Respect due to players
The Wright View - Dr Paul Wright
There is a report that states that the number of people attending the selection/draw for players to join a franchise of the Caribbean Premier League Twenty20 cricket competition was more than those seen at the top-of-the-table clash in the WICB Four-Day Professional Cricket League match between Guyana Jaguars and Jamaica Franchise which ended at Sabina Park yesterday.
That represents the real reason for the decline in support for cricket in the West Indies.
It is the participants in the sport who are responsible for the success of the sport. That message needs to be chiselled into the brains of some administrators of regional sports, who deliberately sideline star performers and insert themselves in the limelight, foolishly thinking that the fans come to sporting events not to see the star performers, but to see them.
What else could explain the recent activities of the administrators of cricket in the region, personified by the actions of the president of the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB), Dave Cameron?
As a member of the hierarchy during the reign of Dr Julian Hunte, it could be said that Mr Cameron was a party to the many attempts at sidelining Chris Gayle and other stars.
Another Sidelining Attempt
Having been elevated to the presidency by the same members who were benefiting under the last president, this president saw no reason to change. Thus, we were again subject to a bald and barefaced attempt to 'get the stars' on the pretext of 'giving the youth a chance', blithely unaware that the 'youth' were substandard and needed the guidance and support of the 'veterans' in order to make a successful transition to world class, based on talent and potential.
When the seeming conspiracy with the head of the West Indies Players' Association (WIPA) met with resistance from the players, who had not signed off on contracts before travelling to India, Mr Cameron is reported to have suggested to the Indian authorities that they dismiss the West Indian squad and send replacements.
The Indian authorities rightly refused this offer.
The players, not seeing any response to their grouses - that suggested compromise - abandoned the tour and came home. The response of the West Indian people was to have their political representatives intervene in an effort to find a solution. The WICB president attended meetings, made solemn promises, could be interpreted as reneging on those promises, and set up a committee to look at the reasons for the impasse and make recommendations.
The committee sat and made recommendations, finding fault with the Players Association, the players and the board. The players (ringleaders) are promptly punished, the leader of the players' association (WIPA) goes silent and missing, seemingly escaping sanction, while President Cameron deftly tries to maintain his stranglehold on the board.
This attempt could be correctly defeated by the same members who voted him into office. As his support around the region dwindles, his local association in Jamaica votes by 10 to six not to support his candidacy at the next annual general meeting of the board.
To be successful, sport needs heroes. No fan pays money to attend sporting events, or listens to the radio or watches television or a sport to see the administrators.
An excellent indicator of a dead sport is when the president or CEO of the sport becomes the media focus. Cricket is dying.
We, the people, want to know the real reason why our stars are withdrawing from representing the region, but are happy to play for club and country. We want to know if previous non-paying positions on the board are now paying positions. We want to know so many things.
However, it is now obvious that, if Dave Cameron remains the president of the WICB, we will never know these answers!