NATION Associate Editor (Sports) Haydn Gill raises concerns over the on-field conduct of Barbadian cricketers in regional competitions
A FEW WEEKS ago, I urged the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) to make public any disciplinary action taken against players in regional competitions.
I made the suggestion against the background that it was a policy followed by the International Cricket Council (ICC) for international matches.
Additionally, for several years I’d seen several cases when players were summoned to hearings before match referees but we were never informed of the outcome.
When I made the recommendation that the WICB follow the route of the ICC, I was also prompted to do so after watching a match between Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago at Guarcara Park where the conduct of players on both sides had been questionable.
Whether or not it was as a direct result of my suggestion, the WICB has been revealing penalties imposed on players during the ongoing regional four-day competition and must be commended for doing so.
The regional body has also made this information available on a timely basis with most of the announcements coming a few days after the completion of a match.
The WICB has been very open in the process, outlining descriptions of the offences, the nature of the penalties and the officiating match referee.
After four rounds of matches, seven players have been found guilty for varying breaches of the code of conduct.
They are Ryan Austin of Combined Campuses and Colleges (CCC), Kirk Edwards of Barbados,Gavin Tonge of Leeward Islands, Omar Phillips of CCC, Carlos Brathwaite of CCC, Ryan Hinds of Barbados and Runako Morton of Trinidad and Tobago.
If you didn’t realize, five of those are Barbadians and play in the Barbados Cricket Association (BCA) domestic competitions. It should be of concern to the BCA.
For the last few years, I have lamented the declining standards of the conduct of our players in domestic competitions.
Too often, we see clear cases of dissent and a blatant lack of respect for officials that go unpunished.
It is therefore only natural to expect that what the players do at club level will be duplicated at the regional stage.
The BCA must be applauded for introducing match referees to its Division 1 competition in the last two seasons as a follow-up to their long-standing presence of the Sagicor General limited-overs tournaments.
It is my understanding that Barbados is the only regional territory that uses match referees for all of its leading competitions.
That should in some way help reduce unacceptable acts of poor conduct in our club competitions and help prepare players for what is expected of them at a higher level.
The evidence of the first half of the regional season suggests there is reason why the BCA should be concerned and it must take steps in the short and long term to try to reduce indiscipline on the field of play.
Constant penalties not only hurt the cricketers in their pockets, but ultimately they bring embarrassment to the player, the team, the association and the island.