January 2, 2015
PM Gonsalves knocks WICB’s operations

The operations and recent conduct of the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) has met with the chagrin of Prime Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines Dr Ralph Gonsalves.{{more}}

Speaking on the television show on Digicel Sportsmax last Monday afternoon, Gonsalves likened the WICB to a “private club.”

“To the best of my knowledge, the West Indies Cricket Board does not own a cricket ground… They have an authority which is derived from history and their links from the International Cricket Conference,” Gonsalves commented.

Gonsalves was responding to the recent decision by the WICB’s selection panel, headed by Clive Lloyd, to axe Dwayne Bravo as captain and Kieron Pollard from the One Day International team for a five-match series in South Africa later this month.

Bravo was the captain during the West Indies’ aborted tour to India last October, as the players were at loggerheads with the WICB over contractual issues.

Gonsalves, who played a mediating role in the matter in November, thinks that the axing of the players is nothing short of victimization.

Zooming in on the performance of Bravo in 2014 in ODI’s, Gonsalves noted that he played 13 matches, scored 415 runs, with an average of 46.1 and collected 20 wickets with his medium pace.

However, when quizzed last Monday on the matter of a possible meeting with president of the WICB Dave Cameron, Gonsalves expressed some pessimism.

“I don’t know that Dave Cameron would want to have a meeting with the prime ministers… Because if two prime ministers can sit down with you and you breached that undertaking …After all, the persons who sat with you were not itinerant layabouts, they are heads of government,” Gonsalves commented.

Last Monday’s pronouncements by Gonsalves are a follow-up to a two-page letter he penned last week to Cameron and copied to regional leaders, as well as to Wavell Hinds – president of the West Indies Players Association (WIPA) and Queen’s Counsel Ralph Thorne, who are the players’ representatives, and CARICOM secretary general Irwin La Rocque. In his letter, Gonsalves reminded Cameron that the WICB had given an undertaking that the players would not be victimized, following the controversial tour of India.

He further reminded Cameron, “Your solemn undertaking was honoured by the WICB in the selection of the test team for South Africa. But it is evident to all objective observers that the WICB has dishonoured that undertaking in respect of the recently announced touring party for the One-Day International series in South Africa.

“Since the decision glaringly lacks cricketing merit, reasonable persons are left to conclude that there is ‘more in the mortar beside the pestle’. Gonsalves added.

Employing some robust language, Gonsalves said the non-selection of the players “reeks of village vengeance, discrimination and victimization… the casting aside of Mr Bravo as our ODI captain is a travesty of justice.”

The initial announcement of the ODI team excluded Bravo, Pollard and Darren Sammy; however, the latter was named as the fifteenth player.

Gonsalves, in his letter, called for the reinstatement of the players.

The trio, however, are all in the Twenty/20 team, with Sammy retaining the captaincy.

Jason Holder, 23, takes over from Bravo as ODI skipper.(RT)