On Target
September 4, 2009
Truly Beyond the Boundary

News earlier this week that the impasse between the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) and the West Indies Players Association (WIPA) has reached the point of arbitration is further evidence of the sad state of West Indies Cricket.{{more}}

And it was inevitable that once the situation got to the stage of mediation, neither side would see it fit to resolve their differences.

The fact, too, that one of the region’s luminaries Sir Shridath Ramphal was appointed mediator but could not make much headway speaks of our newly developed habit of hard ball play.

The upheavals arose out of issues over players’ contracts, which resulted in the top West Indies players boycotting the recent home series against Bangladesh and missing out on the ICC Champions Trophy scheduled for later this month in South Africa.

Such is the abrasion that the “revolting” West Indies players were available for selection for the South Africa mission, but they were not eligible for selection.

Opinions are split down the middle, as some former test players have come out in favour of the WICB, while other are in the corner of WIPA. There is no discernable light at the end of the proverbial tunnel, as confrontation is now the norm.

Our former colonial masters are feasting because of our demise both on and off the field.

The online Cricket sites, such as Cricinfo, have been fed a daily diet of West Indies Cricket turmoil, and have set the table and dined in delight.

With all the goings on, psychologically, we are beaten before a ball is bowled or even before a team is announced for a series.

No longer are West Indies teams referred to as “the Mighty West Indies”, but today, “under-strength” and “second string”, are the names that precede the units.

As I pointed out in an earlier exposition, we should start from scratch with those both on the side of the WICB and the players who have West Indies Cricket at heart.

C L R James’ book about West Indies Cricket, “ Beyond the Boundary” , meshed Cricket’s political resonance; the capture of colonial rule and class antagonism; the struggle between bat and ball likened between the colonial powers and their subjects, nations as against individualism as well as races and class structures.

So, what is happening today really goes beyond the boundary and are deep rooted issues that may never be known, or can be a re-enactment of our colonial past.

So why would we want to throw away what shaped us and gave us clout on the international sporting arena?

Or is it greed or personal vendetta?

This important regional institution has shaped the lives of many in the recent past. While many persons are crying out for hardships in the familiar “rough economic times”, our players are getting salaries that are hefty by Caribbean standards.

It was reported recently that fees among the top 20 players for the last nine months amounted to US$7.8 million.

In the case of former captain Chris Gayle, his fees for the last six series were reported to be to US$814,936.

At the other end, a fringe player like Devon Smith who played in three series received around US$160,405.

Under the current pay structure of the WICB, players receive US$5,000 per test match, US$2,000 for a One-Day International and US$1,500 for a Twenty20 International.

These fees are in addition to the players’ sponsorship fee of US$35,000 allocated by Digicel for each match day and divided among the players.

From takings from the 2007 Cricket World Cup, then, each player received about US$160,000.

Match this against the team’s performance in recent times, then you be the judge.

Also, be the judge of the Mound at the Sion Hill Playing Field.

email: [email protected]