Sports

Dave Cameron – The Real Success Behind West Indies Cricket

By Steve Brown

Thursday, February 21, 2019

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The glory days of West Indies cricket were not attained by sudden flight. The downfall of our cricket never happened overnight. The success that has been ongoing in recent times to include the just ended Test series against England is not something we wake up to one morning and saw happening out of nowhere.

When Dave Cameron was elected to lead the regional board on March 27, 2013 in Barbados, he did not take over with a promise to possess the panacea for the malady affecting every aspect of West Indies cricket, neither was there any inkling he was the geometric shrewdness by which the standard of astute leadership is measured.

One thing is for certain, at that time West Indies cricket needed a different type of leadership, particularly one that is geared at steering the cricket in a direction that will bring joy and return it to the unifying force of the region. At the time when Cameron took charge of our cricket, it was obvious that insularity had replaced regionalism.

Let us not fool ourselves, we are nowhere near the glory days of West Indies cricket when talent was abound, commitment was the order of the day and the wearing of the Caribbean crest was the dream of every young boy playing cricket in the streets or in their backyards.

It is without debate, the measures implemented under the watch of Cameron — who continues to see cricket as a business — have helped to propel West Indies cricket forward.

One of the first things that Cameron did was to form a close relationship with the West Indies Players' Association (WIPA); a move he was criticised for across the region. We here in Jamaica know the devastating effects that come from acrimonious relationships between unions and employers. Anybody remembers Cremo and the Good Year Tyre Factory in St Thomas?

WIPA was the de facto enemy of West Indies cricket and its development in the era preceding Cameron. However, WIPA, under the leadership of Wavell Hinds and Michael Hall, was able to work with Cricket West Indies in forging close working relations which saw the removal of the contentious and high-funding lawsuits.

During those days, 15 players, most of whom had multimillion-dollars contracts with T20 teams around the world, were getting 70 per cent of all the money allotted to run West Indies cricket. The remaining 30 per cent was used to pay the women cricketers US$10 per day (when playing), run regional competitions and conduct the other affairs of West Indies cricket.

Today, Cricket West Indies have 30 contracted players, including women, and up to 120 regionally contracted players. Plus, there are some paid on a pay-as-you-play basis. We all know that since the money is being shared with some degree of equity, a number of senior players have resigned from WIPA.

The region also witnessed the reformation of domestic cricket to 10 rounds of the four-day format as well as the high performance programme via the franchise system.

The Cameron-led Cricket West Indies also made very tough and at the time unpopular decisions to make players become more accountable with their fitness programmes and at the same time holding all stakeholders accountable.

It is no coincidence, up to recently, we simultaneously held the Women's and Men's T20 World Cup and Under-19 World Cup. This could only be done through hard work from behind the scenes.

Another success for the region and Cricket West Indies was the recent hosting of the Women's T20 World Cup. Despite some inexplicable and unaccepted reasons for the Jamaica Cricket Association being unable to host any of the games, the crowd support in the other territories, especially when the West Indies Women were playing, was phenomenal.

We certainly will not be able to dominate the game as we did during the Clive Lloyd era, mainly because the talent is not there. We, however, have the talent to be competitive at every level of the game and in every format.

Leadership is key to success in every aspect of life and is not a popularity contest. The modernisation of cricket needs modern leadership. The mantra of Cameron has always been looking at cricket as a business. There is still work to be done and we should not get carried away by the success that we are enjoying now.

Cameron is not without criticism, his handling and public criticisms of some senior players have not gone unnoticed. He has however, brought a style of leadership to West Indies Cricket that has come for such a time as this.


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