Who will lead WI away from the abyss? Vidale urges fans to rally for the team we deserve

Gems at Lajoya

“It is bad captaincy that is causing us to be scrambled, everybody is whispering and shrugging shoulders. ... In this campaign I shall spare nobody… I hereby give notice; I shall not let this question rest until it is corrected… This fooling with the West Indies captaincy has gone on too long. It has to stop and the time to stop is now.”

These are the words of CLR James as extracted from The Nation of 5 February, 1960. At the time, James was making a case for Frank Worrell to be made captain of the West Indies cricket team.

Photo: West Indies pacer Jason Holder. (Courtesy Westindiescricket)
Photo: West Indies pacer Jason Holder.
(Courtesy Westindiescricket)

James had started his campaign a year earlier when the preference had been to select the only white player, the Jamaican wicketkeeper Gerry Alexander, to captain the team. James’ article had been written in the wake of a heavy 10-wkt defeat at the hands of Pakistan in Karachi.

Ironically but not coincidentally, as I write, the current West Indies side is locked in battle with Pakistan in a four-T20, three-ODI, three-Test series.

Far be it from me to compare myself to the great polemicist CLR but if West Indies cricket ever needed a James, the time is now.

I make no apology for saying that the fundamental failure issue of West Indies cricket is leadership. More than enough has been said about current WICB President Dave Cameron so in this piece he will be treated with the contempt he deserves.

In this piece, I wish to begin by asking this question of those who claim to hold West Indies cricket dear to their hearts: “Where are your voices?” For it is my view that the collective willingness to wait and see, to silently condone visionless, backward leadership is what will see continue our steady descent into an abyss out of which there may be no return.

Photo: The West Indies cricket women celebrate their 2016 World Twenty20 title after a historic win over Australia. (Copryight SkySports)
Photo: The West Indies cricket women celebrate their 2016 World Twenty20 title after a historic win over Australia.
(Copryight SkySports)

Where else but in the West Indies would a team beat all the odds to win an international tournament and the home authorities’ next move is to blacklist players and fire the coaching staff? And where else but in the West Indies would there be, instead of the requisite sustained howl of outrage, nothing but deafening silence?

The triplicate of wins by our Under-19 men in the World Cup and both the Women’s and Men’s senior teams provided an opportune platform for a reinjection of the most critical element in our cricket in the recent past—belief!

Of course, there was a Catch-22, with the WICB claiming ownership of the success on the grounds that the programmes they have been putting in place were finally beginning to bear fruit.

The moment lasted, as we say here in T&T, as long as the Red House fire!

If the regional team is to make any impact in the current Pakistan series, the choice of a captain for the teams is as important as who gets selected. The gentle giants in Carlos Brathwaite and Jason Holder are simply not good enough. Part of the blame rests with us. The resistance has been minimal as the Board rides roughshod over our wishes.

Why did we not raise our voices in support in 2015 when Phil Simmons complained publicly about interference in the team selection process?

Photo: Former West Indies cricket team coach Phil Simmons. (Copyright Phillip Spooner/WICB Media)
Photo: Former West Indies cricket team coach Phil Simmons.
(Copyright Phillip Spooner/WICB Media)

Playing at home against South Africa in 2016, Steve Smith’s Australians had an abysmal showing.

During a post-match media conference, Smith complained that the selectors had not been giving him the team that he wanted.

“It’s not working so obviously on the back of five losses there’s going to be a lot talked about in regards to selection and things like that,” he said. “And we’ve got to start finding a way to turn things around.”

Former Aussie captain Allan Border had been highly critical of the players themselves and he publicly supported the skipper’s position.

“If Steve Smith believes he isn’t receiving the team that he wants,” wrote Border, “well, then, he needs to make sure that he does. I know what he’s going through; it’s bloody hard.”

“He should be telling those in charge: My head is on the chopping block next to our win-loss record,” Border continued. “I’m the Australian captain and I need to be comfortable walking out with the team that I’ve got.’’’

“But for every Aussie cricket fan,” Border exhorted him, “put your foot down, Steve.”

Photo: West Indies pacer Jason Holder appeals for a decision during a drawn Test series against England. (Copyright AFP 2015)
Photo: West Indies pacer Jason Holder appeals for a decision during a drawn Test series against England.
(Copyright AFP 2015)

I cannot imagine the likes of Brathwaite or Holder putting his foot down.

Curtly Ambrose was sacked. I watched in amazement as it was business as usual, just another day at the office. Where were, are the rest of the legends?

To focus specifically on the T20s, during the CPL the three consistently outstanding captains are Dwayne Bravo, Kieron Pollard and Darren Sammy. Given the options available, the choice should be obvious. In cricketing terms, Brathwaite and Holder are the same player and ought to be fighting for a single place in the team, thus opening up room for an additional specialist bowler.

And out-and-out pacers like Sheldon Cottrell and Shannon Gabriel would be my first options.

At this moment in our history, this is the format where we are strongest. We have to, as Rudder has requested, rally round the West Indies.  And ‘rally’ should be taken to mean raise our voices in consistently loud protest against those who are impeding the development of West Indies cricket.

The backdoor shenanigans in West Indies cricket have simply, to echo CLR, gone on for too long.

Photo: West Indies cricket fans make themselves busy during a rained out fixture at the Queen's Park Oval in 2013. (Courtesy Westindiescricket)
Photo: West Indies cricket fans make themselves busy during a rained out fixture at the Queen’s Park Oval in 2013.
(Courtesy Westindiescricket)
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About Akins Vidale

Akins Vidale
Akins Vidale lectures at the Cipriani College of Labour and Cooperative Studies and is a UWI graduate with a B.A. in History. He has served as the president of the Trinidad Youth Council and is the General Secretary of the Federation of Independent Trade Unions and NGOs (FITUN). Read his blog: http://akinsvidale.wordpress.com/

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  1. West indies cricket to me right now, reminds me of the forever cheating and all round bad significant other that hurts you 80-90 percent of the time, yet you cant seem to let her go

  2. Warning: Undefined variable $userid in /www/wired868_759/public/wp-content/plugins/user-photo/user-photo.php on line 114

    A forensic audit into Cameron’s accounts is needed

  3. I have said it and I’ll say it again Cameron’s ​goal is to destroy West Indies Cricket. He has got to be on someone’s payroll

  4. “Nonetheless some on the WICB board remain sceptical of Cameron. One director, who has been part of the WICB board and observed Cameron closely, felt the Jamaican takes things “personally”, which does allow for constructive discussion.

    According to this director Cameron needs to focus on improving his relations with WICB board going forward. “He needs to temper himself. It seems to me he still does not have confidence in some directors. The trust is not there. It is also because if some people speak out at meetings, he will feel that those people are against him. But all those people want is the best of West Indies cricket. He takes everything personal, as if they are attacking him.”

    The director, who wished to remain anonymous, also felt that Cameron “favours” some territorial boards more than others. Asked why the board would elect him for a third successive term, the director said that those who oppose him “prefer to remain silent and go with the status quo”.


  5. WI cricket will continue to flounder, because fans flock to the different venues to give tacit support to the administrators

  6. We need to get rid of de heads start a fresh where gale bravo we need back our players

  7. The amazing thing is that Cameron got another stint as president… rally my foot… fed up of the mediocrity… let those guys play in front of a few empty stadiums … we are to passive as fans … time to throw eggs at that whole board

  8. Yeah I chose football too. Might try and make the hockey as well. I don’t think the boycott will work though because the West Indies not making money already and gate receipts is a small portion of that. I can’t believe that Cameron really so stupid as to not realiSe he is presiding over the death of West Indies cricket though. Lil Bravo was our last potential crowd puller for the foreseeable future. 2 tier system in some form or another is inevitable and all potential superstars will go the T20 way

  9. Getting rid of WICB, will see a resurgence of West Indies cricket.

  10. Get rid of the WIBC then i will start back supporting WI cricket

  11. The President does not play cricket but develops programmes to keep them a float. A lot of the arm chair critics do nothing for development.

  12. I endorse Daren Sammy as captain for the T20 side…the man is two-time T20 World Champion…as well as the 50 over side…
    Not many choices for the test side..
    It was a blunder to axe Curtly Ambrose as bowling coach…has Estwick made any DIFFERENCE??
    I do NOT believe Stuart Law would have an impact…
    Simmons was the MAN…

  13. The man who executes the wicked president of the WICB, shall lead West Indies cricket out of its current abyss…

  14. My mom used to tel me as a little girl West Indians don’t like the team to have more than two Trinis. if so is pressure. I have lived to see that is so true. Pollard, (2) Bravos, Narine always some set up. Yet they must shut their mouths, the rest of Caribbean countries supporting their own . T&T stands alone, with an incompetent TTBC (if was Ganga) people would have plenty to say. This going on for decades. Australia,, India, Pakistan .SA clamour for the Bravo .bros ,Pollard etc. TTBC silent. A bunch a jokers. Guys make you money outside, Cameron and the boys filling their pockets while paying the boys pennies. (these people never even hold a bat) Trinidad Red force continue to embarrass yourself and Cameron along with WICB. already sold themselves to the highest bidder and “eating ah food. Imagine once at the top of CRICKET IN THE WORLD to #8 or 9 . How you want to hire a FOREIGNER to show West Indians their style of batting .Everyman has a price!

    • It has reached to the point that even insularity isn’t our biggest concern anymore.

    • Exactly Lasana. sport is still seen as entertainment and those think they understaand try to run sports like a business with players as employees…when in fact the players are your commodity

    • While yea it’s much bigger than insularity – Cameron as the non brave WICB director who don’t have the balls to speak out publicly clearly is pushing insularity as a key tactic to maintain power

      This is clearly on display today with how many the top tt players have had issue with board and the amount of Bajans who have straight up illegitimate or highly questionable roles of power in & off authority in Windies team on & off the field

      “The director, who wished to remain anonymous, also felt that Cameron “favours” some territorial boards more than others. Asked why the board would elect him for a third successive term, the director said that those who oppose him “prefer to remain silent and go with the status quo”.


  15. Rally u say? We’ve been doing that for decades. Maybe it’s time the WIBC follow our lead

  16. My money was for football this month end, Colin Benjamin so I’m inadvertently supporting your boycott.

  17. I am disappointed but I am going tomorrow. Not the best team.and they’re sadly lacking but I love the game. Taking all my sons with me as well.
    Boycott wouldn’t work cause Cameron doesn’t give a damn. What we need to do is put intense pressure on our Caricom leaders to get our voices heard.

    • Boycott and patience is actually the only way

    • Respect your position to go, but a boycott along with other things is one of steps that have to be taken – corrupt administrators only listen when they are affected financially i.e if sponsors and broadcasters pull out and fans stop going to games.

      WICB is generally broke and struggling for sponsors outside of Digicel

    • With Cameron? Cameron doesn’t care about the players and the game. He.already knew with Gayle and the Bravos out what will occur. He’s out to destroy what remains of West Indies cricket and the fools on the board are allowing him to do so. Why else would he be constantly be voted back in?

    • Greer Cave As Charles Wilkins, the former chairman of the WICB governance reform committee who resigned in protest in 2013 told me recently: “CARICOM and WICB and in a close battle to be the most dysfunctional administrative bodies in Caribbean society”

      Cameron may be a fool from a cricket context, but he is a smart politician in the circle he dwells and is well aware of the above. So while TT, Grenada and St Vincent Prime Ministers have been vocal voices since 2015 calling for WICB to be disbanded – Cameron and his goons preyed on weak CARICOM unity structure and insularity and got other government heads and sports ministers to be against the board being – that’s why he is has been voted back unopposed.

      Case in point the WICB got help financially from the Antigua government to have its new offices stationed at the old Stanford ground in Antigua.

      The way how the Indian government via its courts just removed Indian cricket board officials cannot happen under the current CARICOM structure unfortunately.

    • If the region is successful at boycotting the wicb both from fans and stadia perspective. There is not much blocking him from pushing the game in the US.
      Then it would truly be the end of West Indies cricket.

    • I understand Colin, but do you seriously think that a boycott will make a difference to Cameron and the board? He may use it as an excuse to abandon the game, claiming weak support and interest.

    • A combination of fans boycott, proper caribbean media pressure, united CARICOM pressure for once and sponsors pulling out like what happened to FIFA before Blatter got removed as president

    • It will be interesting to see a united CARICOM

    • Empty stadiums would matter to sponsors though. I feel the WICB is more likely to listen to commercial sponsors than caricom politicians.

    • How do you see it Akins Olatunji Vidale?

    • Lasana I agree with Colin however it has to be coordinated from the top. The disenchantment with WI cricket has reached to a point that many ppl go to games purely because they love cricket but see no hope for WI. The icons of the game have to be a part of any call for the international community to take note…we have had boycotts before that have not worked because it has to be more than fans involved

  18. I ain’t able argue today, the resistance has already failed from a media, fan and caricom perspective – windies cricket is dead and will soon be like Zimbabwe.

    Case in point right now given the disrespect that has been done to coach Simmons and many of the Trinidad players by both the WICB & TTCB, there should be a strong boycott for the T20 games at the Oval in the next week – but the fans will still come out and line the board pockets Stephon Nicholas Andre Baptiste Bruce Aanensen Savitri Maharaj Kirwin Weston Kion S Williams Davis Melville Kern A. Spencer Chica Emery Richard Zen O’Brien Che Abrams Chabeth Haynes Amiel FullyFocus Mutilal Shawn Charles Greer Cave Roneil K Walcott Choy Aping

  19. How can one support a team that refuses to pick their best players. They, as far as I can see, don’t want to win but rather sell out WI cricket to bring the books in the black.

  20. Wait players from which countries got blacklisted? Who is the head of WICB again? Seeing a trend?

  21. I am familiar with their infantile behavior, Tony Maxwell Hatt. Even sports fan get upset when you present an ‘objective’ perspective, regardless of the sport. For example, look at the lost last night to Mexico. Everybody is focused on the goal we scored and was dismissed as offside. None of them can handle an objective constructive feedback on Soca Warriors’ performance.

  22. There has been outrage but we continue with the BassRat and crew destroying local cricket and supporting the corrupt regime led by that idiot Cameron which victimizes trini players..

    They are no different than the dictator in trini football

  23. That is very true Kenneth … you should see the reaction of Administrators when you offer an opposing opinion.

  24. Not surprised… these decision-making sports people are thin skinned. Constructive feedback, honest genuine criticism, and proposals are considered ‘treason’ and unpatriotic worthy of banishment.

  25. Maybe we should elect a former WI player to be president of the WIBC board as this person may understand and empathised the players more.

  26. It happens in Trinidad and Tobago in Track & Field when coaches express opinions ….they blacklist them…. it’s a cultural thing ?

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