One man fighting the box of frogs

What’s the difference between the West Indies Cricket Board and a box of frogs? The box of frogs make more sense.

Ho ho ho. But on a serious note, for this is a seriously crazy cricket board, there is one man desperately fighting WICB’s inadequacies on behalf of the players: Dinanath Ramnarine, president of the West Indies Players Association (WIPA). And it is a fierce, ugly battle indeed.

Making sense of all this is somewhat of a challenge – I’ve been trying for about a year, and am only halfway there – but fortunately Vaneisa Baksh has done her best in an excellent piece Cricinfo commissioned. Do give it a read.

Ramnarine does not trust the WICB, and if one were to check the record of their dealings for the past five years or so of his tenure, it is clear why. He has had little reason to, and given his prior relationship with the board and its functionaries (remember, he retired at 28, having played in 12 Tests and taken 45 wickets with some pretty good legspin) there is nothing really to suggest there will be any improvement without fundamental changes.

But despite talk by the WICB’s outgoing president, Ken Gordon, that the recently appointed Governance Committee was the most important ever established, the board is not in a hurry to institute the changes the committee has recommended – not when one of those was that the board should give way to a more representative body.

The latest slew of exchanges between the board and WIPA revealed the nature of the tension between them. Ramnarine has charged the board with reneging on terms of their MOU, particularly with regard to including WIPA in negotiations affecting players. Gordon has accused Ramnarine of basically cussing off everyone and calling them liars.

Interesting, fragile times.

Ruining it for the locals

What a World Cup is has been so far, a tournament memorable for all the wrong reasons. The gestapo-like restrictions have been mentioned before, but such incredulity needs regular airing.

Vaneisa Baksh writes:

On my bookshelf there are three or four unused tickets that will serve as my pretty World Cup souvenirs. As much as I love the game and want to support it, I couldn’t subject myself to absurd restrictions that tried to masquerade under a security umbrella.

West Indians sensed early that this World Cup cared little for their company, their culture, and ignored the realities of life in this part of the world. So they are staying away from all the grand stadia their governments have spent so much of their money to prepare. It just hasn’t been enough about West Indians; can you blame them?

It is, very nearly, a complete disaster. The only hope for the locals is if, by some strange twist of fate, West Indies make the final. They won’t, though, and the public will stay at home. That feeling of revitalisation – a spring hope that the region would be injected with cricket fever – a few weeks ago has dribbled away. This is largely due to, but not solely restricted to, the ICC’s blind greed, their suffocating marketing tactics and a complete lack of interest, or knowledge, of Caribbean culture. They have distanced the very people that should be instrumental (in every sense of the word) to the tournament’s success. That is quite some feat.

Mike King says:

Locals, alienated by the prices and culture of this global event with its Alcatraz-like policies, have stayed away from even those games featuring the home side.

Long queues for tickets and expensive food have resulted in short tempers, paltry crowds and complaints at every turn.

Prior to the tournament, organisers were boasting of sell-out grounds and marketed the event as the best World Cup ever. To say they got it wrong is an under-statement of gigantic proportions.

The ICC cannot be blamed for the cricket on show – and perhaps that, more than the event’s planning, has affected the region’s apathy. West Indies have, as we all suspected but wished wouldn’t happen, been caught short and exposed. But this tournament has been in planning for over five years. Why, then, has it been such a shambles and who will be called to account?

Brian Lara breaks Allan Border’s record

As expected, Brian Lara moved past Allan Border’s record aggregate of Test runs, and is now the leading scorer in Test history. Legend. Cricinfo have a few things on him, including Vaneisa Baksh on his odyssey; George’s list of his greatest moments and my gallery of his life.