WThe fact that the Jamaica Football Federation in recent years has basically marginalised the players emerging from the league as it relates to meaningful national senior selection; has had an immeasurably negative effect on the marketability of the players and ultimately the league, which also translates into less and less players gaining the exposure needed to invite significant overseas contracts.
There has long been an emerging sense of hopelessness as it concerns to the viability and sustenance of the local Premier League.
Lots of hot air is still being emitted re: the implementation of a franchise system as the saviour, which is yet to be translated into any semblance of action.
The Red Stripe Premier League is crying out for help but the cries seem to be falling on deaf ears. The league has been relegated to ITH A lot of cricket being played around the world, it is usual to expect that the game would be prominent in global sport news. The English are locked in an interesting tussle with India, Australia is battling South Africa and the West Indies are due to play in a triangular series with Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka. As an added bonus, West Indian women’s team play against India, knowing that one win in three games would see the team automatically qualifying for a place in the ICC World Cup, scheduled for England next year. For the West Indian cricket fan, however, as usual, the only news is bad news. Our ladies suffered another batting meltdown to lose the second straight game to India, putting more pressure on themselves (and us fans) before game three tomorrow, desperately needing a win. The men of the West Indies cricket team, coming off a rare win in a Test match, albeit in a dead series against Pakistan, are looking (once again) to turn the corner in their quest to resume relevance in World cricket. But along comes another “controversy”. Having their overtures to Kraigg Braithwaite and Marlon Samuels rebuffed, the board was asked to explain the offering of a “C” contract to their second best player in the past year, Darren Bravo. Rushing into a television studio to answer this and other questions was the president of the WICB, Dave Cameron. That decision, to have the President attempting to explain the actions of a Board constantly under fire from the majority of the regional fans proved to be a costly mistake. The president of the WICB doesn’t have a good history of outing fires and soothing the ire of players. Ever since he was ignored at a cricket function in South Africa by players, who he apparently felt owed him a debt of gratitude for their improved earnings in world cricket, our President has consistently shown us how thin-skinned he really is. He has no problem in making disparaging tweets etc against West Indian players, but if anyone dares to respond in kind - sanction! In that interview last week, our president explained that Darren Bravo could not expect to keep his ‘A’ contract if his average keeps falling in the previous twelve month period, as there would be no incentive for an ‘A’-contract player to improve his on-field statistics. That sounded reasonable, but a quick fact check revealed that our president did not state the facts. Darren Bravo was (factually) the second best West Indian batsman in the twelve-month period under review by the Board. Second, Mr. Bravo NEVER had an A contract.
Third, Darren Bravo—a test team veteran was offered a ‘C’ contract similar in terms to one offered a newcomer to the team, and fourth, Marlon Samuels, a player with a demonstrable inferior average in the twelve month period used by the Board to calculate contract values was offered a ‘B’ contract. Darren Bravo, a West Indian career cricketer, who gave up playing the shorter form of the game to improve his statistics in the longer and purer form of cricket, felt hurt and insulted.
He responded in a manner that was disrespectful to his president, “the owner fe de yard” who ultimately decides who gets paid and who does not. So in a true “Trump-like” manner Darren Bravo is instantly dismissed and sent home from the touring team. But, I am yet to see any attempt by our President to correct his erroneous statement or to apologise for his unfortunate and incorrect categorising of Mr. Bravo’s previous contract. So, another one bites the dust. One by one, the better players of cricket in the West Indies are sidelined for perceived ‘insubordination’ and the team is filled with untried and unproven players who are too scared to voice (or tweet) any opinion about conditions under which they are forced to play. The result, defeat after defeat and a relentless and continuous slide down the International rankings, with elimination from the really important ICC competitions. So it’s on to the Tri-Nation series in Zimbabwe, minus our best spinner, Sunil Narine, who has withdrawn from the tour ‘for personal reasons’.
Where will it end? When will West Indian fans, whose hardearned dollars support this WIBC Board and their sponsors, have the guts to say to our president — No mas, No more, please, please, leave us and give West Indies cricket a chance to be relevant.