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The Politics of Cricket

The Politics of CricketAntigua St John's- It was interesting to read the thoughts of former prime minister of Antigua & Barbuda Lester Bird about the state of cricket in the Caribbean.

As a former board member of the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB), a former cricketer, and a former prime minister, Bird’s experiences should qualify him to speak on the matters he stated.

Before going into Bird’s article, I must say that the administration of cricket in Antigua & Barbuda is worse than the state of the game in the region.

It would be equally interesting to hear Bird’s thoughts about cricket in the nation he once represented in the sport as well as its chief servant (prime minister).

Some of the comments in reaction to Bird’s address on the state of West Indies cricket were also very fascinating.

Persons, as were expected, had mixed personal feelings for and against Bird in an attempt make their feelings on the subject known.

My first impression of “The Farce That Is West Indies Cricket” was: about time for leaders in the Caribbean to come out and deal with this matter.


I also noted that the time has come and far gone for leaders in the Caribbean to be more forthright with the state of the Caribbean as a whole.

Rising crime, poverty, lack of accountability and transparency, and failing health care are just some of the subjects that Caribbean leaders and people on a whole need to address.

But if we take a closer look at Bird’s statement, perhaps we get a sense of administration as a whole in the Caribbean or lack thereof.

Term Limits

Bird suggested that WICB members should only be allowed to serve two terms. That is a format that we should look at for political leaders in the Caribbean.

If that can work for cricket administration, perhaps it would work for the political leadership as well.

Two of Bird’s five recommendations said: “The WICB must find a formula to improve decision making and for establishing accountability. Without accountability it is difficult to monitor performance. It is strange that the WICB demands accountability of its players but they themselves remain unaccountable.”

Isn't that what most Caribbean people have been asking of our political leaders for years?

In Antigua & Barbuda, there has been a bold lack of respect for the people, as politicians continue to rule like dictators rather than through a democratic process.

When was the last time there was an audit of our public accounts?

Politicians continue to grow richer and richer, while the country gets poorer and poorer, and leaders act oblivious to the state of affairs.

Even legitimate questions about our leaders’ conducts are met with angered disdain, and those who want to know are demonized.

Even the media becomes an "enemy of the state" with a "how dare you question me" attitude.

“The post of president of the West Indies cricket should not be held for more than two terms, period.”


Most leaders in the Caribbean, including Bird, would reject any idea of a term limits as they look to hold on to power "no matter what".

Now let’s deal with the specifics that led Bird to utter his sentiments: the administration of WICB, the Chris Gayle situation, Coach Otis Gibson, and the captaincy of Darren Sammy.

The Gayle situation, Coach Gibson, and the captaincy of Sammy is controlled by the WICB, so to deal with each matter, one has to deal with the board.

When Bird was a member of the board, West Indies cricket was at the top of its game, and what did these members do at that time?

Whatever the board did then, must be the reason why we are in the state we are in today.

When we "ruled the cricketing world," the board sat on its hands and never put the proper programmes in place for the continued success of the sport.

Reason being, the interest was selfish rather than the sport.

There are tales of outlandish spending by board members, their wives, and persons who had no right to prosper from the hard work of West Indies players.

It was not the board, but rather a certain Texan, R Allen Stanford, who saw it fit to open the Hall of Fame for the legends of West Indies cricket.

Those who once ruled the sport were gathered together to direct a certain pathway, the future of sport.

While the Stanford programme had its own personal gratifications, at least one can respect the bringing together of those who "battled" for the region.

That the board was unable to do something as simple as that shows total lack of leadership.

I agree that the board is the biggest problem with West Indies cricket, and ultimately it’s the people of the region who would shoulder the blame.

If we do not allow this, it will not happen.

On the same token, the people of the region should stop voting "party" for party sake, then we would not be such in a sad state both locally and regionally.

Gibson was not self-appointed.

That the WICB would appoint Gibson to such a position is evidence that they needed a "yes-man," and not someone with the abilities to turn around West Indies cricket.


Gibson cannot help us, and his statements were not surprising.

I agree that Gayle should be reinstated.

The board, Gibson, and Gayle should come together and agree that they all made mistakes, and put those problems behind them for the good of the game.

That, though, is asking too much from the WICB.

Sammy has come under very unfair criticism from Bird and many commentators in the region.

I would argue that Sammy is the best we have for the position at this point.

Sammy is leading a bad team, and while his performances are "poor" for a captain, I challenge anyone to name someone in the region that has done much better as a captain.

On a lighter note, Bird finally stated:


“When a coach is chosen for an American Baseball team, the main skill required of the coach is to manage egos as Kobe Bryan, Lebron James etc. and mould them into an effective team.

“Our coach has failed miserably in this.”

The thing is, neither Kobe nor Lebron play baseball, but rather basketball.

See related stories:

The Farce We Call West Indies Cricket

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15 Comments In This Article   

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tenmen

#15 Dr. J. Simon » 2012-03-05 22:38

I am glad to see you stick to your guns but the WIBC has over the years failed to put a proper stucture in place.
From youth develpoment programme, to how matches are allocated, to contract negotiations, marketing ( practically does not exist), regional tournament organizing, to social awareness, it has just been a mumble jumble operation.
I must give them credit for the HPC and for what they had at St. Georges University some years ago. And I know because of the regional structure WIBC has many challenges.
But these intellectuals and top notch businessmen and need to show more skill in managing W.I. cricket.
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Dr. J Simon part 2

#14 tenman » 2012-03-05 18:48

Dr. Simon the reason why this solution has not become a reality is because of the Caesar type of persons who are making the most noise (Politicians).
Quote:
What I am proposing is that there must be a new democratic initiative in Cricket. A new integration movement, which would among other things provide a new impetus to the current weak-kneed regional integration movement, which supports integration in principle but sabotages it in fact, by non-implementation and non-involvement of the people. I have heard none of the learned say that the Regional integration movement "should be returned to the people" where it properly belongs. Nonetheless, cricket now has to take the lead where economics and politics **foot
The rest of the article which offers real solutions can be found at www.candw.ag/~jardinea/ffhtm/ff000211.htm
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tenman

Dr. J Simon part 1

#13 tenman » 2012-03-05 18:41

Dr. Simon I am truly enjoying the debate. You wish to blame the management for the mess we call cricket. Let me quote someone I suspect you respect:
Quote:
The truth is, the West Indies Cricket Board, whether it is called WICB or as of old, West Indies Cricket Board of Control, does NOT control cricket in the West Indies. But it should. Therein lies the rub and the hub of the problem.Let me make myself abundantly clear, Mr President. The WICBC or WICB did not and does not now control cricket in Antigua, in Nevis, in Jamaica, in Barbados, in Guyana, in Trinidad & Tobago, or in the Windwards. The WICB cannot and does not have its policies carried out in any of the territories. Therefore the West Indies cricket Nation, the only time we are a nation, has no national policy on cricket or for cricket - Tim Hector feb 2000 "Dear Mr President"
He also suggested a solution:
Quote:
First and foremost, the WICB must become the national or regional body of cricket, responsible for cricket development at all levels of the West Indies cricketing nation, the only time it is a nation, one and indivisible
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tenman

@ tenmen

#12 Dr. J Simon » 2012-03-05 18:13

My friend, I am sure you follow Cricket. And would know that within the past 15 years West Indies under 19 and under 15 teams have done very well. For example the under 15 team won a world cup under Ramdin and just las tyear young K. Bratwaite had a bid win in under 19 test over Australia ( the current benchmark for cricket development excellence).
If the likes of Gayle, Sarwan,Ramdin, Bravo, Thomas, Bratwaite,Dorwich can have individual and team success at the youth international level, why is it that the same players they beat at youth level they fail against them at senior level ?
I propose that the answer lies in a poor management system of West Indies cricket.
While it may not be the only reason it is the most important.
Look at what is happening in Antiguan and Leewards cricket. Did our guys all of a sudden became talentless and indisciplined compared to their Caribbean neighbours ?
At all levels it is just poor management.
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Dr. J Simon

...same old, same old...

#11 Jumbee Picknee » 2012-03-05 17:47

Greetings folks, I did not read Lester's piece, so I will not comment on it. I read Magic's and found it to be more of a commentary on the politics of the region which the game of cricket falls under, at least in our neck of the woods. We have to begin by removing our political leaders from the decision making capacity regarding sports. Magic mentioned baseball/basketball; we must realize, that these sports have both formal and informal systems that provides them with quality athletes. MONIES invested in them are the natural magnet. This is what RAS was attempting to do, create incentives. Start by initiating kiddies cricket in an organized manner. Get the mothers/fathers involved similar to how America is building its football/soccer program. The reason why baseball/basketball has such a large pool to draw from is due to this kind of involvement. The wheel has already been invented, STOP trying to reinvent it, everything is about money (R. Allen Stanford), therefore we need to put MONEY in the game to get to the championship level and stay there....
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Jumbee Picknee

Dr. J Simon

#10 tenman » 2012-03-05 14:51

Dr. J Simon, I disagree with you. We must be both watching different teams. Even looking at the regional level before players are even selected to the team, we have not produced real bats men in years. Where there is a truth in what you stated is I have seen many promising players join the West Indies team and get lost because they adopt to the bad culture.

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tenman

tenmen let's face the facts.

#9 Dr. J Simon » 2012-03-05 13:55

Hilaire should stop blaming the state of West Indies cricket on the West Indian society and by extension the West Indian people.
Which society today do not have a world of ills ?
Instead of blaming everyone the WIBC officials should take a hard look at themselves and do what it takes to make W.I. cricket better.
These same cricketers that Hilaire speak so ill of do (or did) very well at youth level. If when they get to senoir W.I. level they are not performing, it means that there is a systemic problem with the management of W.I. cricket.
Hilaire and co. stop making excuses for your lack of production, you either lead follow or get the france out the way.
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magic magic , magic

#8 brooklyn » 2012-03-05 13:11

Magic, you could have saved us the time on reading all of this and go ahead and attack Lester Bird directly, you,re so transperent as a journalist or excuse of one, that eventhough you {tried} to be creative in your style , you have left so much to be desired.
There,s so many things you could have penned to make a meaningful contribution, but here you are again attacking the man for personal reason which all readers are aware of by now. Magic I personally believe because of your love for journalism you can become a good one ,but please, get a renewed mind and vision and put with your love and you,ll have more readers to your pieces, and be recognized as a real journalist.
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brooklyn

lets face some facts part 3

#7 tenman » 2012-03-05 12:55

The proper reference for Hillaire's statement is www.stabroeknews.com/2010/sports/05/28/things-will-get-worse-wicb-ceo-hilaire/. It all comes down to since the foundation is weak, how can we expect West Indies cricket to be any better?

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lets face some facts part 2

#6 tenman » 2012-03-05 12:38

Hilaire conceded this was a sad reflection on wider societal ills in the Caribbean. “This is what we have produced as a region,” he said. “We as a region have some real issues and problems that are producing young men in particular, that cannot dream of excellence. “Excellence for them is about the bling, and the money they have. “Our cricketers are products of the failure of our Caribbean society, where money and instant gratification are paramount.” Hilaire doesn’t feel confident about the young West Indies cricketers in waiting, questioning the literacy of half the Under-19 team that finished third in the Youth World Cup in New Zealand earlier this year. He said: “I keep hearing from people, ‘Fire those [current] guys, and bring in new ones!’, but where is the new set coming from? Who are we going to bring in?” “Somebody said to me, ‘Bring in the Under-19s. They came third at the Youth World Cup’. And I whispered that almost half of the Under-19 team could barely read or write. “The simple fact is that we are producing cricketers who are not capable of being World-beaters in cricket. It’s just a simple fact.”
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tenman

lets face some facts part 1

#5 tenman » 2012-03-05 12:37

I came across this blog on some comments made by the WICB CEO which I feel persons need to be aware of: akalol.wordpress.com/2010/05/29/ernest-hilaire-ceo-of-wicb-on-the-state-of-west-indies-cricket/
Quote:
Hilaire said the players seem devoid of the pride that drove previous successful West Indies teams. “I listen to our players speak, and they speak of money, that’s all that matters to them – instant gratification,” he said. “There’s no sense of investing in the future coming from them. We are producing young people in the region that we expect, when they play cricket for the West Indies, to be paragons of virtue. That just won’t happen.” He said: “Sometimes when you speak to the players, you feel a sense of emptiness. The whole notion of being a West Indian, and for what they are playing has no meaning at all. “They have not been brought up with a clear understanding of what it means, and its importance. But do we blame them?”
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tenman

RE: The Politics of Cricket

#4 Reality » 2012-03-05 11:33

The "personal gratifications" of Sir Allen's cricket games should be returned to the people whose money his Antiguan bank stole.
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Reality

Magic

#3 tenman » 2012-03-05 09:52

Magic I agree with most things you wrote except that Gayle be put back on the team and the current WICB board being the biggest problem. Lets have an arbitrator decide on the issue with Gayle. Where the current board is concerned, I feel, for the first time in over a decade a real strategy at play and a focus on team development. Anyway your article has highlighted the fact that MP Bird via that article has shown himself to be advocating medicine he himself would not take. It also shows that past leadership is also responsible for the current mess.

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tenman

RE: The Politics of Cricket

#2 GoodJobBob » 2012-03-05 08:58

When is Grant Thornton going to claw back the US$ 20 million from the Cricket players who "won" the 20/20 match the same way Janvey is trying to get back the US $1.8 (less than 10%) million from American politicians? Or are they "just following orders" from the GOAB again?
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GoodJobBob

badmind & envy

#1 smokie » 2012-03-05 08:16

u must read and overstand the gentleman was simply expounding on the (EGOS) of the individual athletes and not what sport they played. having said that i thought u were a rastaman ;rastaman are not bias minded. everybody can realize u're being political,
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smokie

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Ian 'Magic' Hughes

Ian 'Magic' Hughes is an Antiguan Journalist.






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