No meddling in cricket
VARIATION of the well-established cliché that politics makes for strange bedfellows would have sprung to mind recently when news broke that Jamaica’s Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller had boldly ventured into the sporting arena with her direct call upon the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) to return controversial star batsman Chris Gayle to the West Indies cricket team.
It would not have escaped attention either that the subject of her intervention just happened to be Jamaican, thereby arousing suspicion that parochial or insular interests could have coloured her judgement.
Her concerns were not about the regional team’s present poor state and not very promising prospects, issues that occupied the attention of P. J. Patterson, her former political colleague who himself once held the very high office she currently occupies.
Patterson’s involvement was at the invitation of the region that sought to benefit from his vast experience, balanced judgment and highly respected statesmanship. Therefore, he could not have been accused of pandering to the national populist sentiments that seemingly have been triggered among the Jamaican population because of the strong stand the WICB has taken against Gayle’s behaviour.
Because cricket is one of the few sporting or other activities that brings the Caribbean together, even if only periodically, cricket lovers would, of necessity, be quite uncomfortable when political figures seek, on their own initiative, to inject themselves into the management of the game.
Caribbean cricket lovers would much prefer that that kind of passion be directed toward the numerous political, social and economic problems on which the region’s political directorate has found it very difficult, if not impossible, to have a serious impact for very many years now.
We believe that the personnel and management problems that continue to beset West Indies cricket would be better left to non-political and even apolitical personages.
The general public would confidently feel such people would have the best interests of the game and players at heart and would not be motivated by narrow political considerations.
The administrators, players and their various representaives already have the massive challenge of changing entrenched attitudes and building mutual trust and respect and should not now be distracted by political interventions.
This element can only make their task more difficult and, therefore, all others should be asked to give the possibility of a genuine cricket renaissance a chance to catch root.