Baugh mess does not look or smell good
I do not have a personal relationship with Mr Carlton Baugh Jnr, national cricket representative, or Mr Wavell Hinds, the newly appointed chairman of selectors. In fact, I don't personally know or consort with any of the cricket players or management members currently preparing for national duties in 2014.
Having stated my independence from any person currently involved with Jamaica's cricket, I am more than concerned, perturbed would be a better word, with recent developments regarding the position of Mr Baugh and his disagreement with cricket authorities. My comments are therefore based primarily on reports printed in this newspaper.
Unless the rules of engagement have changed, this should never be the case. Accepted protocol established over long years in cricket is that selectors have the duty of picking a side with the normal inputs of the coach and the captain. Selectors, chairman or otherwise, have no responsibility for the daily or overall management of players. As far as I know, selectors are chosen as an independent body, to go to matches, watch the talent on display and then choose a side to best represent the country. If this position has changed, newly elected president of the Jamaica Cricket Association, Wilford 'Billy' Heaven and his team need to inform the nation as this would be a radical departure from accepted norms, and while there is nothing wrong with such a change, it has to be communicated.
If the Jamaican situation stands as per protocol, Mr Hinds must be careful not to be involved in issues which overstep his boundaries as a selector, more so, the chairman of the panel. But the present impasse as reported by the Observer goes far beyond Mr Hinds's role as the chairman of selectors.
There is a duplicity and possible conflict of functions or positions involving Mr Hinds, who is also the president of the West Indies Players Association (WIPA), the regional representational body for cricket players. As head of this union, and yes, WIPA in my estimation, is nothing but a trade union, Hinds is supposed to protect players' rights and if there are any disagreements with management, country or regional, he acts on their behalf. This fundamental principle of trade unionism is impaired if one of the trade union's bosses decides to hold management office on the other side. Simply put, Mr Hinds as WIPA president — yes, Mr Hinds for chairman of selection panel — yes, but only if he does not participate in the management of cricketers and this should be made clear by the JCA in writing signed by both parties.
I believe Mr Hinds is of sufficient integrity to fill these roles with aplomb and with the best interest of the country's cricket development. What I am concerned about is his possible overstepping of established lines. Mr Hinds must play along the carpet, always straight between mid-on and mid-off and not to hit sixes over the boundary line as this is not a T-20 encounter but the lives of talented young men.
Of course, as a responsible leader, he must of necessity insist that all WIPA members play by the rules and are not involved in misbehaviour of any kind. If players breach the rules, WIPA, as an accountable organisation, has to deal with such issues by reprimand or persuasion. It is a ball with an equal amount of shine on both sides, and any tampering is to be rebuked.
There was a disciplinary hearing of the Baugh case on Friday last by the JCA where another anomaly found expression. Baugh was represented by Mr Michael Hall, who has inter alia acted as a consultant on behalf of WIPA. While I would not for one moment tell or even suggest to Mr Baugh who to choose as his representative for such a hearing, it becomes quite unwieldy to have a dispute, again as reported by this paper, involving the possible involvement of the WIPA president and the renowned and well respected WIPA consultant.
It just does not look or smell good.