By Orville Higgins
I undoubtedly have more close associates in the Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA) than I have in any other sports organisation in the island, and therefore being critical of the JCA is something that I would prefer not to have to do.
The requirements of the job, however, plus my own make-up, mean that I have to be objective, and it is in this vein that I must say that I am very disappointed with how those in control of cricket are going about administering the game.
Associations are made up of people, and people are never going to be perfect, but the current JCA has made too many major gaffes and must undergo some serious introspection.
Lest we forget, this is the same JCA that overlooked the age group criteria for the last regional Under-15 tournament, and had to select a team almost from scratch, mere days before the tournament. Somewhere, somebody fell down on the job. That may have done serious psychological harm to the psyche of the youngsters who were originally selected, and who were told at the last minute that they were no longer national players set to embark on a regional tournament, but had to go back home.
That was inexcusable, but if that was a one-off blunder, it could be overlooked. But, sadly, it wasn't. This is the same JCA that, quite strangely, rescinded the honour given to Lawrence Rowe on the basis of an interview he gave on radio, an interview which I am convinced its executive didn't listen to, or completely misinterpreted.
ON A SLIPPERY SLOPE
The JCA had decided to name the players' pavilion at Sabina Park in honour of 'Yagga' with the proviso that he apologise first for going to apartheid South Africa, almost 30 years ago. It was a strange request, which Yagga should never have agreed to, but going against his better judgement, he did apologise. He then went on a radio programme on RJR with Dionne Jackson- Miller, and spent a lot of the interview doing the very opposite of what he was later accused of: justifying why he did apologise!
In the midst of a grilling from the host, Yagga did say that while he was prepared to apologise now, 30 YEARS AGO, he didn't think he did anything wrong. Somebody must have heard that line, took it completely out of context, and Rowe's name was removed on the basis that he went back on the conditions of his 'award' and said he did nothing wrong. It was completely unfair, and months after, Lawrence Rowe is still embarrassed about the whole affair.
IT GETS WORSE
Those were bad enough, but Sunday may have been worse. I was at Up Park Camp last Sunday to watch the all-island JCA 20/20 final and saw Manchester getting the better of a star-studded St Catherine team. At the post-match presentation, Manchester were handed an envelope with $150,000 written on it.
I then witnessed what I have never seen before at any award ceremony: the manager of the Manchester team handing back the envelope! Manchester's grouse was simple. They were told (and I saw a copy of the email myself) that the prize money for the winning team was $200,000. They said, on a point of principle, they wouldn't take the money that was being given at the presentation ceremony.
I agreed with Manchester. The JCA has subsequently said that it was some kind of oversight, and Manchester will eventually get their $200,000, but it doesn't change the fact that it was one more unfortunate mishap from those who run cricket.
Interestingly, it was also advertised that the third-place team would get $50,000, while the fourth-place team would receive $25,000. This led all and sundry into believing that there would be a third-place play-off. There was none, and how the JCA will go about allocating the $75,000 promised to the teams that finished third and fourth is still a mystery.
There are other things, of course. The current JCA is struggling to find sponsorship to run its senior competitions, which is strange when the supposed ability to woo sponsors was part of the platform on which they campaigned, and which the dethroned Paul Campbell was heavily criticised for. The JCA needs to pull its socks up - and fast!
KLAS's Orville Higgins is a sport broadcaster. Email feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.