By Zaheer E. Clarke
Published April 25, 2016
Five months ago, while lying down on the couch in the office of the legendary and my imaginary psychotherapist, Dr. Émile Coué, I was encouraged to resist.
“Resist the urge of adding your voice to the tittle-tattle that will ensue from the recommendation to disintegrate the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB)”, he said.
After an alleged insufficient review of West Indies cricket, a Caricom and WICB jointly appointed committee produced this dauntless stroke of cracked wisdom: dissolve the WICB. Guided by my wise doctor, I bound my tongue and detained my pen from offering a comment on this repugnant and absurd recommendation.
At the time, my sport-loving heart bled due to other unwholesome events, on and off the field, in athletics, football and West Indies cricket. “Find the joyous side of sports” was the final instruction the good doctor gave me before I rose from his couch and left, certain I would find it.
As time elapsed, my heart healed. Sunlight disinfectant was dabbed on the operations of the IAAF along with its affiliates in Kenya and Russia, and a new FIFA President was elected, amid corruption guilty pleas of indicted former executives. Joyously, West Indies also bagged three World titles and the electronegative emotions that haunted me, finally left me. With all these happy happenings, still the calls ring on for the dissolution of the WICB. Doc, I beg to please excuse me, I think the time of commentary restraint on this recommended dissolution is finally up!
WICB President Dave Cameron has been encircled by his detractors who constantly clamour for the dissolution of his board. Currently, the raucous calls from fans, former and current players, and even Caricom prime ministers can no longer be ignored as they have grown far greater than an abatable nuisance.
Let’s be clear, I’m not an assistant nor a jock of Cameron, nor am I a potboy of the WICB or any anti-WICB organization . Nevertheless, as an independent sports commentator, void of parochialism or insularity, I have to offer the indifferent diagnosis as I see it, irrespective of whether the symptomatic findings are bitter or bittersweet.
To be honest, Cameron and the WICB have made some missteps. The WICB’s own commissioned committee, which reviewed the 2014 Indian tour abandonment have laid blame at Cameron’s and the WICB’s feet, but not theirs only. Equally, blame has been unloaded on the West Indian players, led then by ‘Champion’ songwriter, Dwayne Bravo, and at the West Indies Player Association (WIPA), led by Wavell Hinds. Still, this dissolution we hear about now is solely of the WICB. Should we discard the players from that abandoned tour? No! Else we would hear about victimization. Should WIPA be disbanded? No! Who would represent the regional cricketers? Politicians? Pfft!
The promises and dreams for West Indies cricket that Cameron sold West Indies cricket delegates and we the fans, before his election in 2013, and his re-election in 2015, are being realized and implemented. Cricketers in the regional tournaments are now professional players retained and paid by their teams monthly and per match. Similarly, the US$42 million debt laid against the WICB by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), which Cameron indicated in his 2015 re-election campaign that he’d earnestly try to resolve, is now resolved.
Interestingly, Warren Bennis once remarked, “Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.”
Though these visions that Cameron and we the fans had for West Indies cricket are slowly or swiftly being realized, still, special interest groups are still eager to see the back of Cameron and firmly boot out the incorporated WICB board.
We must question what are the motives here. Is it West Indies cricket getting better or their bruised egos? The track record of endeavours undertaken by politicians in the Caribbean is not one that engenders confidence in terms of the resolution of problems or visions becoming reality.
Fans and members of these special interest groups which thirstily seek Cameron’s and the WICB’s ouster should be reminded of Steve Ventura’s words, “The hallmark of a well-managed organization is not the absence of problems, but whether or not problems are effectively resolved.”
As I alluded to earlier this month, all is not well in West Indies cricket. However, as Cameron promised in 2013, when problems arise, “We (the WICB) must find creative ways of dealing with the challenges that will confront us from time to time.” Objectively, for the most part, he and the board has.
Resolute in defiance, Cameron has exhibited no vacillation in dismissing the dissolution calls, and rightfully so. He has pointed to his promises kept and has asked for the seeds already planted to be given reasonable time to bear the expectant fruits.
The great General George Patton, who led the US Third Army in the middle of World War II was never wholly loved because of his brash style and undiplomatic tongue. Nevertheless, he and the Third Army yielded great results.
Though I don’t always agree with Cameron’s modus operandi or his displayed persona when dealing with certain tough issues, unquestionably, under Cameron’s leadership, a framework has been laid, West Indies cricket is moving forward and is yielding quicker than expected results in some areas.
Just recently, Cameron indicated unequivocally to all West Indian players that “My role is to run the business and your role is to play cricket to the best of your ability. I am providing you with the best compensation that we can afford, that will allow the product to develop and for us to be able to produce the next [set of] players.”
With three trophies to tout, professional leagues a reality and certain bankruptcy avoided, my words to President Cameron as borrowed from George Jacques Danton are “Boldness, more boldness, and always boldness”. Just be careful of it becoming arrogance, Mr. President.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. reminds us that “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”
Even though President Cameron and I haven’t seen eye to eye on everything, I implore him to STAND TALL! History will be your vindicator!
Dr. Coué, I’m done for now. And you were right about resisting. You got any Xanax or Valium around here? I think I may need to calm down.
Until next time…
© Zaheer Clarke
This article is from the “Lies & Statistics” column published in the Western Mirror on April 25, 2016.
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