Prime Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines Dr Ralph Gonsalves has given the proposed West Indies tour of England in July his blessing once Cricket West Indies can establish that the players representing the region will be safe.

Former Windies bowler turned commentator Ian Bishop has heaped high praise on the current India pace attack, drawing comparisons to the relentless West Indies bowling units of the 1970s and 80s.

With a line-up that included the likes of Andy Roberts, Michael Holding, Joel Garner, and Colin Croft, the West Indies team of that era became a nightmare for opposing batsmen.  The four-pronged bowling attack was relentless but also possessed some skill to go along with sustained aggression.

Despite initially being known for producing top-class spinners, India has in recent years produced a fearsome pace bowling attack of their own.  The likes of Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, and Bhuvneshwar Kumar, have proved capable of rattling even the best batting line-ups around the globe.

Bumrah has arguably been the pick of the pack and has developed a reputation for terrorizing opposing batsmen with pace and movement, despite a relatively short run-up.  Ironically, it was the West Indies that were rocked back by the bowler last year when he put on an outstanding display during a series between the teams, particularly during a Test match at Jamaica’s Sabina Park.  Bumrah returned outstanding figures of 6-16 from 9.1 overs - including just the third Test hat-trick by an India bowler.

“When you have three fast bowlers, sometimes four and an excellent spinner, it takes my mind back to the West Indies pace quartet before my generation, the Marshalls, the Holdings, the Garners, the Roberts – I’ll stick Colin Croft in there,” Bishop told Cricbuzz in Conversation.

“There is no release point, two come out, two come on.  There is no flow of runs and there is always a threat of penetration and physical harm to a lesser extent.  That is one of the things that makes this group of fast bowlers excellent.”

Retired South African middle-order batsman Jacques Kallis has not been getting a lot of respect lately from the Ultimate XI panellists on the Sportsmax Zone.

Legendary West Indies fast bowler Curtly Ambrose was typically content to let the ball do the talking but recently recalled an occasion when he was tempted to let his fists answer a few questions of their own.

Tony Astaphan SC, attorney-at-law for former Cricket West Indies (CWI) president Dave Cameron, has taken exception to the appearance of what he termed a diminished sense of ‘collective responsibility’, considering some of the accusations levelled against his client in the recent audit report.

The financial report, which singled out Cameron for criticism on several occasions, was commissioned by the current CWI board and conducted by independent auditors Pannell Kerr Foster (PKF).  Among other things, it raised concerns regarding an inadequate accounting system that enabled financial irregularities to go unreported.

Cameron’s legal team has already requested a copy of the contentious document, which has already been leaked, but Astaphan has also been quick to point out that the structure of the CWI remains a board of directors and all decisions were taken and approved at that level.

“If the auditor is in fact making so-called findings on matters that were dealt with by the board and they are so concerned about irregularities and abuses; the directors, including the present ones, from top to bottom, are going to have to come forward and explain their votes to the region and the shareholders,” Astaphan said on the Mason and Guest radio show.

“You can’t just decide to throw one man overboard and say well there goes Cameron swimming down the lagoon again.  Collective responsibility is very important,” he added.

The lawyer strongly rejected the notion that the board members were bullied into voting by the former president, as has been previously suggested.

“It was said that the directors were subservient, subservient, grown men, grown independent men, successful businessmen, politicians and all were subservient to Cameron, that is why they went along with the votes.  As a Caribbean man I would consider that to be contemptuous of my position on the board.”

“There is an implication that there was this and that but everyone went along with Dave Cameron like the pied piper and the rats into the pond.”

Cricket West Indies has begun for a permanent head coach for the West Indies Women. That person will replace interim head coach Gus Logie who has been in charge of the women’s team since October 2019.

Legendary West Indies captain Clive Lloyd agrees in principle with former players stepping in to provide mentorship for the new generation but has called for a careful screening process to get the best outcome from the experience.

The 75-year-old Lloyd has been respected for generations, not just for his cricketing ability but steady and inspiring leadership, which saw the West Indies lift back-to-back ICC World Cup titles in 1975 and 1979. 

With the team currently a long way from those heady days of success, several former players have pointed to the issue of mentorship as a missing element in the current team’s success and have been quick to offer their assistance to rectify the problem.  Not so fast, says Lloyd.

“We have to find out how strong they are in certain departments.  You can’t just say this guy is going to be this when he isn’t suited for that role.  You have to find out what strengths he or she has,” Lloyd told the Mason and Guest Radio program.

“I’m talking about players that have done extremely well, have been through the mill, and can pass the knowledge on," he added.

 "Not every great player can be a teacher but there are certain aspects and things that they are strong at, and that is what we have to search for, so that when we have a player coming through and they get to Test level they are not learning on the job they have already qualified.”

 

West Indies spinner Rahkeem Cornwall has vowed to 'stick to what he knows', despite being the subject of recent criticism from legendary spinner Lance Gibbs.

The 85-year-old Gibbs, undisputedly one of the region’s finest ever craftsmen in the disciple of spin bowling, was critical of the performance of the current crop of regional spinners on a whole.  His issue with Cornwall stemmed from what he described as the spinner’s short run-up and ‘lack of rhythm’.

Cornwall, who has insisted he only just heard of the remarks has insisted he is not fazed by the criticism as it was impossible to make everyone happy.

“I am not really on social media that much to see some of those things [comments] and if one or two people don’t say something to me I may not see it but I just don’t really dig too deep into it,” Cornwall told the Good Morning Jojo Radio Show.

“I really can’t stress on that, everybody has their own opinion and if you dwell on every opinion you will find yourself get mixed up in all sorts of things so you just have to control what you can control and when the opportunity arises to go and perform you just make sure you stick to what you know and perform,” he said.

The burly spinner, who made his debut for the West Indies against India last year, was recently named as part of a CWI 29-member preparatory squad for a possible tour of England.

Cricket West Indies president Ricky Skerritt has insisted the organisation is in process of implementing several recommendations of a recently commissioned audit, which promises to deliver on previously stated targets of governance reform and financial transparency.

Recent news reports had pointed to financial irregularities discovered after an audit of the CWI balance sheets, which pointed to what was deemed to be, among other things, the improper handling of funds in a recent transfer. 

According to Skerritt, however, issues that have affected the organisation as it relates to governance structure and financial management systems were already being address in two previously commissioned reports.  The Accounting and Management Consulting firm of Pannell Kerr Foster (PKF) was employed to examine the organisation’s financial practices, with a task led by Senator Don Wehby expected to review governance systems.  The CWI president pointed out that PFK had already flagged several issues and that the recommendations suggested were already being adopted by the organisation.

“In carrying out its assessments PKF uncovered some illustrations of questionable executive standards and practices. It verified and emphasized the need for drastic operational reorganization and realignment, with an urgent need for improved risk assessment and cash flow management. The PKF consultants accordingly presented their report in person to the CWI Board of Directors in December, and their twenty-eight (28) recommendations were unanimously adopted,” Skerritt stated via press release.

The recommendations were said to include; Reinforcing the President’s role as Non-Executive Chairman of the Board, with responsibility for strategic policy and governance, while empowering and supporting the CEO and his management team with full responsibility for all operational aspects of the organization; realigning the organisation’s leadership, reporting, and functional structure, to enhance accountability and reestablish clear lines of authority and responsibility; strengthening internal controls and ensuring timely reconciliation and reporting of all accounts; and modifying fundamental management practices to ensure transparency, and best practices.  It also called for discontinuing the operations of the Executive Committee of The Board and reporting to the Board on a timely basis, the accurate financial situation.

Skerritt has insisted the organisation did not consider the report for general release because it was an internal matter.  The CWI will now decide whether to release it in full.  According to the president, the recommendations from the Wehby report will be known in a few weeks.

Former Barbados Cricket Association member and women’s team manager Hartley Reid has claimed former West Indies Women’s team all-rounder Shaquana Quintyne is at times in ‘excruciating pain’ and barely able to walk after failing to properly recover from multiple cruciate ligament operations.

The 24-year-old bowling all-rounder has accused Cricket West Indies (CWI) of leaving her to fend for herself after getting injured during a training camp in preparation for the International Cricket Council 50-over World Cup three years ago.  Multiple operations and several failed rehabilitations later the player remains not only unable to resume her craft but on occasion has issues with mobility.

CWI CEO Johnny Grave has, however, strongly refuted claims that the organization has not been supportive of the player.

“We have provided enormous financial support and medical support for Shaquana since she got injured back in 2017…we have paid huge sums of money for her to try and get her career back and try and get back to full fitness,” Grave told the Mason and Guest Radio program.

According to Grave, the organisation’s Total and Permanent Disablement policy, which did not exist for the women’s team in 2017 was extended to Quintyne, in light of the injury.

Reid, however, also a former chairman of women’s cricket for the BCA when Quintyne was captain of the team, has also disputed the level of support provided by the CWI and does not believe it went far enough.

“When she got injured in Antigua in March 2017 she was not even taken to a doctor, a clinic, or to a hospital.  She got injured and was sent back to Barbados two days after.  When she came back to Barbados she was given instructions to see a doctor, that doctor was not even in Barbados.  So, she contacted me in all the pain and tears, and I took her to see an orthopedic surgeon,” Reid told the Mason and Guest Radio program.

Reid went on to explain that the player was unable to continue seeing that orthopedic surgeon in Barbados, after the CWI provided recommendations and means for the player to have surgery and treatment in Jamaica.  After some relief, the conditions, however, returned and Quintyne then got permission to be treated by the surgeon in Barbados.  The player again experienced some relief but after the conditions returned in 2018 was recommended for a third surgery, this time in Canada, on the advice of the Barbadian orthopedic surgeon.

“That is where Cricket West Indies assistance ended.  When she came back from Canada in March 2018, with the understanding that in three months’ time she would have returned to Canada for observation and further analysis, Cricket West Indies not agree for her to go,” Reid explained.

“So, she was in pain all of the time until she decided to go back with her own money.  In November 2018 she had another operation, all at her expense.  She was spending all of her money so she is poor now because she spent all of her money trying to get herself back in condition," he added.

“Right now, as we speak as she put it, her knee has locked up and she is in excruciating pain and she cannot walk, she is crying and immobile.”

 

Former West Indies batsman Ricardo Powell insists he could have benefited more from a better understanding of 'discipline' as a player and believes it is an issue to be addressed if the regional team is to return to a place of prominence.

Powell made a total of 116 appearances for the West Indies between 1999 and 2006 and is widely considered to be one of the cleanest hitters of the cricket ball.  Looking back at his introduction to the West Indies team as a 21-year-old in 1999, he freely admits that he had failed to grasp certain key elements needed for success during his development as a junior player.

“I remember growing up as a young player never understanding what discipline was in terms of the sport of cricket and how that was applied to cricket,” Powell told the Mason and Guest radio show.

“I always thought that this guy is indiscipline, he isn’t disciplined, not knowing that they were talking about the application to the actual game itself and not necessarily your behavior on and off the field,” he added.

In order to mitigate against such deficiencies affecting future generations of West Indies players, Powell believes the region must make a serious investment in mentorship programs.

“Mentorship should be a big thing in West Indies cricket right now because we are living in a different time and everyone wants to be successful overnight because of what T20 has brought to the game,” Powell said.

"I think a lot of mentorship needs to be taking place with workshops for younger players on and off the field.  The workshops also have to be relatable, with people like myself who have played the game and understand what it is to come from certain walks of life and make it to the top and understand what it takes to get there and how you are going to stay there.”

 

 

Cricket West Indies CEO Johnny Grave believes the development of a ‘culture of respect’ by regional players, and other stakeholders involved in the sport, would serve as a more effective solution than the prospect of broad fines levied against individuals for misconduct.

Recently, disparaging public outbursts directed towards other players from veteran West Indies players Chris Gayle and Marlon Samuels has brought the issue of player discipline once again to the fore. In addressing the matter, CWI president Ricky Skerritt had previously expressed disappointment with the incidents.

 Outside of just the latest incidents, however, the region has had a long history of players choosing to air grievances in a public manner.  While some have suggested the implementation of public fines for instances of bringing the sport into disrepute as a solution, things can get more complex when the players are not directly contracted to the CWI.  Grave believes the best solution lies in a cultural shift.

“Individual cricketers that are outside of the framework of our cricket or contractual system can clearly talk openly and freely,” Grave told the Mason and Guest radio show.

“What I’d really want, rather than the ability to punish players, is to be able to create a culture of mutual trust and respect between all the stakeholders.  So, if there are disagreements or disputes, they are appropriately dealt with inhouse, and if we have to agree to disagree every now and again that will happen,” he added.

“I’d much rather have a culture within Cricket West Indies of mutual respect where we are not relying on a code of conduct or punishment.”   

Leeward Islands captain Kieran Powell has been left disappointed by his non-selection to the provisional 29-man squad for the West Indies tour of England which looks set to go ahead this summer.

Cricket West Indies announced the squad recently in lieu of agreements with the England and Wales Cricket Board about a tour that was scheduled for June but has now been postponed amid plans to make it safe despite the worldwide spread of COVID-19.

The squad had seen the return of pacer Shannon Gabriel, spinner Veerasammy Permaul and middle-order batsman Jermaine Blackwood.

There were also some new faces to the squad like Preston McSween, Paul Palmer, Shane Mosely and Keon Harding.

Powell, who last represented the West Indies on the 2018 tour of Bangladesh, was a notable absentee.

Since Powell’s exclusion from the West Indies set-up, he has scored fairly heavily in regional cricket, a fact that has elicited surprise at his non-selection.

“I haven’t really been as productive as I would like in the four-day format but I still managed to stand out above everyone else who played in the tournament so it’s disheartening for myself to learn that I hadn’t been selected based on the volume of runs I scored,” said Powell.

Despite leading the Caribbean in the Regional Super50 competition with 524 runs last year, Powell was not selected for series against India, Ireland and Sri Lanka.

There had been reports that Powell should have been a replacement for Evin Lewis in the Sri Lanka series. Lewis had failed a fitness test but the reports are suggesting Powell also failed that test.

“I don’t mind not being selected. This is part and parcel of being in West Indies cricket. It has been here long before me and I’m pretty sure it will be long after but communication is the most important thing,” Powell said regarding the failure of the fitness test.

According to Powell, he is yet to hear from CWI what aspects of the test he failed and what he needed to work on.

“Obviously there are more factors to it, which is what I am trying to ascertain. What are those standards, so I can work on whatever I need to work on so I can get my international career back off the ground?” he said.

While not calling names or suggesting this administration inclusive of coaches and board has anything more than the best interest of cricket at heart, Powell did point out that there was a certain stigma that has made his sojourn in West Indies cricket more difficult.

“I remember a coach of the West Indies team telling me that I don’t need to play for the West Indies team because I was financially good and that I should leave it for people who aren’t financially good and I didn’t understand,” said Powell.

According to the elegant left-hander, his finances should not be used to count against him playing for the region.

“No one would look at a LeBron James or a Cristiano Ronaldo, and so many others, that based on all the investments they have that they don’t need to play anymore. Obviously, we know the history of athletes going bankrupt,” he said.

Chief of selectors, Roger Harper, asked about the exclusion of Kieron Pollard, said the issue was one based completely on cricket and that there was no personal feeling toward Powell one way or the other.

“I don’t know of any problem with Powell. When we picked our squad, we picked what we thought was the best squad for those conditions,” said Harper.

The West Indies tour of England will see them fight to retain the Wisden Trophy they took from England last year.

Legendary Pakistan fast bowler Wasim Akram has recently recalled an incident in which iconic West Indies batsman Viv Richards scared him senseless, during a series that ended with a fiery Test match, in Barbados, in 1988.

Pakistan had strolled to a 9 wickets win over the West Indies in the first Test before the teams drew the second encounter.  The famed West Indies were left battling to stave off defeat when Akram remembers the clash with Richards in the final Test.

“He would have hit me a lot in 1988. He was a muscular guy and I was very skinny. It was the last over of the day and I was bowling at a good pace. I had realized by then that I had become fast. Viv Richards realized I was a difficult bowler and saw I had a quick-arm action. I bowled a bouncer at him, and his cap fell off.  Getting Viv Richards cap to fall was a big deal,” Akram revealed in a recent talk with cricket commentator Aakash Chopra.

  “There was no match referee back then and I went up to him and sledged him in my broken English. He spat after staring at me and said don’t do this man. I understood nothing but just the man’s word. I said ok, no worries and went to my captain Imran Khan and told him Richards was warning not to abuse him or else he will beat me up. Imran Khan said don’t worry about that and just bowl him, bouncers. I bowled him a bouncer again and abused him after he ducked. On the last ball of the day, I bowled an in-swinger and he was bowled. I went up to him and gave him a good send-off, shouted go back and all,” he added.

According to Akram, who had Richards caught for 67 in the first innings, before dismissing him for 39 in the second, the issue was far from concluded.

“I went back to the dressing room with Imran Khan. In Barbados, the dressing of two teams is in front of each other. I was tired and taking off my shoes when a guy told me to come out of the dressing room. I asked, ‘who is calling me’ and he said you better come out man. When I went out, I saw Viv Richards standing without his shirt,” Akram recounted.

“He was sweating and had his bat in his hand, he also had his pads on. I got scared and ran back to Imran Khan. I told him that Viv Richards was waiting for me with a bat in his hand. Imran Khan asked ‘what should I do. It’s your fight, go and handle it’. I said skipper what are you saying, you have developed this strong body and are telling a skinny guy like me to face him. I went out and told him sorry. I told him that nothing of this sort will happen again and he said you better not, I will kill you.”

 

Former president of Cricket West Indies (CWI) Dave Cameron has advised the world’s smaller cricket boards to use the circumstances of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic to call for more equity in the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) revenue-sharing agreement.

Sporting entities across the globe continue to battle the economic fallout from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, with the spread of the virus bringing a halt to almost all international sport.  In cricket, specifically, the massive disparity between the previous earnings of the ‘big three,’ England, India and Australia and the rest of the smaller nations leaves them even more vulnerable to financial devastation.

The issue of economic disparity was one that was broached by the Cameron-led CWI administration two years ago in a paper to the ICC termed the ‘Economics of Cricket’.  The revenue-sharing model had been adjusted in 2017, but Cameron believed it still fell well short of a truly equitable system.  The former president believes the coronavirus emergency that has greatly exacerbated the situation, shows the dangers of the current model.

"With the current COVID-19 pandemic wreaking financial havoc, the less wealthy cricket boards like West Indies, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, South Africa, and Zimbabwe will suffer more if they don't stand up,” Cameron said in an interview with the Trinidad and Tobago Guardian.

"The gap between wealthier and less wealthy cricket nations is widening and will contribute to less wealthy nations being less competitive and the devaluing the international cricket product. The gap immediately expedites the flight of talent away from bilateral international cricket as the less wealthy cricket nations are disadvantaged in funding their professional domestic and national retainer contracts.

"Given the current situation with the COVID-19, the gap will widen further as the less wealthy cricket nations won't be able to sustain investment in cricket and player development, infrastructure and administration," said Cameron.

 

 

 

 

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