West Indies v Sri Lanka 2007-08 / Features

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The West Indies board's efforts to regain lost ground

Operational gaffes cloud lofty vision

Repeated bunglings by WICB officials have embarrassed West Indies cricket

Tony Cozier

April 13, 2008

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Jerome Taylor has his name spelled incorrectly during the first ODI against Sri Lanka © AFP
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The West Indies Cricket Board made its draft strategic plan public last week. It is a weighty document, full of grandiose plans and expectations - and good intentions.

It is, president Julian Hunte stated in his foreword, "intended to elucidate and operationalise our vision of the future, a future in which the West Indies will once more be a major, if not the dominant, force in world cricket".

"The one thing the plan recognises is that we need the support and active participation of all sectors of Caribbean society if we are to succeed in restoring the pride in our cricket," he added.

The president must know that all with the well-being of West Indian cricket close to their hearts, share such hopes. But the WICB won't get "the support and active participation of all sectors of the Caribbean society" if the functionaries employed to administer the plan continue to embarrass West Indies cricket with their repeated gaffes.

If they cannot get team shirts with the correct spelling of their players' names, or any name at all, on the back; fail to raise an XI to fulfill a scheduled fixture against the visiting international team, cause play to be delayed in a ODI for lack of a computer with the details of the essential Duckworth-Lewis system and fluff any one of the dozens of their simple chores as they have done in recent years, how can they be expected to manage a programme of development the strategic plan estimates will cost US$138 million over the next five years?

The sight of our premier fast bowler, with one of the most common surnames in the English language, running into the batsman with "Tayrol" written across his back during the first ODI on Thursday was demeaning - unless Jerome Taylor was now sponsored by the newest miracle cough mixture.

As he delivered, a fielder crouched at slip had the back of his top swathed in as much plaster as to treat an Iraq war veteran. He was, we were made to understand, Devon Smith who had to borrow Sewnarine Chattergoon's shirt because his was not ready. And this for a match programmed for months.

Later, as play was about to resume after lunch, there was a delay of a quarter-hour while someone tried to get the Duckworth-Lewis details for match referee Chris Broad. And so on and so forth, ad infinitum.

"What do we say to those who state that all this is just nit-picking," Fazeer Mohammed asked rhetorically on his radio/TV show during the week.

What we say is that nits can make life very uncomfortable and a plague of them has undermined West Indies cricket for too long.

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