"It is incumbent in all of us to make our voices heard, armed with the facts, that the time has come for a dramatic change to the structure and governance of the West Indies Cricket Board as called for by the Patterson Report."
Those were the words of Douglas Orane, as he threw out a challenge to the West Indies Cricket Board, (WICB), against the background of what he called the "tremendous opportunities" that reside within West Indies international cricket. He was speaking at the Jamaica Cricket Association Awards held on Friday, March 1, at the Mona Visitors' Lodge and Conference Centre.
Referring to the Patterson Report of 2007, which called for a major overhaul of the governance structure of West Indies Cricket, and specifically the WICB, Orane noted the "universal disappointment and frustration" at the report's non-implementation. In noting that five years have passed since the report was done, Orane posed the question, "What will precipitate the change before the opportunities in international cricket wither away before our eyes"?
He urged Caribbean people to become more vocal in advocating the changes in governance to take place.
"My conclusion is that the answer lies within our own Caribbean people. West Indies Cricket belongs to the people of the Caribbean and, until each of us informs ourselves more fully about the size of the stakes involved, we will not have the sense of urgency for these changes in governance to take place."
He pointed to two specific opportunities that he thought were not being taken advantage of, the first being China's reported serious interest in playing cricket, and their subsequent demand for 1,000 coaches.
He asked, "How have we turned this to our advantage, in terms of building our international reach, and, specifically, providing employment for more of ourcoaches?"
He also revealed that the WICB was assigned geographic responsibility for cricket throughout most of North and South America. He said this represented an opportunity to proactively expand the playing of cricket throughout the Americas, creating a global business for Jamaica and the Caribbean.Addressing cricket at the school, club and national levels, Orane commended the Jamaica Cricket Association on major achievements for 2012, noting that he was looking forward to a good future for cricket, as evidenced by the talent at the school level.
Second most watched sport
With regards to club cricket, his recommendation for its revitalisation was "friend-raising" first, and "fund-raising" after. He advocated for those who had benefitted from club cricket, to return to those clubs to transform them, whether through coaching, mentorship, cash or kind, thereby giving talented school leavers a way through club cricket to national teams, advancing at the same rate of improvement as their contemporaries in other countries.
Orane pointed out that cricket is now the second most watched sport on international television, behind football. He added that 107 countries are now playing the sport. In light of these developments, Orane put forward, "We are, therefore, part of what is no longer an amateur vocation but a global industry which now requires us to function like a business rather than a hobby, or become marginalised."