The Secret Task Force

3rd November 2014

Quick Singles  

A one-stop WI Rumshop round-up of Caribbean cricket comment, news & views

‘Softly softly’

ESPN Cricinfo finally reported overnight the end of the WI cricket stand-off, with a fairly brief summary by an unnamed member of ‘staff’. It took them two days to acknowledge the event.

How can West Indies cricket be followed seriously internationally when the game’s premier (and otherwise marvelous) media organ monitors the region’s cricket news no more closely than it does non-Test playing countries – who, however individually worthy, don’t approach the traditions, history and heritage of Caribbean cricket?

But then again, when events in the West Indies are this ludicrous and ridiculous, how can it reasonably expect to receive serious coverage by the outside world – or even deserve it?

Come on Cricinfo – get someone, please to do the job properly. I know you’ve got Garth Wattley’s contact details – he for one would do a super job.

And yet if the WICB is bankrupted, and the individual island states are forced, in isolation, to seek cricket nation status and recognition as Associates or Affiliates – it may well be that the best coverage of Caribbean cricket will be via the intelligent and thorough Idle Summers monthly podcast by Russell Degnan and Andrew Nixon. (As an aside, in a tea-time chat on Guerilla Cricket during the 2nd Test between Pakistan and Australia in UAE, Gideon Haigh and Daniel Norcross discussed the WI’s current problems, and the implications for world cricket. It’s well worth a listen).

The papers today in the Caribbean continue to report the end of the strike – but also note that none of the parties involved has actually yet given an official statement. This is fairly typical of the exceedingly poor information stream that trickles out of the WICB. This is something that Keith Holder in Barbados Today has taken the Board to task for on recent occasions.

Continuing the theme of abysmal communication and high farce played out on a public platform, Tony Cozier revealed that the appointments of Sir Wes Hall and Sir David Simmons to the Task Force, as revealed in the press yesterday, was news to them! They learned of their appointments from a report in the Barbados Nation’s Sunday Sun (well it certainly wouldn’t have been via Cricinfo).

Is this a secret Task Force? So clandestine that its own members don’t know they are on it?

Cozier also disclosed that this Task Force (which is deputed to address the BCCI’s financial claim) is an entirely different Task Force to the one which was “proposed at the WICB directors’ emergency meeting in Barbados October 21 that was to review the overall circumstances of debacle in India.”

For the sake of clarity, the WICB needs to distinguish between the two Task Forces – maybe by numbering them 1 and 2, or labeling them A and B? Perhaps a Task Force can be set up to look into this? It is obviously a far more pressing issue than actually informing those Task Force personnel that have been delegated to constitute them.

In Jamaica, JCA President and WICB director, Billy Heaven admitted he hasn’t yet even seen the letter from the BCCI claiming USD$42m:

“I am aware of the letter. But I am not privy to the details of it right now, but, hopefully, soon.”

Now’s as good a time as any, Billy. It’s right here.

In Trinidad, the Express reported that – ahead of the start this month of the newly constituted, franchised 4-day regional first-class tournament – the Red Steel players, coaching staff and TTCB officers have today gathered, including regional representatives who were members of the striking ODI party. The TTCB recently published a condemnation of the strike, but Board President, Azim Bassarath was at pains to point out that no bad feeling exists towards those players:

“The players have not done the Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board anything… the selectors will decide who will play for Trinidad and Tobago. Nobody is going to interfere with the selection process. The policy of the board is not to direct selectors in terms of who they should select and so on. That has never been done in the past and I am guaranteeing that it will never happen under my stewardship. They selectors can select them (the West Indies players) if they see fit.”

Bassarath also revealed that “(Denesh) Ramdin contacted the coach on Wednesday and made an appointment to see him on Thursday morning at 10 a.m. However Ramdin did not show up.”

TTCB member, and former head of WIPA, Dinanath Ramnarine took to Twitter today to pour scorn on the Board’s meeting with the players, now that Dwayne Bravo and Kieron Pollard have already departed for South Africa to appear in the Ram Slam T20 tournament:

“The TTCB have waited for Pollard and Bravo to depart for SA to then decide that they want to meet with the players. Good eg of incompetence…

“Instead of strongly condemning the players it wud have made good sense to meet with the players and try to understand their point of view…

“It shows their lack of understanding of due process and another example of the poor leadership that exist in cricket, change is desperately…

“needed in the Governance of our sport. This is very important if we are to recover from this debacle. Everyone need to play their part.”

Also taking to Twitter in a defiant manner, according to the Express, was WICB President, Dave Cameron:

“They’ve criticized you. They’ve doubted you. They’ve lied on you. They’ve done all they can do, but one thing they can’t do is stop you!”

Subsequent to the newspaper’s report, Cameron returned to Twitter to post the following:

“Three things to watch: The words you say to yourself The words you say to others The words you allow others to say to you!”

Caribbean newspapers are still printing feature columns, editorials and letters airing opinions and voicing reactions. The Guyana Chronicle was keen that the aborted tour should not damage wider regional relations with India:

“The nature of the crisis and the grave implications for maintenance of historical treasured relations between India and the nations of this Region cannot and must not be jeopardised.
Too much is at stake and, consequently, NO effort should be spared to secure, as quickly as possible, a practical resolution.”

Others though are wearying, and are tired of the whole thing already. Fazeer Mohammed, for one is showing signs of fatigue:

“How many people are really interested in the details of this latest impasse, given that all the subsequent smiles, handshakes and prime ministerial interventions are merely a precursor to the next “crisis” in West Indies cricket?”;

while Darren Sammy doesn’t want to talk about it at all.

Chris Gayle was more forthcoming, and hoped that the tour of South Africa would still go ahead.

In an attempt at problem solving, Rubadiri Victor contextualised the current woes of West Indies cricket, and put forward a case to adopt Brian Lara’s suggestion that WI cricket should be a publicly owned commodity, accountable to, answerable to, and administered by the Caribbean people; while Lara himself was confident that “West Indian cricket is going to be alive.”

Meanwhile, President of the Demerara Cricket Board, Raj Singh submitted his resolution action plan; and also took the time to call upon the WI selectors to recall Shiv Chanderpaul in ODI cricket.

And finally some good news: former WI quick bowler, Daren Powell has won the nomination to represent the People’s National Party for the constituency of North West Elizabeth in Jamaica’s next general election.

How long, we wonder, before he is elevated to the giddy heights of a WICB Task Force?

David Oram

David Oram is the resident ‘statto’, and sometime presenter of ‘Mason & Guests’ – Voice of Barbados’ weekly cricket talk show, the leading cricket radio show in the West Indies – hosted by the Caribbean’s principal  radio commentator, Andrew Mason. You can tweet me at DavidOram@colblimp1983.

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One thought on “The Secret Task Force

  1. Pingback: A Pirate Station Or The Late Night Show | How Did We Lose In Adelaide

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