Latest update March 27th, 2023 12:59 AM
Feb 02, 2023 Features / Columnists, Peeping Tom
Kaieteur News – It is ironic that local cricket enthusiasts should be calling upon the government to intervene in the administration of the local game.
One person has gone as far as asking the government to dissolve the Guyana Cricket Board and replace it with an interim committee. Unfortunately that is a hare-brained suggestion. For one, neither the West Indies Cricket Board nor the International Cricket Council would countenance such a move by the political authorities. The International Cricket Council (ICC) would look disapprovingly at such a development. In 2019, it will be recalled, that the ICC suspended Zimbabwe from all its competitions because of government interference in that country’s cricket. This was after the government took action against the local cricketing Board and installed an interim leadership to administer Zimbabwean Cricket. The ICC, in response, said it could not condone such political interference.
When a former PPP/C government had attempted to nationalize the assets of the Guyana Cricket Board, the West Indies Cricket Board made it clear that the government had no right to seek to take over a private entity concerned with the administration of local cricket.
Yet, political interference is the very action which one cricket enthusiast wants replicated in Guyana. As long as the government installs an interim committee to manage local cricket, Cricket West Indies (CWI) would have no other option but to suspend Guyana from participation in regional cricket tournaments and its meetings. But why would the government want to replace a Board which it went to such extremes to install?
The ICC’s Constitution requires that cricket be administered autonomously. But what happens if the law of a country or an ICC member state allows for the removal of a local cricketing council?
This was the case in 2020, when the authorities responsible for sport in South Africa called upon Cricket South Africa to step aside. The situation reached an impasse which was resolved inelegantly when the contesting parties reached an agreement but there is no doubt that there was political interference in Cricket South Africa.
There is equally little doubt that the PPP/C government was intent on toppling the former local cricket Board so as seize control of local cricket. It virtually declared war on the local cricket Board. The then Board stoutly resisted for years, exhausting the legal system to full effect.
But the PPP/C would not be denied. There is little doubt that it was pulling strings behind the scenes in an attempt to topple the old Board. The PPP/C got its way and a cricket law was enacted as a new Board duly elected. But cricket has not been the same ever since.
The administration of local game is now being placed under the microscope. A number of alleged grievances, over the manner in which local cricket is administered have been ventilated in public. A mini-storm is being created over an on-field tradition. The selection of the Guyana team for the ongoing Regional four-day tournament has been criticized in some quarters. There was a breach of good faith in the manner in which one of Guyana’s representatives on the CWI was removed. Divisions and backstabbing have been alleged, and there have been a call for the Guyana Cricket Board to be dissolved. Unfortunately or fortunately, the law does not allow this. And should anything like this happen, it would be hard-pressed for Cricket West Indies not to reject such political meddling. But why would the PPPC want to dissolve a Board with which it finds so much favour?
In fairness to the local cricket Board, there has been little cricket over the past three years. With such limited cricket, selecting a team is always going to reek of controversy. The pandemic had blanketed any attempt to organize tournaments and with the poor weather and atrocious condition of cricket grounds, it was the most challenging period for the Guyana Cricket Board.
The government can try to assist to sponsor more tournaments. But even with strong government backing, it will take some doing to overcome the malaise in local cricket. There is simply not sufficient cricket being played locally. Cricket in a crisis in Guyana and while some blame for this has to be paid at the feet of PPP/C governments which meddled in the affairs of the Guyana Cricket Board, other factors such as weather, the poor state of grounds, limited tournaments and the pandemic must be taken into account when apportioning responsibility. Issues over team selection are only a symptom of the malaise which has crept in local cricket administration. These issues are not the cause of the problem and therefore are not likely, even if resolved satisfactorily, to stem the decline in local cricket.
(The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and beliefs of this newspaper and its affiliates.)
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