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Mansingh resigns as CWI chief medical officer

Friday, November 24, 2017

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Cricket West Indies (CWI) Chief Medical Officer Dr Akshai Mansingh has resigned with immediate effect because of what he has described as an “untenable” working relationship with the board, mostly borne from incidents he views as obstructionist.

“More and more obstructions were being put in the way of its [the CWI medical panel's] functioning, so I felt the prudent thing to do was to resign,” said Dr Mansingh when contacted after the Jamaica Observer learned he had handed in his resignation yesterday.

This newspaper understands that the relationship between the CWI, presided over by Jamaican Whycliffe “Dave” Cameron, and some members of the medical panel has been sour for some time. However, matters came to a head when this weekend's planned conference in Trinidad and Tobago for all West Indies cricket's medical personnel was called off at the last minute.

“It was becoming untenable to work, and calling off this conference was probably the last straw,” Mansingh, an orthopaedic surgeon based in Jamaica, explained in an exclusive interview.

“With flight arrangements and hotel accommodation being made it was called off without explanation. That was reflective of difficulties some panel members were having,” the medical doctor continued.

President Cameron told the Observer yesterday that he is aware of Mansingh's resignation. However, when prompted for a comment he said: “I will not speak on the matter.”

Another Jamaican, Dr Donovan Bennett, who is chairman of the CWI medical panel, told this newspaper that more members are likely to join Mansingh.

“We have lost a very important person from the panel, and I suspect more resignations are on the way,” Bennett said.

The CWI medical panel also includes Dr Anyyl Goopesingh, Dr Renee Best, West Indies team physiotherapist CJ Clark, and team strength and conditioning trainer Ronald Rogers.

The board's Chief Executive Officer Johnny Grave, Chief Operating Officer Verlyn Faustin, and Director of Cricket James Adams are also part of the panel listed on CWI's official website.

The Observer understands that the panel's voluntary work was appreciated by most, but that there were some individuals high up the chain of command within the CWI who came across as being disrespectful at times.

One of the Observer's well-placed sources alleges that there were occasions when a specific individual formerly in charge of West Indies cricket operations arrived at medical decisions and carried them to the board without consultation with trained personnel. The source said that “things improved significantly” in recent times, but added there were “still instances of non-medical people making statements and (taking) positions without the medical panel's input”.

Mansingh, also a sports medicine physician and cricket analyst, declined comment on that specific allegation. However, he said: “I don't think they got sufficient information from the experts to make decisions and come to conclusions and, instead of directly engaging people, it seems that they were relying more on third-party information.

“In a scenario like that I don't think things can continue. West Indies cricket has a medical structure that could be considered world-class, that was in keeping with the top boards in the world.”

Another issue between the parties was alleged to centre on 29-year-old Trinidadian tear-away fast bowler Shannon Gabriel being passed fit for the summer tour of England in which West Indies lost the three-Test series 1-2. Gabriel, fresh back from injury, bowled a series of no-balls during a poor outing in a warm-up game, and was left out of the first Test which West Indies lost.

It is said that critics within the board hierarchy castigated the panel for giving the green light for the bowler to go on tour. But the panel's argument was that he was physically fit, even if not necessarily match sharp early in the tour.

He was a major reason for the Caribbean side winning the second Test to level the series. Gabriel was the West Indies' best bowler, taking six wickets in the match, even as Shai Hope and Kraigg Brathwaite grabbed most of the headlines with sublime batting efforts.

The same source said that at the last CWI board meeting Bennett was handled “disrespectfully”. The Observer understands that there were innuendos levelled at the panel, questioning the integrity of its members.

Bennett, a Jamaica Cricket Association vice-president and CWI board member, refused to comment on that alleged incident.

Mansingh, however, said: “I don't know much about what happened in the meeting, but when you're dealing with professionals you have to show a certain respect for their profession and their expertise.”

Mansingh had been between roles of chairman of the medical panel and chief medical officer for the regional board since 2003.

He was appointed head of the Faculty of Sports at The University of the West Indies, Mona, effective August 1, 2017.




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