Posted on

WIPA bashes Hilaire’s comments

Andrew Browne, [email protected]

Social Share

That’s what the West Indies Players Association (WIPA) wants CEO of the West Indies Cricket Board, Dr Ernest Hilaire, to do for several comments made during a panel discussion here last week.
Hilaire criticised the lack of development of West Indies players, on and off the field, during that discussion, which also included historian, Professor Sir Hilary Beckles, Dr Justin Robinson and former Cricket World Cup 2007 chairman Rawle Brancker.
“Dr Ernest Hilaire’s statements made during the panel discussion at the Cave Hill campus of the University of the West Indies are outrageous, disrespectful and revealing,” WIPA said in a statement yesterday.
“His comment that the Windies team is the least educated of all the Test playing teams reveals a misunderstanding of the concept of education and of what it takes to be a successful cricketer. We only need to cast our memories back to several of our most successful cricketers who may not have been “academic” in the conventional sense, but who were insightful and sharp thinkers and whose ability to understand and think on the theoretical dimension demanded by the game of cricket, earned them their place in the annals of cricket history.”
WIPA said many of Hilaire’s words put West Indian players at risk of disrespect both at home and abroad.
“The world has been told that some West Indian players are uneducated, unable to compete on the world stage effectively, mercenary and incapable of improvement. Obviously all players need the support of their Board but this CEO has certainly given the impression that the WICB may have written off some of the region’s players.”
WIPA, the bargaining body for WI players, felt what was said had serious implications, the most immediate being that the CEO had given to the opposition words of contempt to be uttered on and off the field as a psychological tool against the West Indies.
“It is difficult to conceive of Dr Hilaire’s counterparts anywhere in the cricketing world acting in such a manner,” it added.
WIPA said it was shocking that such comments would be made in the middle of an international series.
“Even the future players did not escape Dr Hilaire’s utterances, as he stated that half of the Under 19 players could barely read or write. What he did not comment on were the findings as to the performance of West Indian junior teams including the Under 19s, which have been creditable, and why no solution has been found over the last 15 years to deal with the obvious problems these young cricketers encounter as they move from the junior to the senior level.”
The statement said the WICB was charged with providing such solutions but had failed, and continued to flounder in bridging the gap.
“Dr Hilaire’s words point to a failure of the very institution that employs him, since it is the WICB which has the mandate to develop cricket (and by necessity cricketers) in the region. The question which naturally arises is whether the board has been doing its job?”
WIPA said the number of first class matches had been reduced since the CEO took office, yet both the scholar and the man in the street would agree that the way to improve was to play more, not less, cricket and that preparation and environment were of vital importance.
“There have been so many complaints about the glaring lack of professional cricket infrastructure and development of West Indies cricket to keep pace with the changes to the game in most of the other Test-playing countries that to merely blame players reeks of abdication of their responsibility and could not be a sound argument. Players do not select themselves,” WIPA argued.
It said the best that could be gleaned from Hilaire’s comments was that he made a strong case for restructuring the WICB. (BA/PR)