Riley: WI players underachievers
OUTSPOKEN Barbados Cricket Association (BCA) board member Conde Riley has blasted West Indies cricketers over the collapse of the tour of India, calling them “underachievers” who are hurting the development of regional cricket.
He made the charge on the Sunday Brass Tacks radio programme, during which he said the players were holding the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) and the public “to ransom”.
Riley also dismissed claims that the cricketers were “underpaid” and that the demise of the Indian tour was caused by a move to cut their pay by 70 per cent.
“It is time that we start calling a spade a spade,” the former WICB director told listeners. “They’re under-achievers . . . .
“Pakistan just beat Australia badly. Pakistan was at number seven the other day. We have beaten nobody. We get beat overseas and home.”
He said that the women cricketers had chalked up a lot more progress than the men in international rankings.
“[While] the women moved from number eight to number two in three years, we have remained at eight, eight, seven for about 10-15 years and the board and the people of the Caribbean are being held to ransom by 18 under-achievers, who are stunting the development of Barbados and West Indies cricket,” he charged.
He also complained about players’ failure to negotiate their way out of trouble.
When there was a problem, “we can’t sit down and talk about it”, he said. “We walk off the job or don’t play. No. This must stop.”
He also raised questions about the players’ attitude to readying themselves for competitions.
“They want to play all of the matches in the IPL [Indian Premier League],” he remarked. “They will not come home a week earlier to join a camp. All of the other Test-playing countries in the world, the guys go home and get ready to play for their country.”
He rejected suggestions that the team was badly paid. “They are paid better than about six teams that are ahead of them,” he reported.
“We cannot compete with India, England, Australia or South Africa. But they [West Indies players] are paid better than all the rest that are above them.”
He said the annual retainer contracts for players had been raised by 25 per cent with different classes of players earning from US$115 000 to above US$130 000.
Match fees are also reported to have gone up from US$5 000 to US$5 750 for Tests and one-day matches.
“There is no prime minister in the Caribbean who earns $300 000 a year – none,” Riley commented.
He dismissed claims that the row between the players and the WICB was due to “70 per cent of their salary being cut”.
“It is the image rights that have been cut,” he explained.
According to Riley, those intellectual property rights amounted to a total of US$35 000 a day, to be split among players.
Fifteen of the players in the past got 80 per cent of that money but the split had now become 60/40, with 40 per cent earmarked for the development of other Caribbean cricketers, according to Riley.
“Why should these 15, who are at number eight, continue to get 80 per cent of that split?” he asked.
Riley was one of three panellists on that Starcom Network Inc. programme moderated by Corey Lane. The others were Gregory Nicholls, former honorary secretary of the BCA, and Stephen Leslie, a sports administrator at the University of the West Indies Cave Hill Campus. (TY)