West Indies news October 5, 2010

Major changes ahead for West Indies, says CEO


Ernest Hilaire, chief executive of the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB), believes that major changes will have to be made to the management structure of Caribbean cricket in order to deal with the challenges posed by the modern-day game, not least the growing tendency for the region's top players to turn down central contracts in favour of lucrative deals in Twenty20 tournaments such as the Indian Premier League.

Consulting firm Deloitte Touche Tomhatsu has been commissioned by the board to compile a study of cricket's changing landscape, and Hilaire believes that their findings will have to be taken seriously by the region's administrators. "Once that exercise is complete, you will see some fundamental changes to how West Indies cricket is managed," Hilaire told ESPNcricinfo. "Anyone who thinks we don't have to change are just fooling themselves."

Hilaire said the board had asked the three players who have turned down their central contracts for next season - Dwayne Bravo, Kieron Pollard and captain Chris Gayle - how to ensure such a situation does not arise again in the future.

"Two of them have said they are willing to share with us how this matter can be dealt with," Hilaire said. All three of them will be considered for selection for West Indies and the board will assume that they are available to tour at that time.

Bravo and Pollard, followed by Gayle, turned down the one-year central contracts offered by the WICB last month. The contracts require the players to make themselves available for the West Indies team at all times, something the three players - all of whom have forged prominent careers in domestic Twenty20 competitions including the IPL - were reluctant to do.

"I don't know that we should necessarily condemn them or chastise them [for doing so]," Hilaire said. "I don't think it is the right decision and I will tell them that."

Under the current rules of international cricket, those who want to play in overseas competitions, such as the Big Bash in Australia or the lucrative IPL, must get clearance to do so from their national board. Hilaire said the WICB has not received any requests from any players so far but the board is re-evaluating its liberal policy of issuing NOCs.

"We need to be a little more circumspect. It is not ideal to allow somebody to turn up just before a Test match. It doesn't make sense, but we did it. On the eve of a major series, we can't have key players exposed to exhaustion or injury.

"We want to know that when we are selecting players, there are some assurances that they will participate in preparatory activities and be at the standard that we need."

Gayle arrived in England two days before the first Test at Lord's in May 2009, two days after his scheduled arrival. He was granted two further days so that he could squeeze in one more IPL match with the Kolkata Knight Riders .

"We are not against players trying to maximise their earnings," Hilaire said. "You should go out and earn money. You are a professional sportsperson. But there are other interests and we have to figure out how best to protect all the interests involved." He admitted that it is unlikely everyone will be completely happy but believes it is possible to come up with a framework that can satisfy all the stakeholders in West Indies cricket.

Hilaire said the board has not had any discussion on whether Gayle should be replaced as captain. The West Indies selection committee will be meeting in Jamaica in a few days and will select a captain and vice-captain for the tour of Sri Lanka.

"The selection committee is empowered to pick a captain and should do so. We [the WICB board of directors] can only hold a discussion after we receive a recommendation."

Hilaire reiterated that the board is committed to the rejuvenation of West Indies cricket and is encouraged that 22 of the 25 players offered central contracts have signed them. "We have a new generation that are eager to play for West Indies on the international stage. They understand the importance of playing for the West Indies and it is an opening for us to build on that."

He said the board was focused on specific activities and programs geared at getting players ready for international cricket, as well working on broadening the base by facilitating more youngsters to take up the game. "There is competition from other sports more now than ever before. Post 15 [years of age] we should not lose players to basketball, football, tennis and swimming. If you don't have programs, they will go into other sports that do offer programs."

The WICB also wants to improve its relationship with West Indies Players' Association (WIPA), as the two organisations have to work together, but Hilaire said the relationship is "still a work in progress," and that there will always be moments where the board and WIPA do not agree. However, the important thing, according to him, is that everyone agrees "that some direct and aggressive intervention is needed" to turn West Indies cricket around.

Tariq Engineer is a senior sub-editor at Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • afterhours on October 9, 2010, 0:26 GMT

    Greame Smith at twenty two was barely in the South African team when he became Captain, now look at his record as Captain. What different does it make this team is gonna loose anyhow and if nothing change now ten years down the road we will be in the same position saying the same thing, then what. Every player have the right to do what he or she wants to do just as the WICB have the right to do what they think is the betterment for WI cricket. Some of you guys cant think outside of the box and that a problem. Having respect for Gayle what have he to show for it maybe they need fear. I say trow caution to the wind forget about the status quo. A young W I team now will be better in two years than this team will be in four if you don't believe me just take a look at the last ten years.

  • dummy4fb on October 8, 2010, 15:26 GMT

    At this point, there is no point. Any one person can command a team that really does not want to perform. As for who think that consistency is the key to captaincy, Lloyd was never consistent. You can even put a board member to captain the team really, they are pretty much consistent or even Ramnarine is consistent. There is no plan obvious plan to go forward, except for bias. Everyone on the team has their own agenda, including Gayle. Start searching outside the box. History is not written by those who write, but those who challenge and act on it.

  • Metman on October 8, 2010, 14:50 GMT

    @loverboyp !3 very good comments you have made ! I had mentioned Sammy as capt.on the belief that both Gayle and Bravo would not have been in the team ,however,if both are selected,Gayle would still be the best man to lead the team.It would make no sense to make Sammy capt.with Gayle and Bravo in the team,and I totally agree with you,it would only lead to more confusion!however,as I said in another forum,I would not pick any one of the so called" money men" in my team,because those who are not embarassing or snubbing the Board now,will do it later!

  • loverboyp on October 8, 2010, 4:15 GMT

    A man that cant even make the first eleven on a regular basis , persons are calling to be captain if i am sammy and i am offered the captain of westindies i will turn it down, why? because i will want to be a prominent member of the team being a consistant performer where i could command respect from senior players because of my performance . gale is still the best man for the job those that are calling for his replacement are cricketing nonskulls , he has the respect of the team , he may have his short comings as everybody else gale has no hidden agenda, the team understand him he is not vindictive as was the case of lara, let me just say that pride is not money pride have cause many to starve westindies players criketing carare are very short, players are forced out of the team when they are in their early thirties with some help from our commentators who are also helping to destroy westindies cricket, as for michael clark captain he wants so can say anything.

  • lugujaga on October 7, 2010, 22:46 GMT


  • RealWI on October 7, 2010, 17:25 GMT

    These players strike because they wanted central contract, now they have contracts they turn it down, talk about hypocrisy. A central contact safe guard national teams from being broken up, these players can play IPL or other tournaments as long as their national teams isn't touring. What these 3 players fail to understand is that money can't buy pride,history,tradition or legacy. Our team will remain at the bottom as long as we keep picking players who don't share in the pride that come with putting on the uniform. It's clear that the hard work it takes to play test cricket and to restore West Indian pride is locking in these players. We must all remember, that the older folks use to say when a person show you who they are believe them the first time. This isn't the first time that Gayle and Pollard complain about test cricket, or Bravo choosing the IPL over West Indies team, it's time to move on. They are nothing special to begin with.

  • dummy4fb on October 7, 2010, 11:23 GMT

    The guys that didn't sign I agree with them. It seems as if people have a short memory. When Bravo was injured 2 years ago the WICB turned there back on him, he had to pay for all his medical treatment. This is a business not a friendship agreement, WICB are looking out for themselves so the players should also, they have a family to take care of and if they have a career ending injury they aren't guaranteed a job on the WICB board, where the board members are getting paid more than the players. This is not slavery, do like other teams pay a man what he is worth. Although West Indies cricket is at the bottom it is still a traveling show that every one in the world comes out to see because we are unique. For a calender year the WICB makes a minimum of 50 million US$. Test 5 million US$ minimum, ODI each 2 million US$ minimum. Where does the money go.

  • loverboyp on October 7, 2010, 4:02 GMT

    if the other 23 players that sign was in a better position i believe they all would withold their signiture demanding better from the board i guess that when you are poor you are expose to anything that comes and thats the case with the 23 chanders sign because he not in the ipl and bigbash. guys dont be held ransome by a board who have no regards for plays .

  • loverboyp on October 7, 2010, 3:47 GMT

    how come we dont understand that not siging the contract does not mean that the players are not playing for their national team. they never said that, all they are saying is that we want to be free dont try to tie us up we are not slave the matter is not money if it was that i believe that they would of sign ,but the matter of making mandatery to make themselfself available at all times is a restriction that anybody will have problem,. the wicb needs to treat the players as big men not as their childeren give the players some respect, understand where cricket is now and try to catch up this board has miss the boat the administrators of westindies cricket has no idear as to what to do pack up guys as leave let persons with cricketing brain and proper business sense take charge who knows how to market cricket then we might have leags and clubs in the west indies that will draw the same attraction as the big bash ipl icl and the t20 prov bravo gale pollard your signature belongs to you.

  • Frocktail on October 7, 2010, 3:46 GMT

    I hope that the selectors do not make the grave mistake of recommending Gayle and Bravo for captain and vice captain of the team. If they do, I hope the WICB will have the guts to turn down the recommendation. Sammy is a good candidate with Nash as his deputy. Those guys seem committed to West Indies cricket and now is the time to build for the future.

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