Colin E. H. Croft
“Great leaders are not easy to find”; noted Rem Rieder, writing in USA Today, paying tribute to famed, former Washington Post’s Executive Editor Ben Bradlee, who was buried last week, having died aged 93.
“A great leader”, continued Rieder, “makes people believe in the mission. A great leader makes you want to please him (or her). A great leader gets you to play at a higher level than you knew that you could. A great leader has your back!”
Almost exact words had been repeatedly used when West Indies ruled the roost of world cricket, describing especially captain Clive Lloyd, and his immediate successor (Sir) Vivian Richards, as their teams comprising dynamic fast bowers and enterprising, exciting batsmen fully dominated the firmament.
Nearly forty years later, several leaders, great and small, are required to bring West Indies cricket back from that brink it now finds itself on!
I never get credit for things I originate, not even honorable mentions, but some might remember that, as St. Vincent’s Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonzales reiterated afterwards, Grenada’s Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell and former Jamaican Prime Minister PJ Patterson have been earmarked to be on that special committee to be convened to look into this still very fluid and volatile situation in WI cricket.
No stress. We all do whatever we can do to help!
But if you are not fully aware of whom Ben Bradlee really was, if that name vaguely rings a historical bell, Bradlee was very integral to the situation that caused the downfall and resignation of Richard M. Nixon, 37th President of United States of America, portrayed in the great film “All the Presidents’ Men!”
Bradlee backed his investigative reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein to the hilt as they pursued happenings from 1972’s “Watergate Complex” break-in in Washington DC, at a time when confirmation of any such undertakings took much more of gut feelings than today’s world where almost everything can be technologically verified immediately. Bradlee always had the backs of Woodward and Bernstein!
Dave Cameron, West Indies Cricket Board President, the afore-mentioned Caribbean political honchos, and the other sporting and business leaders due to feature in this general overview, will have to accept that whatever happens, this bad situation must be deemed temporary, WI cricket continuing forward.
Great trust must be executed if WI cricket is to move on, with much alacrity, to the immediate future of touring South Africa next month with a team worthy of having that moniker, and even more so, for ICC World Cup 2015. These next two weeks are as important to WI cricket as any period in its short history!
That Marlon Samuels is the only senior player already confirmed for that SA tour, which must happen, indicates that even as shadows are being passed over our visages, understandings, decisions and comings-together are much more distant between the respective warring parties than meet the eyes.
Total trust in sport is everything. Without that, no sport would be successful, especially team sports.
Last week, San Francisco Giants won USA’s baseball “World Series,” courtesy of tremendous late seventh game pitching from “Most Valuable Player” Madison Bumgarner, who was not supposed to have been pitching that night, at least not for as long as he eventually did – five full energized innings.
SF Giants were leading 3-2, just hanging on, as Kansas City Royals seemed destined to rally and win their second “World Series” ever, since their only win way back in 1985. KCR were really steaming!
Then Giants’ manager Bruce Bochy did the unimaginable, almost unthinkable. He placed massive trust and belief in his much used, excellent, but not sufficiently rested ace pitcher, Bumgarner, to bring home San Fran’s eight “World Series” success.
Only great leaders have that sort of trust and belief in their teams and players!
Many Caribbean citizens have already intimated that all true, really great leaders of anything worthwhile of our region are already dead:
WI captain Sir Frank Worrell, Barbados’ Prime Minister Errol Barrow, Jamaica’s Premiers/Prime Ministers Sir Alexander Bustamante, Noman Manley and Michael Manley, Trinidad & Tobago’s Prime Minister Dr. Eric Williams, Guyana’s Presidents Forbes Burnham and Dr. Cheddi Jagan.
Most of those were either very active when most of the Caribbean was becoming independent, or indeed, actually overviewed independence for their respective countries. Of course, Sir Frank is still considered as probably the best WI captain ever, if you ask old timers.
But what made them so special?
All had one clear objective and mission – overall well-being of the Caribbean! Most kept their words!
Our present lot are mostly coined and considered as parochial, provincial, insular and selfish. Hence, our present diaspora and especially cricketers are thusly regarded in that same dismal light too.
That must change immediately, if anything is to be achieved by these difficult ensuing discussions.
Most present WI senior cricketers are relatively well off anyway. One suspects that they are much more concerned about proper principles and clear communications being forthcoming than full finances, even if they are important too.
Trust in one’s word is worth so much more than millions in the bank. Enjoy!
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