The Spectacular success of West Indian cricket teams in three International Cricket Council (ICC) tournaments last year must not be taken for granted and can act as a pivot for the region to restore its reputation as a viable force in world sport.
This point was hammered home by president of the West Indies Cricket Board Wycliffe “Dave” Cameron when he hosted a lively town hall meeting on Thursday at the Preysal High School in the company of his vice-president Emmanuel Nanton and leading officials of the Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board.
Cameron, who returns unopposed as WICB president for a third consecutive term later this year highlighted several other notable achievements in 2016 which he said have placed the regional game in an enviable position.
“No cricket board in the world can boast of holding three ICC championships at any one time as West Indies do, and we must commend ourselves as last year was very big for regional cricket,” said Cameron.
He also pointed to significant progress which has been made in the relationship between the WICB and its marquee players; the improvement of the regional board’s financial position; the positive results from restructuring the regional game; and an increased emphasis on youth development.
Cameron also said that a return to the core values enunciated by his administration when he ascended the presidency of the WICB in 2013 has helped chart the way forward and is the basis for many of the gains achieved in the recent past.
Among the principles being strictly adhered to, and demanded by his administration are accountability, integrity, respect, excellence, teamwork, inclusiveness and innovation and they form the framework for all decisions reached by the board.
Cameron also disclosed that for the first time in the 90-year history of the WICB, the regional cricket organisation can boast of acquiring its own property, the former Sticky Wicket facility which is now a High Performance Centre in Coolidge in Antigua and Barbuda, co-jointly owned with the islands’ government.
The Jamaican financial expert said he is also proud of the growth of the Scotiabank Kiddy Cricket initiative, a holistic development programme combining academics with basic cricket coaching, pioneered in Trinidad and Tobago for primary school children and now involves 140,000 children around the Caribbean.
Cameron told the participants in the town hall meeting, the second in a swing through the six WICB territories, that his board has also hired qualified personnel to several key positions including Chief Operations Officer, who is a female, which has strengthened its human resource capital and enhanced its ability to deliver on his vision going forward.
He admitted though that the resuscitation of West Indian fortunes in the longer formats of the game, namely Test and one-Day Internationals remains a great challenge and is a work in progress, but he remains hopeful that the groundwork is being laid for meaningful success in the near future.
“The decline started long before we came into office in 2013 and it will take some time to get to where we want to be, among to top Test playing countries in the world once again,” said Cameron.
He pointed to the current Super50 tournament’s new franchise-based restructuring which he said had achieved several major successes including the staging of more matches, bigger scores by players and teams, and the employment of cricketers full-time under retainer contracts.
“We are not yet turning the corner but we are on the right path with the focus on the players,” Cameron said.
The WICB chief said that there is an incorrect perception that the WICB has been negligent in seeking the interest of their players, but he said nothing is further from the truth as his board has been having regular interactions with its most valuable asset.
He pointed to a trip undertaken before the ill-fated tour to India to Miami, Florida by the players, management and top officials when wide ranging discussions took place and everyone had their say in an amicable atmosphere.
Following this, he said ongoing interaction with board officials and players had yielded significant results and restored trust between both parties, and this is evidenced by a de-escalation of the heated rhetoric and antagonism which formerly characterised their relationship.