Sport

Australia v West Indies cricket: Windies board turns back on 'misguided' calls for dumping

The West Indies Cricket Board has rejected calls made by an exhaustive review for the board to dissolve, dismissing the recommendation as "unnecessary and intrusive".

WICB president David Cameron claimed the report, which slammed the leadership of the governing body, lacked credibility and was wrong to link the poor performance of the team to the existing governance structure.

Lloyd says Holder right man to captain

West Indies chairman of selectors Clive Lloyd says criticism of the team as the worst touring side in decades hurts.

The development comes as Windies legend Clive Lloyd boldy predicted the former kings of world cricket could become a "force to be reckoned with" within two years despite the myriad of problems the game faces in the Caribbean.

The WICB's decision to reject the key recommendation of a report authored by a prime ministerial committee is bound to cause political friction in the Caribbean, but has not come as a surprise. The board slammed the review, which interviewed a host of stakeholders including former and current players, and territorial board members, accusing it of drawing conclusions based "mostly on misguided and erroneous media reports".

Boxing Day was an emotional experience for Tim Lane.
Boxing Day was an emotional experience for Tim Lane. Photo: Getty Images

Cameron said the interviews conducted were limited in scope, and claimed presidents of the territorial boards were concerned they were not consulted nor were the WICB's independent directors.

"This has caused or triggered findings and recommendations by the panel which are not supported by the facts," Cameron wrote in a 15-page reply.

Cameron questioned CARICOM's recommendation to dissolve the board, particularly as it had no issue with any current directors. Nor was he convinced the removal of the board would lead to improved on-field performance by the Windies, who have been hammered in Australia and are ranked eighth and ninth respectively in Tests and one-day internationals.

"While the board is ultimately responsible for the performance of all of the West Indies cricket teams, members felt there is no objective basis for this assumption or apparent leap of faith," Cameron said.

The long and short of it: West Indies and Australian captains Jason Holder and Steve Smith at the Prime Minister's ...
The long and short of it: West Indies and Australian captains Jason Holder and Steve Smith at the Prime Minister's reception on Friday. Photo: Wolter Peeters

Cameron said West Indies players were "comparatively well-paid", though their match fees and contracts were only a fraction of what Australia's elite earn.

The Windies are particularly vulnerable to losing their best players to the massive sums of cash on offer on the Twenty20 circuit.

This was poignantly illustrated this summer as their inexperienced team was no match for Australia while the likes of Chris Gayle, Dwayne Bravo and Andre Russell starred in the Big Bash.

Gayle's return to the Test side hinges on his participation in the region's four-day competition though it remains to be seen if the explosive batsman will turn his back on Twenty20 dollars to do so. Lloyd does not begrudge the players' right to shore up their financial futures but is critical of a pay structure that does not sufficiently reward international representation.

"I think that if you're a young person that's your dream to play Test cricket for your country. Money is a subsidiary of success," Lloyd said. "The point is if you do well you're going to be offered certain things and we have to have contracts so we can keep our players. Unfortunately other countries' players are still playing for their country, they still want to play for their country. That is the problem that we have. Our guys are moving away from playing for their country so we've got to fill that gap. I think this T20 competition has probably decimated our cricket."

Lloyd said the WICB's power had diminished now the team was no longer world champion. It was reflected in their Australian tour schedule that gave them only one tour match to acclimatise to local conditions. The blame for the fixture, he said, was with both the West Indies and Australian boards. "We've travelled 12,000 miles and it's different here," Lloyd said. "We have jet lag, there's the heat, hardness of the grounds, it's just getting accustomed to a lot of things and two four-day games would probably have put us in good stead."

Lloyd called for a fairer distribution of money from the ICC rather than a model that favoured the so-called Big Three of India, England and Australia.

"You can't have three countries doing extremely well and then the rest are not getting a fair whack," Lloyd said.

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