Colin E. H. Croft
The combined diplomatic skills of USA Secretaries of State John Kerry, General Colin Powell, Mrs. Hillary Clinton, Dr. Henry Kissinger, and former Commonwealth Secretary General and Foreign Minister of Guyana, Sir Shridath (Sonny) Ramphal are needed for this ultra-difficult West Indies cricket salvage job!
West Indies Cricket Board’s emergency meeting was absolutely necessary, but that should have been done previously, with only West Indies Players Association and West Indies senior players present. This debilitating virulence has brought WI cricket to a new nadir!
WICB’s statement afterwards was impressive, but the obvious problem here is that incumbents who got us into this morass in the first place are the same ones now trying to get us out of it. That never works! Dialogue should have been entertained ages ago, while the team was still in India, but in total privacy.
So all is now out in the open, with India’s Board of Control for Cricket in India blaming WICB and WI players for this, so whatever WICB does from here is still too late, even if hopes are high that good may still come from it. But independent, cool thoughts and minds are needed from here on in!
Do you remember Warner Brothers’ Looney Tunes cartoon, depicting Bugs Bunny trying to outsmart arrogant and aggressive Yosimite Sam, with Bugs “daring” Sam, several times, to cross a continuingly re-positioned line in the sand, until Sam crossed that final mark, falling over a deep, damaging precipice?
Who was Bugs and who was Sam in this newest fracas between WICB, WIPA and WI players is open to conjecture, but WI’s pull-out from India was certainly one step too far, one that hurts all involved!
Those USA Sec-States might have pressing, life-endangering, national and international assignments, but Sir Sonny should be called in, pronto, with his affinity and familiarity of similar situations, from 2009, to again try to sort out this deadly impasse in WI cricket.
Bullying has occurred here too, but India was not at fault here. They hosted well. With the ODI series proceeding enticingly; 2-1, Tests to come; many have been greatly deprived of a potentially ultra-entertaining cricket series.
Despite WICB’s endeavors, ramifications may still be great and long lasting. This is just warming up!
India might still sue for nearly US$70 million initially, but this pull-out is going to have more far reaching pain financially, as India has already suspended bilateral series with WI, and will, for now, probably not tour the Caribbean in 2016, a tour much anticipated and absolutely needed, financially speaking.
Incidentally, what about the futures of WI players who play in Indian Premier League, and futures of such unheralded emerging WI players as Guyanese Leon Johnson and Barbadian Jason Holder in all this?
Time is short to India’s Caribbean tour next Olympic year. Action must be immediate, if not sooner!
While this suggested “Task Force” deserves the best and coolest thinking heads, there are very few non-insular persons without personal or professional agendas, vendettas even, left in the Caribbean who could command such respect and have anyone listen to them. Sir Shridath is one of those very few!
Former Jamaican Prime Minister Percival J. Patterson is another who not only commands similar respect, but actually wrote much about ways forward for WI cricket and how it should really be run.
Joining them should be present Grenadian PM, Dr. Keith Mitchell, one of the more progressive leaders in the Caribbean, and who, without the usual inane lip service, cares deeply about WI cricket’s well-being.
With those shakers, combine other independent moving cricketing inputs, to sort out this bind – Michael Holding, Sir Vivian Richards, yours truly even – people who are always honest about WI cricket.
Chairman Clive Lloyd and his selectors, WI Players Association President Wavell Hinds, all of WICB, present WI captains Dwayne Bravo, Darren Sammy and Denesh Ramdin, are all much too close to this burgeoning overload to be as objective as required, with tensions and passions running so very high.
It will not be easy. There is much darkness here; no pun intended. Hence, those with no axes to grind must be summoned to bring necessary illumination!
World cricket needs WI much, but WI cricket has to heal itself first before trying to export that hopeful belief and attitude that this will never happen again!
Sir Clyde Walcott was first to mention; 1970; when I first played for Guyana’s Under-19’s, that “the game is always bigger than the man!”
True! Our magnificent game has survived many past severe negative episodes of undermining external and internal stimuli. Certainly, though, it will never be the same again after this so far unique debacle!
Normally positive and helpful Cricket South Africa must be pondering if they could take chances on WI’s scheduled tour in December and January, CSA not being sure if similar situations could not put its extensive, expensive plans for that useful full tour into similar chaos and jeopardy.
CSA could not officially cancel that tour, but they must be getting incessant migraines now. Meanwhile, ICC is hovering, waiting, contemplating. Drastic follow-ups are still very possible! Enjoy!
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