Much more than a name change needed for WI cricketSaturday, June 03, 2017
Many Caribbean cricket followers are asking, ' w hat's in a name?' following official confirmation that the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) has been rebranded as Cricket West Indies.
Chief executive officer of the administrative body, Mr Johnny Grave, explains that: “Cricket West Indies better reflects how the organisation operates, as there are many different stakeholders who we work in partnership with, under the unifying aim of improving cricket at all levels within the region”.
And further that: “We plan to work even more closely with them over the next few years, and consultation will begin immediately as we develop a new strategic plan for 2018-2023.”
We hear from the much-criticised president of the West Indies Cricket Board Mr Dave Cameron that: “Whilst the board of directors has an important role, we feel that the new name is more inclusive and appropriate, as we want to recognise the valuable role that our players, territorial boards, staff, supporters, governments, coaches, match officials and volunteers, play in the organization… For Cricket West Indies to operate effectively and efficiently, we need all of our stakeholders to work in partnership and the name change is an important first step in our strategy.”
Marketers will probably argue that such has been the bad vibes associated with the administration of West Indies cricket that a name change, a rebranding, is absolutely essential if business partners are to get a sense that a change for the better beckons.
And that's the crux of the matter. Whatever the name, the management of West Indies cricket has to change from the heavy-handed, amateurish, unprofessional, unaccountable approach of the past, to one which more resembles the professional, accountable, business-like style of modern corporations.
That's an essential point made back in 2015 by the Governance Review Panel, commissioned by regional grouping, Caricom, which recommended the “immediate dissolution” of the WICB, and the instalment of an interim board, pending the establishment of an appropriate governance structure.
Years before that, others, including a committee led by former Jamaican prime minister Mr PJ Patterson had also pointed to the above shortcomings, as it too recommended radical transformation in the governance of West Indies cricket.
Mr Cameron is nothing if not tough, and he and his directors have stood firm against the radical steps which were recommended in good faith, we believe.
In large measure, Mr Cameron and his directors were bailed out by successes on the field by men's and women's Twenty20 teams at world tournaments early last year, as well as the triumph of the Under-19s at the age-group World Cup. Even fighting performances in defeat, by the youthful Test team since last year, has been seen as partial vindication of the administration's work.
Yet the relationship with elite players remains hostile and unhealthy at best, largely because of an absence of accountability and a clumsy, amateurish approach to administration exemplified by the dismissal of Mr Phil Simmons as coach and thoughtless, needless words which led to the disheartening impasse with top batsman Mr Darren Bravo. Crucially, potential business partners continue to wait and watch.
For Cricket West Indies to command credibility, respect and marketability, much more than the name will have to change.
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