Beggars don't decide matters
A deafening silence on the part of the West Indies Cricket Board in the lead up to the earth shaking International Cricket Council's pronouncements last week in Dubai has been reflective of our servile stance in International Cricket. Proposals by the I.C.C. were stridently shouted in one cold headline: ICC GIVE MORE POWERS TO INDIA, AUSTRALIA, ENGLAND. At this the West Indies Board's whimper came that it had reserved public comment on the issue, and having had the benefit of discussions along with other ICC board members, it joined with other member countries in accepting the proposals.
Before the discussions began in Dubai, Michael Atherton, former England captain, condemned the proposal to put power to run International Cricket in the hands of India, England and Australia. Writing in the Times newspaper of London, Atherton said it was the end of an idealistic notion that the game can be run for the benefit of all nations. He put it bluntly "if you cannot be idealistic about sport, what can you be idealistic about?"
Many smile at the colonial innuendo when Atherton remarks that "the tone of the proposal is so arrogant and high-handed as to recall an earlier age when the organization( ICC) began as the Imperial Cricket Conference.
The former England captain speaks disparagingly about governance in world cricket, citing that two full member countries are thought to be corrupt, four are essentially broke; most rely on India's largesse to keep going"….
Atherton indicated that a recommendation to place power in the hands of an independent executive would have been the most idealistic solution.
Similar dissatisfaction was forthcoming from longstanding Jamaican columnist Tony Becca who intoned there is a difference between what is fair and what is not. Becca put it this way "There is also a difference between justice and injustice, and the very thought of the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer, the reality of cricket being fully in the hands of England, Australia and India, or anyone, two or three countries permanently is madness."
Becca emphasized , "People including those in sports, should be allowed to vote for who they want to serve them and for what they want to do, and that should be the right of the cricket fraternity." He asks, "on top of that, where were these people in the days when the West Indies was on top, when they defeated all comers anywhere in all conditions, including England who suffered 5-0, 5-0, 4-0 on three successive occasions, and when they packed out every ground in the world as the people everybody rushed to see them play? There was no talk of promotion and relegation, and no attempt to change the rate of pay."
The Becca article culminates with the broadside that "cricket is nowhere comparable to football or athletics and says the ICC does not compare with FIFA or the IOC, and I will bet my bottom dollar that FIFA or the IOC would never attempt a control like this."
The West Indies Cricket Board issued a statement backing the principles put forward by the ICC executive board meeting in Dubai and joined with other full members of the ICC in providing support for key principles relating to the future structure, governance and financial models of the ICC. Based on the new proposed system of ICC revenue sharing for the upcoming eight year cycle (2015-2023) the West Indies Board projects to receive at least 100 percent increase on the previous eight year cycle (2006-2014).
It should be noted four cricket national boards, Cricket South Africa, Sri Lanka Cricket the Bangladesh Cricket Board and the Pakistan Cricket Board have opposed the New ICC principles.
Seemingly, West Indies have taken the prospect of increases in the handout revenues it will receive as its sole consideration. It is too early to prognosticate on how its expanded revenues will be appointed for improvement of Cricket in the Caribbean. All talks of a strategic development plan trumpeted many moons ago have apparently been put on the back burner.
Where such initiatives allied to grassroots development programmes surface one hopes it will not be the case of the "haves" being granted more and the "have-nots" given much less. Echoes of the late Sir Frank Worrell saying the West Indies will have to look for its top performers coming from the "smaller" islands will have suffered serious antagonism — and much silence from the Big Four in West Indies Cricket! Our only chance of escaping the category of the voiceless is to allow our performance on the field of play to do the talking — and rather loudly.
(Reginald St. Havis Shillingford is a Sports Analyst and Commentator)