaica has gone up in smoke.
Some irate parents were at Sabina Park yesterday demanding 'justice'. Some will want to blame the selectors, some say it's the cricket operations, others are adamant that it's the secretariat. Wherever you feel the blame should lie, this again proves what is already known: All is not well with how cricket is run in Jamaica.
The WICB had some new age guidelines for the Under-15 tournament that came into effect this year. This was known from last year. Every other territory adhered to the new rules, and picked its team accordingly. All except Jamaica.
At the time of writing this article, there is a mad scramble to patch up a team, and it's not even sure at this stage if we'll cobble together a squad. This is nothing short of a national embarrassment, if not outright disgrace.
Of course, we will hear the usual platitudes. Apologies will be made, fingers will be pointed. But in all likelihood, nobody will be fired. It will be another day in the life of the JCA.
Come Monday morning, it will be business as usual.
KLAS sportscaster Orville Higgins is the 2011 winner of the Hugh Crosskill/Raymond Sharpe Award for Sports Reporting. Email feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.