The imperatives of growth of development for the modern cricketer to “advance the cricketer’s mentality by two decades with respect to information technology, strategic planning, psychological dexterity and financial organisation” as expressed by Professor Hilary Beckles are the obvious options for West Indies cricket to compete over the next decade or more. Those ideals are fair in light of how elite sporting teams and countries have armed themselves to go after the competitive edge.
So much has been made about the performance of the West Indies team or lack thereof in the last 20 years and so many ideas are tossed around as to the solutions. I am here to suggest that it will take a number of initiatives to be taken on, implemented and the results evaluated.
The issue surrounding the current leadership of the WICB, while it is being suggested it is one man’s responsibility, Whycliffe ‘Dave’ Cameron, must be placed in the context of a few things
- The record of the last decade and the “cleaning up” of relationships that have had to take place
- Attempt to unite a region already divided geographically, socially, economically – all of which are in the struggle for survival
- The structure may need some tweaking to go after a more successful business model
In the last two years though some positive things have taken place and with time the outcomes can be beneficial to the region and the team will improve on its performance and the joy of watching West Indies cricket return to this region.
The re-organisation of the structure; the WICB Professional Cricket League (PCL) draft to include 105 additional players; the selection of a new team of selectors; the training and development programmes to include so much more accountability are just some of the things President Cameron and his team have initiated and with the appropriate and applicable buy-in by the varying levels of stakeholders could see growth in the short to medium terms.
Here are some updates from a recent quarterly meeting http://windiescricket.com/news/outcomes-wicb-quarterly-meeting
The massive question is? Is this a profitable solution? Now profit can be seen as two-fold – money in the bank shared equitably among the major stakeholders and social capital where there is agreement enough for us to exist.
I saw a column recently suggesting that the current leadership of the WICB is mostly focusing on earnings as opposed to strengthening the intellectual capacity of the player and technical communities. I suggest we can do both. And we all have a role to play. It is always easy to point to the issues, but it seems we are afraid to offer workable solutions.
The fact is there is a lot of money for athletes in general to make and if an organisation is not committed to managing a process where the balance is to be affected, then the life after sport matter is at serious risk. The definition of today’s athlete is not merely a physical being with great skills; but one which is a champion on and off the field. The announcement that 20-time grand slam winner (tennis) Serena Williams will study medicine after retirement suggests that the balance between ‘dollars and sense’ can be achieved.
The Caribbean region has so much potential and with cricket being one area of unity should be seen as important enough for the region to come to terms with its ability to make this region a force.
Dave Cameron, N Srinivasan, Michael Muirhead during the International Cricket Council’s annual conference at the Barbados Hilton from June 22- 26. Photo by Randy Brooks/Brooks LaTouche Photography
The sport then has to be able to attract
- Television rights at the highest/competitive levels
- A bunch of athletes who are committed to building the sport and their own personal development
- Proper venues to host events
- Schools which see cricket not just as a sport, but as a tool for social development
- Visitors to the region who still see West Indies cricket as the most exciting to watch
We can acknowledge the gaps, but I daresay, cricket has a new paradigm. It is ours to manage.