PJ hurt by pull-out
KINGSTON – Former Jamaica Prime Minister PJ Patterson has described West Indies’ walk-out of the India tour as “humiliation” and says it has exposed “a total collapse of a governance system” in the administration of the game by the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB).
Patterson was reacting to the decision of the Windies One-Day team to abort their tour of India over a contracts and pay dispute with the West Indies Players Association (WIPA).
However, Patterson said much of the blame resided with the WICB as it had failed to engage the reform needed to streamline its governance of the game.
“It reflects a total collapse of a governance system and that has contributed to my hurt because when I was asked to look at the structure of governance of West Indies cricket, we made some far-reaching recommendations,” Patterson told TVJ Sports.
“And had they been implemented they would have been spared much of the hurt and agony which we are now experiencing because the management for the way forward required them and even more so, a skill set that begins with the board, the constituent elements and must of course the players themselves.”
Patterson was one of three eminent people – including Sir Alister McIntyre and Dr Ian McDonald – commissioned by the WICB to examine the structure of West Indies cricket.
Among the 65 recommendations in the 138-page report delivered seven years ago, was a restructuring of the board to reflect a reduction in the number of directors and a widening of stakeholder involvement. This is yet to be implemented.
Patterson said the situation in India had been upsetting.
“I regard what has happened in India as an act of final humiliation, not only for West Indies cricket but a betrayal of the West Indies cricket and it has left me with a deep feeling of hurt and anger,” Patterson said.
With Grenada’s Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell offering to intervene in the impasse, Patterson said he hoped all the relevant parties would take on board this proposition.
“I hope they will avail themselves of what he has to offer. I also note that a task force has been established to investigate what went wrong and I would rather await the report of that task force before engaging in any further comment.”
Former Trinidad and Tobago captain Daren Ganga also maintains the current controversy is primarily a players issue, and says the team’s decision to pull out of the India tour needs to be explained fully.
“We also need to realise this is a players’ issue, not a WICB issue,” Ganga told the Trinidad Express newspaper.
“What I must say is a crisis doesn’t happen overnight. I am not privy to all the details, but we must recognise that this issue emanated from within the WIPA and there would have been some approach to address it as it is my understanding there was continuous dialogue with the players who were there.”
“In my estimation strike action is a last resort and taking everything into consideration, it would be appropriate to discover the rationale behind such a decision,” added Ganga, who played 48 Tests.
Ganga, who is now an international television commentator, conceded he isn’t in a position to apportion blame or point fingers at any side but said the decision by players to abandon the tour could prove counterproductive.
“I would say if you compound all the things, we have just damaged our ties with the strongest board in cricket and this will only further hurt our attempts to return to championship status in world cricket and hurt the relationship among stakeholders in West Indies cricket,” Ganga said.
Meanwhile, Oliver McIntosh, chief executive officer of Digicel Sportsmax, the pan-Caribbean sports television network, says he is worried about the forthcoming West Indies tour of South Africa which they are scheduled to broadcast in December and January.
“We have invested a lot of money in the rights and in the talent. We have started marketing it, we have sponsors on board and if that doesn’t happen, you totally retract, you have to go back to sponsors and give back money,” he said while in Barbados for the Soccerex Americas Forum.
“We are worried. It does impact our audience. If West Indies cricket is no longer on, that is a big blow for us,” he added.
Telecommunications company Digicel, which recently bought Sportsmax, is well established as the main backer of West Indies cricket and is likely to sit down with the WICB in the near future.
“Like all cricket fans, we’re disappointed when matches don’t happen,” Digicel said in a statement. “To be clear, our contract is with the WICB. And it is with the WICB that we must have a discussion.” (CMC/EZS)