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Caricom Cricket Review Panel lays down the law for WICB reform


English: A map of the former West Indies Feder...

A map of the former West Indies Federation. Map of CARICOM member States. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) consists of 15 Caribbean nations and their dependencies.

Caricom’s main purpose is to promote economic integration and cooperation among its members, to ensure that the benefits of integration are equitably shared, and to coordinate foreign policy. It is also a regional single market for most of its members.

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(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The West Indies Cricket Board has six member associations:

Barbados Cricket Association (BCA)

Guyana Cricket Board (GCB)

Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA)

Trinidad & Tobago Cricket Board (TTCB)

Leeward Islands Cricket Association (LICA), itself composed of:

Anguilla Cricket Association

Antigua and Barbuda Cricket Association

British Virgin Islands Cricket Association

Montserrat Cricket Association

Nevis Cricket Association (for the island of Nevis alone)

St. Kitts Cricket Association (for the island of St. Kitts alone)

St. Maarten Cricket Association

United States Virgin Islands Cricket Association

Windward Islands Cricket Board of Control (WICBC), itself composed of:

Dominica Cricket Association
Grenada Cricket Association
St. Lucia Cricket Association
St. Vincent & the Grenadines Cricket Association

 

The Caricom Cricket Review Panel was constituted by the Prime Ministerial Committee on the Governance of West Indies Cricket.

The members were:

CHAIRPERSON:

Prof. Eudine Barriteau, Pro-Vice Chancellor and Principal, The University of the West Indies.

(Cricket Studies is an academic discipline internationally and in the Caribbean, at The University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus.)

MEMBERS:

Rt. Hon. Sir Dennis Byron, President, Caribbean Court of Justice.
Dr. Warren Smith, President, Caribbean Development Bank.

Mr. Deryck Murray, West Indies Cricket Legend.

Mr. Dwain Gill, President, Grenada Cricket Association.

The West Indian Cricket Board (WICB) publishes its Vision as:

To establish and sustain West Indies cricket as the sporting symbol of the West Indies, and the West Indies team as the dominant team in international cricket.

and its Mission is:

To develop and promote West Indies cricket for the benefit and enjoyment of the West Indian people, its clients and other stakeholders by procuring a consistently high-quality, successful and international West Indian product.

The Caricom Cricket Review panel criticises the existing governance structure of the WICB which focuses solely on the shareholders in the body namely the six territorial boards and the WICB itself.

Other stakeholders such as “several Caribbean governments who finance the construction and maintenance of the stadia where the game is played; several important industries such as tourism, aviation and food and beverages; former players, some of whom constitute an elite group of exemplary ambassadors of the game known as the Legends and the current players, both women and men, and their representative organization, the West Indies Players Association (WIPA) constitute another key group of stakeholders and finally, the Caribbean public” have been either side-lined or completely ignored.

West Indies cricket is a public good.

Interestingly, the panel states that “it has no issues with the individuals who occupy the leadership and composition of the WICB or the territorial Boards” and then commences an unbridled assault on the current Board and its state of affairs. The above statement appears redundant. Why make such a statement? The Cricket Review Panel was formed to investigate the current workings of the existing system and recommend reforms that would help better the state of Windies cricket. Why even bother to try and mollify the current incumbents?

The panel also terms the current governance structure “obsolete”.

It  then recommends the dissolution of the WICB and the appointment of an interim board.

Panel members  cite the precedent of an interim board appointed by the Sri Lankan government to run matters. What has been conveniently omitted is the fact that Sri Lankan cricket has often been run by government-appointed interim committees one of which left the Board financially crippled after the co-hosting of the 2011 ODI World Cup.

The antecedent, one hopes, only pertains to the feasibility of such an imposition and not mismanagement by the interim board.

The panel then points out the lowly ranking of men’s and women’s cricket teams to justify their indictment of the WICB’s bad governance.

The men’s team failed to qualify for the 2017 Champions’ Trophy, the first time in West Indian cricketing history that the side will not be participating in a World tournament.  Other reasons listed are the team’s Test ranking—sliding to number eight, recent abandoning of the Indian tour, suspension of coach Phil Simmons following his stated despair about not being able to field the best eleven for the tour of Sri Lanka, West Indies Players Association (WIPA) not being fully representative of players and reduction of home Test series to just two-or-three games.

Other concerns expressed are the unhappy state of women’s cricket, whether a private company structure can deliver a public good, universal concern in the traditional and online media about the state of governance, absence of vision and lack of accountability.

The panel draws upon recommendations from past governance reports specifically the Wilkins and Patterson ones to propose a new structure.

The new structure will comprise five board/management committee/directors handling the following functional areas:

  • Cricket
  • Human Resources
  • Governance
  • Audit
  • Nominations

The emphasis is to be on professional competencies over territorial considerations.

The number of Board members is to be reduced to just nine.

One Board Member will specifically represent Women’s Cricket.

A head-hunting firm will oversee the selection process which will review candidates chosen by the Nominations Council.

The Caribbean Development Bank must be asked to fund “a team of consultants to define the process and regulatory framework for a transformed Board’s management structure, governance arrangements and shareholding in a new dispensation.”

The six territorial boards must be incorporated under similar rules or criteria.

The Change Management expert will ensure the Board members are distinct from executive management personnel while forming the Interim Board.

Women’s cricket should be addressed in the vision statement of the Board.

The Board must develop “specific marketing and sponsorship strategies to popularize the game, especially with families and young girls and to promote the star female players as mentors and role models, as well as to enhance their commercial value to sponsors.”

Appendix III lists the names of interviewed persons as:

  • Dr. the Rt. Honorable Keith Mitchell, Prime Minister of Grenada and Chairman of the Cricket Governance Committee
  • Dr. the Hon. Ralph E. Gonsalves, Prime Minister of the Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
  •  Mr. Whycliffe ‘Dave’ Cameron, President, West Indies Cricket Board
  •  Mr. James Sutherland, Chief Executive Officer, Cricket Australia
  •  Mr. Tom Harrison, Chief Executive Officer, England and Wales Cricket Board
  •  Mr. Michael Muirhead, Chief Executive Officer, West Indies Cricket Board
  •  Mr. Roland Holder, Manager, Cricket Operations, West Indies Cricket Board
  •  West Indies Cricket Legends:
    – Sir Wesley Hall
    – Mr. Lancelot Gibbs
    – Mr. Michael Holding
    – Mr. Alvin Kallicharran
  •  Mr. Wavell Hinds, President and CEO, West Indies Players Association
  •  Ms. Ann Browne-John, Cricket Administrator and Former West Indies Women’s Cricketer
  •  Mr. Winfield Griffith, Director of Research and Information Technology, Caribbean Tourism Organisation

 

 

K L Rahul: What he said, really meant and definitely didn’t


Baby name elicits stares from women bystanders.

What he said:

“We were at airport and I said, ‘Baby, grab my bag’, two women started staring at us.”

Royal Challengers Bangalore opener and wicketkeeper K L Rahul recounts an unusually hilarious anecdote about his left-handed teammate Sachin Baby.

What he really meant:

“Was I looking at you,  ma’am, when I said that? Was I, ma’am, was I? Owww!”

What he definitely didn’t:

“Baby, don’t Blush when I call you by name.”

Mike Hussey: Perfection


“For me, perfection comes with a lot of hard work and dedication to every aspect of the game in the years, days, and hours leading up to the main event. If you have planned and practised every scenario many times over then you have a chance of performing perfectly on the big stage. As far as personal achievement fitting into a team game, my feelings are if you focus on doing the best things for the team, then your personal achievement will take care of itself. If you care more about your success then your team will suffer and so will your personal achievements.
— Mike Hussey.

Kane Richardson: What he said, really meant and definitely didn’t


Kane Richardson powers down the grass on ‘greens and beans’.

What he said:

“When we go out to field and I’m standing at point, they ask me if I’m going to start eating the grass or not. “

Kane Richardson, South Australia and Royal Challengers Bangalore pacer, has turned vegan with a vengeance.

Terming the perception that a fast bowler has to “eat meat and drink alcohol” a stigma, the Aussie said:

“I didn’t want to eat animals. I challenged myself to stick to it, I guess it’s a diet but it’s not really a fad, it’s something you believe in.

I’ve done it for a year and-a-half, two years now but over this pre-season I’ll probably challenge myself to go vegan (a person who does not eat or use animal products) and train hard and see if I can do it and perform in four-day cricket.”

Richardson still enjoys his beer though.

He added:

“I’ve watched a lot of documentaries on it, and whether it’s right or wrong, I don’t know if that can be sustained the way people are gorging through food.Especially in Australia, we’re pretty spoilt with what’s available.

It’s just something I thought long and hard about and tried to change and have stuck to it since.

It’s just something I had to change with all the injuries that I had.

I did a lot of research on it. If it’s something that’s going to help me play for longer than I’ll definitely try it.

I’ll be vegetarian the rest of my life, it’s whether I can go full vegan, that’s the question.”

English: Peter Siddle, at the SCG vs. South Af...

Peter Siddle, at the SCG vs. South Africa in January 2009 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Peter Siddle is the other Australian bowler who embraced vegetarianism.

Richardson said:

“I know Sidds (Peter Siddle) is the same, he’s quite big into that.

He’s got a platform in the media and he can try and help the way people treat animals, especially in India, it’s quite tough to see.”

What he really meant:

“My teammates can’t tell wheatgrass from any other kinds of grass—including weed!”

What he definitely didn’t:

“I’d chew the cud if I weren’t clever enough to carry veg snacks in my trouser pockets  such as raw carrots and fresh mini-tomatoes.”

West Indian cricketers flourish while administration languishes


While the Supreme Court continues to flay the BCCI and its associate members for dragging their feet on the Lodha Panel reforms, it has gone quiet on the Western front specifically the CARICOM coast.

It’s been a time of jubilation and turmoil for West Indian cricket.

The Calypso swingers under Darren Sammy uncorked an unprecedented second T20 World Cup win in astounding fashion with Carlos Brathwaite proving an unlikely hero. Their women’s team had the very same afternoon clinched their first ever World Cup in any form of the game.

Sammy , ever the team champion, utilized the occasion to roundly castigate the West Indian Cricket Board (WICB) for its step-motherly treatment of the players.

He said:

“We started this journey … we all know we had … people were wondering whether we would play this tournament. We had a lot of issues, we felt disrespected by our board, Mark Nicholas described our team as a team with no brains. All these things before the tournament just brought this team together.”

The WICB President David Cameron was quick to respond.

In a statement purportedly praising the World T20 organisers India and Bangladesh, Cameron said:

“The President would like to however apologise for what could be deemed inappropriate comments made by the West Indies’ male captain, Darren Sammy, in a post-match interview and would like to apologise on behalf of the WICB to the millions of fans who witnessed. The President has pledged to enquire the reason and will have the matter addressed.”

He had earlier tweeted:

The ICC would later join the WICB in reprimanding Darren Sammy and his teammates for their comments that were “”inappropriate, disrespectful and [bringing] the event into disrepute.”

The ICC press release read:

“The board considered the behaviour of some of the West Indies players in the immediate aftermath of the final, and unanimously agreed that certain comments and actions were inappropriate, disrespectful and brought the event into disrepute.

This was not acceptable conduct at ICC events played out on a world stage in front of millions of people around the globe.

The board acknowledged an apology by the WICB but was disappointed to note that such behaviour had detracted from the success of what was otherwise a magnificent tournament and final.”

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Flag (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The gloss of the glorious treble of the U-19 World Cup, Women and Men’s T20 triumphs was wearing off quickly.

It wasn’t all rocky ground for West Indian cricket.

The newly minted BCCI and ICC head Shashank Manohar has been in an expansive mood notwithstanding the BCCI’s travails in the Supreme Court.

The Vidarbha lawyer first stated that he’s not in agreement with the ICC revenue-sharing formula wherein the Big Three—India, England and Australia—share the spoils and the leftovers distributed among the rest of the members.

Then the BCCI announced that bilateral ties between India and the West Indies would resume later this year. The cash-rich Indian body waived a $42 million damages claim against the abandoned 2014 tour. The West Indian cricketers flew home after the WIPA and WICB failed to resolve a long-standing pay dispute.

Late last year, the CARICOM cricket review panel suggested an immediate dissolution of the WICB. The panel was constituted by the Prime Ministerial Committee on the Governance of West Indies Cricket as a response to the crisis created by the damages slapped  on the WICB following the pull-out from the India tour.

The panel recommended formation of an interim board to install a fresh governance framework with the assistance of a change management expert.

The WICB rejected the report and its findings unilaterally claiming that none of the members of the board were consulted by the panel members.

Legends of the game were not so forgiving. Coming together under the banner Cricket Legends, Garry Sobers, Viv Richards, Wes Hall,  Andy Roberts and others met with Grenada premier Keith Mitchell, chairman of the Prime Ministerial Committee on the Governance of West Indies Cricket and sought the WICB’s termination.

That’s how the matter rests for now.

The following column will pore over specific recommendations from the panel and the WICB’s reasons for rejecting their proposals.

Anuja Chauhan: Multiple gods


“Why only one God for cricket, guys? Why not multiple Gods? Think about it, the openers can be cricketing Ganeshas, the spinners can be cricketing Krishnas (because Sudarshan Chakra), the big hitters can be cricketing Shivas (because destroyer), etc. etc? Just because cricket was invented in England is no reason why, as a religion, it must be ‘vilayati’ too!
— Anuja Chauhan.

David Warner: What he said, really meant and definitely didn’t


English: Australian cricketer David Warner

Australian cricketer David Warner (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

David Warner breakfasts like King Kohli.

What he said:

“Well, i am eating the same breakfast as Virat Kohli. I think it is all about being consistent and about keeping my mind fresh.”

David Warner is quite competitive with his text messaged war of words with Virat Kohli mirroring their battle for the Orange Cap in the Vivo IPL.

He added:

“It was a vice versa about the orange cap for being the highest run-getter. He texted me the other day, saying he’s coming for the orange cap – and my reply was, i am going to come back and get it off you.”

Warner also elaborated on abstaining from alcohol:

“Look, it’s been almost a year now since i stopped drinking alcohol. I will complete a year on May 20. My wife was pregnant at that time and i thought, why not go the whole nine months without drinking too. It was just to give myself a goal, something to achieve away from cricket. I have been fortunate enough to do that so far.

Once i get to the one-year mark, i will see what to do. I might keep not drinking or i might drink, who knows.

But it’s not about drinking. It is about giving myself the best opportunity to recover and to play cricket.

I have two daughters and a fantastic wife and they provide me all the support i need to achieve goals with. There is a life after cricket as well. Cricket is not the be-all and end-all and it is about setting myself up for after cricket.

Having stability off the field is always fantastic.

What he really meant:

“A hearty breakfast for a healthy body makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise and a contender for the Orange Cap. I’m certainly not eating text messages for breakfast.”

What he definitely didn’t:

Kellogg’s—Breakfast of Champions.”

 

Sanjay Manjrekar: What use?


“But, what use is a well-thought-out field setting when the batsman is hitting the ball out of the ground?”
—Sanjay Manjrekar.

Is winning the toss an advantage and is doing away with it the solution?


Trust Ravi Shastri to look upon the toss-or-not debate from his own unique perspective as a commentator, “I’ll have no job left if the toss is done away with.

That’s the least of his worries considering he’s the front-runner to be the next Team India coach.

It was Ricky Ponting who set the ball rolling with his suggestion that the toss be done away with and the visiting captain chooses to bat or field.

He was seconded by his former skipper Steve Waugh and Michael Holding.

The underlying theme was that home sides would stop preparing pitches that suited them hopefully resulting in more sporting contests.

Would it eliminate ‘hometown’ advantage? Michael Holding felt not.

The English broke with tradition and effected the desired change in their County Championship this year.

The visiting county is given the option of bowling first—should they refuse, the toss is taken as normal and the winning skipper decides what to do, take strike or bowl.

Robert Key, ECB cricket committee member, had this to say:

“My original view was that we should have tougher penalties for poor pitches. But that is so hard to police. It just becomes a minefield. But what I still think is that the stigma over spinning pitches has to end. If we see 15 wickets fall to seam bowling on the first day of a game, nobody bats an eye. But if the ball turns on day one, people start to worry. That has to stop.”

The above is probably manna to the ears of BCCI chieftains and the Indian team’s think-tank given that the Nagpur Test wicket for the match against South Africa was sanctioned by the ICC.

He added:

“The cricket committee had a two-day meeting and 90% of it was spent talking about pitches. We went through all the options. We talked about everything you have seen suggested on social media. And in the end everyone there agreed that this was the way to go. The rules governing the use of the heavy roller are remaining the same.

We want to stop counties producing pitches that just suit their seamers. We want to take that luxury away from them and instead get them to produce pitches that result in a more even battle between bat and ball and require pace and spin bowlers as well as seamers.

I’m not surprised by the negative reactions. They are the same reactions I had when I first heard the suggestion. But it was not a decision taken lightly, and I’d just say to people: let’s try it and see what happens. Our original suggestion to the ECB board was to try this for a year in Division Two. It was their idea to try it in Division One as well.

We’re not suddenly going to see five more spinners. We can’t expect a miracle cure. But we might see a situation where, instead of spinners bowling 20% of overs in the Championship, they might bowl 30%.”

Andrew Gale, Yorkshire skipper, disagreed:

“It’s a decision that has come straight after a Test series defeat in the UAE, which has brought the problems to everyone’s attention. But we don’t want subcontinent-paced wickets in England. That is not what people want to watch. If we had gone to Australia and won this close season, I doubt that this decision would have happened.

Obviously the rule has been brought in to encourage spinners and because of a recognition that the wickets have become too seamer-friendly. The intention is a good one – I know that. But if wickets are that bad, why haven’t points been docked? Fifteen-plus wickets have fallen many times on the first day and it has repeatedly been put down to bad batting. I can see Keysie’s point about something needing to be done, but why haven’t pitch inspectors done their job properly? It comes down to people being strong. “

He added:

“I am a traditionalist. I love Championship cricket. The toss has existed since the beginning of time. Why keep messing with the game? It’s too complicated for some people as it is.”

Nathan Leamon, England’s performance analyst, wrote a piece for the NightWatchman questioning whether doing away with the toss would achieve the desired results.

The reasons listed were:

  • Can we be reliably certain that groundsmen can and will prepare pitches to order? (Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Ravi Shastri, take note.)
  • Home teams may prepare pitches even more favourable to them.
  • Winning the toss may not be an advantage at all.

Cricket is now played on covered pitches I.e. they are no longer exposed to the ravages of inclement weather. In the era of uncovered pitches, batting first made sense and was definitely advantageous.

Is winning the toss an additional asset—a twelfth man?

Gaurav Sood and Derek Willis answer the above query in an analytical piece on Cricinfo.

They write:

“After analysing data from more than 44,000 cricket matches across formats, however, we find that there is generally just a small – though material – advantage of winning the toss. The benefit varies widely, across formats, conditions, and depending on how closely matched the teams are.

We find that over all those matches, the team that wins the toss has won the match 2.8% more often. That small advantage increases for one-day matches and decreases for T20 contests. For day-night ODI and List A matches, the advantage is greater still, with the side winning the toss winning nearly 6% more games.

Winning the toss convey an advantage of 2.6% in first-class and Test matches, where pitches can deteriorate, giving the team that bats last a tougher challenge. But the largest boost appears to be in one-day matches, where teams that win the toss win the match 3.3% more often. “

What’s even more striking is the following observation:

“Using ICC monthly rankings for international sides, we looked at whether winning the toss made a difference when teams were closely matched or at opposite ends of the rankings. When closely matched teams play, winning the toss has a larger impact on the probability of winning. As expected, the impact of winning the toss was less when a clearly better side played a weaker one. “

They add:

“Whether due to cold weather or grassy pitches that can make batting difficult, teams that won the toss in April matches in England lost nearly 5% more often than they won. In every other month, the toss winner was more likely to win the match. Perhaps that alone will encourage visiting captains to take the field first, at least at the start of the English season.”

Virender Sehwag on Greg Chappell


“If you talk of Greg Chappell’s cricketing knowledge, it is superb. But when it comes to man management, absolutely zero.
— Virender Sehwag.

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