The WI Crisis – responses from Dr Don Marshall

4th November 2014

Overthrows  – backing up strong returns

Reader reaction, feedback and comment on blogs are often buried away, go unread and unloved. Some reaction is, frankly, unlovable. Some is far too laudatory (spare my blushes!) and some is from your Dad.

But in all these exchanges the words themselves are often neglected and are left unseen, except in the very best of blogs, like Dmitri Old’s How Did We Lose in Adelaide (which is the only blog I frequent in which I’m set up to receive a email alert if a mere comment is left by a reader – in addition to any new material by Dmitri himself).

So rather than leave these opinions abandoned at the back of a dark cupboard like Puff the Magic Dragon, I want sometimes to bring them out into the open, and use them as a blog entry in their own right. I will do this if I feel what’s being said is important enough, and deserves a wider audience.

Such is the case with this exchange I had yesterday with my fellow regular contributor to the Mason & Guests show here in Barbados, Dr Don Marshall:

Greetings David Oram. I recognise that you wish Tony Cozier to step away from the information and discoveries behind who cancelled the tour and speak to the players’ threats of strikes. I humbly submit that the information that Cozier has been sharing over the last two or three stories of this Indian tour never was at the disposal of many journalists and commentators. The diplomatic comment that “every party is to blame” has been on offer for quite some time David with the players coming in for their share of blame. Based on the information in Cozier’s articles and the latest letter written by the BCCI to the Board threatening legal action in now 12 days, it is clear that the WICB cancelled the tour over players’ threats to strike. This puts a totally different spin to things as we quickly recognise that what transpired amounted to an industrial relations dispute that was poorly handled by the WICB. What is disturbing is that when the players threatened to withdraw their labour for the first ODI over terms of their contracts, the Board’s response was to threaten to cancel the entire tour. And as the demands from the players softened to one where they requested an audience with a WICB representative, Cameron dithered and delayed responding to the BCCI who took it upon itself to act as an intermediary to ensure the players’ request could be met – and to ascertain itself what were the WICB intentions for the remainder of the tour.

This egalitarian share of the blame diverts from questions of accountability and obligations Cameron and the WICB had with the BCCI for this Indian tour. One other thing. It is standard industrial relations practice that if you as an employer are served notice that X organisation no longer represent a set of workers, and that they desire to meet with you, you as an employer are under obligation to so acknowledge and agree on a time to meet. This idea of a renegade group of players aborting a tour for more money is incendiary reporting geared to black-eye the squad as villains for only receiving contracts while in India and thereafter refusing to accept a shocking 70% cut in their expected income.

Don Marshall (Dr.)

Before I had completed my reply, Don submitted the following clarification:

Greetings again. I was asked to explain what I mean by `incendiary reporting’. Well take David Oram’s analogy on November 1st:

” While some commentators in the Caribbean have lent support, and therefore credence to the striking players’ stand, most observers (and they have generally been the more mature cricket analysts) have been appalled by their actions.

Dwayne Bravo and his acolytes brought shame, embarrassment and contempt upon the proud people of the Caribbean, and made the West Indies appear ridiculous in the eyes of the outside cricket world. If I may adapt an analogy I’ve used before – the WICB were stupid enough to give the WIPA a gun; the WIPA were crass enough to load the thing with bullets; but only Bravo’s brigands were idiotic enough to wave the weapon around and pull the trigger.” (extracted from Cameron’s `Peace in our Time’ blog)

To say the least, this is overblown stuff, pardon the pun.

I imagine Frank Worrell’s refusal to accept a place on the West Indies tour to India many years ago was construed by some back then as a failure to represent the people of the Caribbean. He did refuse to tour for he considered the salary a totally unsatisfactory one. What might have been read as an act of mercenary selfishness then, is today read as a stoic act of defiance on behalf of many cricketers. Bravo and the squad may have updated the struggle for respectability. I am sure the indignity of leaving for tours not knowing what one’s terms and conditions are will come to an end. I have not been shamed by their actions; but by the WICB’s cavalier manner throughout the Indian tour.

Don Marshall

This was my response to Don’s comments:

Greetings Don, and many thanks for taking the time to read and reply to my blog.

I share your admiration for Tony Cozier, but he is not alone among the senior commentators and writers in the region who have sources at their ‘disposal’. I have had contact with others who share Tony’s privileged position as senior analysts, but who have a far more admonishing position towards the players. I have also widely read the newspaper and online coverage of the strike throughout the region, and they carry a mixture of outright condemnation and understanding of the players’ position. There are many views out there.

Tony, myself, yourself and others are all entitled to their position and interpretation of the events. I strongly contest with you that the WICB cancelled the tour, and have directly addressed the ‘who’ and the ‘when’ in my recent blog pieces.

Private feedback from within the player group itself (and publicly by Marlon Samuels) has highlighted divisions between the strike position taken by the ODI tour party. It was not a unanimous decision, despite presenting a united front.

I am not attempting to black-eye anybody, merely expressing my own personal views in a pubic forum. I am not a journalist or reporter, am not in any way remunerated for writing (or broadcasting) my opinions, therefore I am not ‘reporting’ matters, whether or not those views are incendiary (which I refute).

This is a grave state of affairs that thousands, maybe millions feel passionately about – and I share that passion, which is reflected in my writing. If my views provoke comment, debate, reaction etc then I am pleased. I take it as a compliment that my views as a mere blogger (with their limited distribution and readership) could in any way, by anybody, have a genuine impact. If I were writing as a representative of a public media organ, or online outlet I may be more circumspect – but I hope I would not. I don’t know – I have the freedom to express my views which is the joy of blogging.

As I say, it’s all about opinions. I thoroughly respect yours, and thank you again for sharing it here on this blog.


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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