John Holder on the WI Crisis

4th November 2014

Overthrows  – backing up strong returns

I’ve been attacking the keyboard so furiously lately (in both senses of the word), and with such singular focus, that I’ve been neglecting the correspondences I’ve received in return (with one notable exception yesterday, which I felt it best to address immediately).

So it’s well-passed time that I catch up a bit, and say many ‘thank yous’ to those who have taken a moment to read my pieces; those who have been moved to leave a comment or email me a reply; and especially those who have been promoting RBH via their own blogs and Twitter. Cheers guys!

The first feedback round-up I want to share is from my good friend, former international umpire, and Barbados born, John Holder.

John has dropped me an email several times in reply to my posted opinions, and these are his thoughts:

Oct 26th

Hi David,

What a sad state of affairs regarding the state of cricket in the Caribbean. Why is it that the WICB is permanently in conflict, with players, sponsors and umpires? No other board in the world of cricket, even Pakistan, has a record of poor industrial relations to match that of the WICB. Are they autocrats who treat everyone like inferiors?

Marlon Samuels’ statement that he would have liked to complete the tour is interesting. How many other players felt like he did and Dwayne Bravo seems to have copied Ramnarine’s approach, one of confrontation, blackmail and bullying. All in all, the parties concerned have imperiled West Indies cricket and have dragged it to its knees. I sincerely hope that somehow sanity returns and that the game which means so much to thousands of West Indians somehow recovers and regains its place in international cricket. At present it is the laughing-stock of the cricket world.

Regards, John

I replied:

I so agree, John.

I hope with so many influential people thinking likewise that somehow a middle ground can be found whereby WI cricket get stay on its feet, rather than its knees, and reclaim its dignity.

Best, David

Oct 31st


Sadly, the WICB has a history of conflict, with sponsors, players and umpires. Their approach to customer relations is reminiscent of the master and servant one. I also feel that there needs to be some openness on its part about its finances. The Daily Mail reported that the board is $US3 Million in debt. If that is the case, finding money to pay the players will be virtually impossible, so say so publicly. Treat the players and cricket lovers with respect and put them in the picture. The reason for the financial problems also needs to be made public and if the finances are not properly handled there must be accountability.

Cricket in the Caribbean has hit an all time low. We were once the envy of the cricket world. Now we are the laughing-stock of the game, lagging at the bottom of the game when it comes to on field performances and equally incompetent administrators. When you sign a contract it is legally binding, so when problems arise every avenue should be pursued to find a resolution, not issue a take it or leave it option.

Regards, John

I replied:

Thanks John.

I have a terrible fear this may be it for the West Indies. If they’re bankrupted they’ll have to split into national island boards and each take on Associate Nation status.

When you think that in the past Barbados itself could’ve fielded a world-class Test side in the 60s, 70s and 80s, it will be one of the greatest ever tragedies for cricket if they’re reduced to playing Ireland and Afghanistan.

We are watching history in the making – and it is distressingly unhappy viewing.


Nov 3rd

Hi David,

What more is there to be said??? West Indies cricket administrators and players are the pits, at the bottom of a dung heap. How we have gone from world champs to world chumps!! A combination of arrogance, stubbornness, incompetence and mistaken belief in their ability has resulted in the present disaster. Having seen what has happened, how can any other country trust the Board and players to honour a contract. There is a total lack of credibility surrounding West Indies cricket. One can see clearly why the grounds are empty and as a result of the latest fiasco they will be even emptier. Even the most avid fans have had enough.

John Holder

John Holder is a highly respected former international umpire, who stood in Tests & ODIs between 1988-2001, and in 1st-class cricket from 1982-2009. He was also the innovative mind behind the introduction of the ‘bowl-out’ to settle washed out one-day games.


One thought on “John Holder on the WI Crisis

  1. realthog

    it will be one of the greatest ever tragedies for cricket if they’re reduced to playing Ireland and Afghanistan

    Hmmf! Two fine teams on their day — especially Ireland, which is surely going to graduate from Associate status in the not too distant future.


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