EXCLUSIVE : Fort Lauderdale (Florida): Dave Cameron, the president of the West Indies Cricket Board, spoke to The Telegraph on Wednesday evening.
The interview was at the Westin, where the meeting between the players (T20I squad plus the special invitees) and the Board took place.
Cameron’s presidency has seen the West Indies win three World titles in 2016: U-19, men’s and women’s World T20. He’s been at the helm of the Board for close to three-and-a-half years.
Q After Darren Sammy’s attack on the Board, at Eden Gardens on regaining the World T20, you’ve clearly reached out to the players… Well, how did the lengthy closed-door bipartite meeting between the Board and the players go off?
A I’m happy… However, what’s important is how things go forward from now on. So, I’d really like to reserve judgment for the time being. First reaction of course is that I’m happy with the way the meeting went off… Right now, I’m comfortable, but I’ll be more comfortable after things have begun moving… Moving in the right direction.
What was the theme of the meeting?
Let me put it this way: The players were able to disseminate information they didn’t have access to before… We’d also invited a retired player, Darren Ganga (who’d played between 1998-2008), to give his perspective on life after cricket… The views exchanged were frank. But, as I’ve said, the effectiveness of the hours spent together would be judged on how the team goes forward… If I had to describe the theme, it was how best to take West Indies cricket forward. All stakeholders have to work together.
Would there be a review after, say, six months?
Could be… Ideally, there should be a meeting at least once a year. We had one in 2013, in Florida itself, then in Barbados last year… This, then, was the third.
The meeting, which began at 9.00 am, got over around 1.30 pm, but I saw you come out with the Keiron Pollards as late as 4.00 pm… Did you meet some of the players separately? If so, why?
I did have an extended meeting with Wavell Hinds, the president of the West Indies Players Association (WIPA), Pollard and one or two more on getting the players to sit down with Hinds and to place their recommendations on the changes they’d like to the eligibility criteria.
WIPA, therefore, is a key player…
The Board deals with them.
What is the eligibility criteria?
To be eligible for Test cricket in the West Indies cap, you need to play our domestic four-day tournament… To play ODIs, you need to participate in our domestic 50-over competition… To be eligible for T20Is, you need to be available for the CPL. Playing in the CPL isn’t a must as the franchises may not pick a particular player.
But should the selection criteria be so rigid?
That’s a subject for our selectors to look at. The players, as I’ve mentioned, could give an input after sitting down with Hinds.
Generally, what did the players say on the eligibility bit?
From what I could gather, they’d like consistency in following the eligibility criteria. If there’s a policy, it has to be implemented consistently.
That Sammy accepted the Board’s invitation to attend was pleasing…
But why would Sammy not have been invited? He remains a part of the West Indies cricket structure. We’d invited all on retainer contracts… Denesh Ramdin also came, as did newer players like Roston Chase. We wanted all to come on board.
The impression one has is that the Board advised chief selector Courtney Browne to drop Sammy from the T20I squad. As the Board president, what are your comments?
That is a wrong impression, totally incorrect. The Board had nothing to do with Sammy’s omission. In fact, Sammy himself asked Browne as to why he’d been dropped.
So Browne, too, was present at the meeting?
Shouldn’t a two-time World T20-winning captain be given some allowance for form? It was only as recently as April that Sammy once again led the West Indies to victory in the World T20…
That’s not my call, but that of Mr Browne and his colleagues.
Finally… Is the communication gap between the Board and the players a thing of the past now?
(Smiles ) We’ve tried to close the gap.