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A THORNY ISSUE – Tough serving two masters

Andi Thornhill

A THORNY ISSUE – Tough serving two masters

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HAVING THE?best of both worlds. It is something we would all love to achieve but it is not always possible.
If it was, there won’t be cause for any form of disputes and it would be a happy world for all of us. The thinking is, of course, utopian which more often than not differs from earthly practices and consequences.
The ongoing Carlos Brathwaite/Jonathan Carter debate epitomises this situation.
Two players are contracted to the Barbados Cricket Association but prefer to play for the Combined Campuses and Colleges (CCC) in this month’s Super 50 tournament in Guyana.
It is a quandary and decision-making must have been hard for both players.
Your country has the first option to pick you and if that has been done it should be a given that’s where your loyalty should be.
If this isn’t the case it leads us to wonder why you would want to choose another option.
We can assume that Brathwaite feels he owes his selection on the West Indies team to CCC which he represented with distinction earlier this year.
The CCC drafted him after he was overlooked by Barbados. Sentiment for Brathwaite would be strong.
Carter was in the Barbados side but now plays his club cricket for Sagicor UWI. It is an open secret that the Cave Hill Campus is the base for the CCC.
So even if there are less compelling reasons for Carter to be sentimental about choosing CCC over his country, he is still only human and the battle with his conscience might not have been easy.
The fundamental twist in their scenario is that they were reportedly offered and accepted central contracts by the BCA before the regional season began this year.
BCA president Joel Garner announced the offering of central contracts at the association’s annual Christmas luncheon held at the Accra Beach Hotel. The contracts were due to expire in September.
Question is, therefore, did their contracts expire in time to make them free agents and subsequently allowed them to make themselves available to the CCC?
If they were still under contract to the BCA it complicates the matter and this is the precise reason it has become controversial.
It can be asked why they accepted BCA contracts in the first place if they knew their hearts were somewhere else?
Any organisation that pays you will feel a sense of betrayal if you turn around and pledge loyalty to another. In this regard, there must be sympathy for the BCA.
It all comes back to that old adage that you can’t serve two masters at the same time.
The recent ruling by the Executive Committee of the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) that allows CCC to keep its selected squads for the Super 50, eases the pressure off Brathwaite but not necessarily Carter who represented his country this year.
A release from the WICB said that future policy on this matter would be determined at a board meeting from October 14 to 16 after consideration of a paper from its Cricket Committee.
This development is timely and necessary because there must be a definitive ruling about the manner of CCC’s recruitment methods and who qualifies or doesn’t qualify to play for them ahead of national teams.
I make the point because there was an overlap of players called to trials by the BCA and CCC.
It became almost comical to see instances of players rushing from one trial match to the other in an effort to appease both masters.
Even if that had to be the case, there should be some agreement between both entities about refraining from trials that clashed.
And isn’t it dangerous to the players to be playing more than one competitive game on the same day?
I used the parochial example here to illustrate my points but lest we forget, the same confusion is apparent among players and associations in other territories from whence CCC cricketers are drawn.
Notwithstanding that there may be legal issues raised in the Brathwaite/Carter saga, it is a good case study that will hopefully lead to the best solution for what is now clearly a highly contentious and double-edged situation.
 Andi Thornhill is Sports Editor at the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation.

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