THE horrendous treatment of the National Under-15 cricketers has once again brought to the fore the vexed issue of accountability in sports administration.
As so often manifests in the Jamaican society, our leaders tend to promise much when seeking the job, but offer far less once they have secured it.
Local cricket association boss Mr Lyndel Wright, a former Jamaican cricketer and successful manager with a solid reputation, exuded supreme confidence in his team early last year, a few days prior to assuming the reins of the Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA) from Mr Paul Campbell.
He told this newspaper then, that: “I’m very confident in my team, because they are all men who have given great effort and have made sacrifices for the development of cricket. Our focus is to restore and empower effective cricket management in Jamaica.”
Well, a mere four days before the National Under-15 cricketers were to depart the island for St Kitts to defend their regional title, Mr Wright confirmed that his association had overlooked a vital amendment in the competition’s playing conditions which ruled 12 members of the 14-strong squad ineligible.
Mr Wright told reporters that the “error was made by the JCA”, since the regional governing body, the West Indies Cricket Board, had given written notice of the change three months ago.
Said Mr Wright: “An error was made by the JCA because we received information in May of this year in terms of the age-group limit (but)... players were selected who were beyond the age limit.”
This sloppiness, we submit, bodes badly for effective cricket management in Jamaica. We will not dwell on it, but feel compelled to remind our readers that it was this same administration which last year made such an embarrassing mess in the naming of stands at Sabina Park, the nation’s headquarters of cricket.
Ironically, Jamaica’s national cricket teams have enjoyed unheard of success in recent years. Earlier this year, the senior team won an unprecedented fifth straight regional first class title and only last week the Under-17s swept all before them in the regional tournament in Trinidad and Tobago.
Ultimately, however, the inefficiency we have seen from our administrators will, if allowed to continue, undermine the performances on the field.
In this latest case of extraordinary slackness, youngsters have been prepared to represent their country, only to have their dreams unceremoniously dashed through no fault of theirs.
There can be no excuse for this bungling of a simple change to the playing conditions. The JCA Secretariat should have had little difficulty disseminating the information to the relevant authorities, including the selectors.
But having expertly covered themselves in shame, the JCA have gone about piecing together a makeshift squad that is scheduled to depart the island tomorrow for the tournament.
We note and admire the optimistic tone struck by coach Mr Terrence Corke, despite the obvious struggle to match the many new faces with a name.
“It’s a challenge, yes, but we (technical staff) can’t look at it that way. We have to do our best to get them ready,” Mr Corke said.
Whether these youngsters succeed or fail in St Kitts, we think it reasonable to remind Mr Wright that it simply can’t be business as usual. Those responsible for this mess should pay the price.
Accountability must stand for something.