West Indies news April 13, 2017

'Caribbean cricket hijacked by small clique'

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Dr Keith Rowley, the Prime Minister of Trinidad & Tobago, is dismayed by the lack of crowds at matches in the West Indies © AFP

Cricket in the Caribbean has been "hijacked by a small clique" of people. That is the assertion of Dr Keith Rowley, the Prime Minister of Trinidad & Tobago, who is part of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) that has been highly critical of the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB). The CARICOM has blamed the WICB for West Indies' slump in the ICC's Test and ODI rankings for more than a decade.

The CARICOM's opposition to the WICB coincided with the rise of Dave Cameron, who was unanimously re-elected for a third successive term as board president. Last year Cameron rejected the CARICOM cricket review panel's recommendation to dissolve the WICB. According to Cameron the CARICOM panel had ignored the "sweeping" changes brought in by the WICB since 2002 in its governance structure and had also failed to consult territorial boards and WICB directors before listing its findings.

The defiant attitude of Cameron and the WICB, according to Rowley, had only distracted from the real question of who owns Caribbean cricket. The CARICOM, he said, believes cricket is a public product that belongs to the people and not to the WICB.

"Caribbean cricket has been hijacked by a small clique of people who are hell bent on destroying Caribbean cricket," Rowley told the Trinidad-based TV station CNC3 TV on Wednesday. "And this is my position that unless the question is answered as to who owns that asset we spinning top in mud."

The WICB, Rowley said, had told him the board was not accountable to the CARICOM any more, considering it was now a business entity and had become West Indies Inc.

In the media release it sent out following Cameron's re-election, the WICB had spoken of its efforts to rebrand itself.

"In moving forward, the President and the team will have the new strategic plan which will facilitate improved performances at the regional and international level and explore a more robust governance system," the WICB said. "The strategy revolves around the rebranding of Cricket West Indies; the development of our commercial arm - Windies Inc; and the creation of a development foundation to finance cricket development in the region".

Rowley has questioned the basis for the change.

"I was told to my face, me and my colleague the Prime Minister of Grenada, that you all have no say in this. This is West Indies Cricket Inc. West Indies Cricket Incorporated. And it is their shareholders that they have to please. I don't know who the shareholders are, but what I do know [is] unless there are drastic changes to the current arrangements West Indies cricket will never get back to where it is expected to be."

For Rowley, in addition to the decline in West Indies cricket, the most "painful" thing was the fans moving away from the game. He gave the example of driving past Queen's Park Oval in Port-of-Spain and being bewildered by the silence inside when a match was on.

"You know how painful it is for me. In this country lining up outside the [Queen's Park] Oval from 6'0 clock in the morning to get in. That's how cricket used to be. Barbados is playing Trinidad & Tobago and the Oval is full because you got to beat them Bajans, ha! And now, you are passing outside the Oval and you ask, "what's happening in there?" You know how painful that is."

Nagraj Gollapudi is a senior assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • sherwine on April 17, 2017, 23:22 GMT

    For a Prime Minister to make a comment, he must be greatly concern and worried, I agree with his opinion. WNHS, that was exactly what I was thinking, Pollard and Ramdin was the scapegoat! Their replacement Hope and Carter performance is worse! JPIZEL very interesting point

  • WNHS on April 17, 2017, 16:29 GMT

    JPIZEL well said and noted. I always use that tri series as a pointer to show that Pollard and Ramdin were on the chopping blocks and the selectors were waiting for them to not perform once just to get rid of them. The very next ODI series against Pakistan in the UAE, the whole team performed terribly yet those 2 were made scapegoats for that debacle and dropped while the captain and mr remember the name got series after series to fail and didn't get dropped. The very next series after they were dropped WI lost a tri series losing games to Zimbabwe (!) and Sri Lanka. In one game Evin Lewis made 148 not out and West Indies lost! So we went from being in the final of a tri series against 2 of the top 3 teams in the world to coming dead last against 2 of the worst teams in odi cricket in the space of 4 months. Yet people come on here and try to justify it when the facts showed that with Pollard, Narine, Samuels, Bravo, Gabriel etc carried the team.

  • George Scott on April 17, 2017, 15:25 GMT

    One point of note for the author it's simply "CARICOM" not "The CARICOM"

  • Jpizel on April 17, 2017, 0:38 GMT

    @Mekkayel. No not at all. POLLARD actually was injured for most of 2015. Pollard, narine, Samuels, ramdin, Gabriel and lil bravo actually were in top form in the tri series last year. A tournament we were well expected to be out of in the first round and without contributions from the captain and the self proclaimed spokesman. Narine took a fiver in the first game, pollard guided a chase in the first game in st Kitts, Gabriel bowled hostile throughout, taking four in the semis, bravo and Samuels scored hundreds in different matches and ramdin scored 97 in the game that Samuels scored a hundred. One series yes but it's a whole lot more than holder and Braithwaite have done in virtually their entire careers.

  • Jpizel on April 16, 2017, 20:54 GMT

    METMAN this is 2017 de boss. Not 2014. And actually if you had done your research, polled along with dinesh ramdin, Marlon Samuels, lil bravo, Sunil Nadine and Shannon Gabriel were some of the players whose performances led us against all predictions to the final of the tri series last year. Pollard anchored the innings in the first game in st Kitts against S.A., Sunil took a fiver in the first game in Guyana, small bravo and Samuels scored hundreds and denesh scored 97 in the same match Marlon scored a hundred. Your rants aren't backed up by facts. And even if (and it is not the case) Polly and simmo were out of form since 20q4, that suggests they were good at some point. Holder was never good and Braithwaite was good for four balls in his entire career.

  • WNHS on April 15, 2017, 13:07 GMT

    METMAN I see comprehension is not your strong point. I did say that the crowd was filled with more english tourists than locals for the 3rd ODI against England just last month, even though there were 6 Bajans (Kraigg, Hope, Carlos, Holder, Carter, Nurse) on the team. Your excuse about noise levels from the English so it seemed as if there were more of them is laughable. I saw the crowd with my own eyes and I don't think i'm blind. The T20 was even worse and the crowds didn't come out to see their captain incredible and Mr forget the name. Don't blame the lack of crowd on "dead weights" like Simmons and Pollard because 1 of them was the reason WI got to the final of the T20 WC while the other was injured. So if that's the case then my gosh the insularity situation in Barbados is worse than I thought. Fact is that BIM has 1 good T20 player in Dwayne Smith and he has retired from Intl cricket so you can't possibly think a Trini is taking a Bajan's spot, Just look at the Tridents :)

  • logan49 on April 15, 2017, 1:11 GMT

    The WI. Cricket Inc, is now a corporate entity with its own board of directors making it strickly business and no cricket. Very soon they will be in one of the Caribbean stock exchange, with no accountability, getting fat pay checks and players get peanuts. This is end of the Caribbean islands cricket future. Becoming a corporate entity the WI. Cricket Inc. is not committed to financing the local cricket boards, there will be no local boards representing the islands. The islands governments should refuse the WI. Cricket Inc, any uses of the cricket grounds in the Caribbean unless the islands are given part of the television income and the gate receipt. The islands whom previously voted Cameron in position is now kicked out and that goes to Guyana, Jamaica, Windward and Leewards Islands. Well WI fans its over, concentrate on the CPL that`s the way to go.

  • swarzi on April 14, 2017, 22:27 GMT

    Prime Minister Rowley is absolutely correct! And the most frightening thing about this clique is the level of incompetence that the entire group exhibits. When I see the names that make up the group, I'm asking myself, if WI cricket really deserves this level of retribution; because this clique upon us reminds one of what happened to the Egyptians in Moses time - as it looks as though we cannot get rid of them!

  • Mekkayel on April 14, 2017, 20:39 GMT

    @jpizel, so you're saying that Simmons and Pollard's poor form since 2014 are darren Sammy, Bravo and Brathwaite's fault? they were all captain during this period. :)

  • Jpizel on April 14, 2017, 20:37 GMT

    And while I'm at it, I remember a noted Caribbean intellectual from the same place in question justifying the actions of his countrymen say ing that apartheid had not been legally dismantled as yet so S.A. should not have been there while his fellow citizens were saying they were glad to have the saffers in their country but were upset at the exclusion of their star bowler

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