Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The Windies blow back

Two things.

One, the West Indies have managed to win a match. The first of the tour, I think. Playing a team that doesn’t exist in a 20-over game, they beat the PCA Masters by 56 runs. Hopefully, this should raise morale a little, and make for a more competitive one-day series.

Second, after Chris Gayle’s “disappointment” with the West Indies Cricket Board in its handling of the one-day team, the WICB has issued him with a “strongly worded” statement and a meeting with the Board’s President which couldn’t have been anything other than a bollocking.

In my list of competencies for international captaincy, I included handling of the press as a key criterion. In cabinet government, there is the concept of “collective responsibility”, that is, ministers must adhere to all decisions of the administration, regardless of whether they agree with them. I feel that the same must be true of a national cricket team.

Public spats, expressed negativity and open disgruntlement send out destabilising waves and can only serve to sap team-confidence. The WICB had to crack down on these irresponsible comments.

However, the public reprimand of Gayle also broadcasts the wrong message to the Windies’ younger players and further creates an uneasy atmosphere in the West Indian camp. Surely, a quiet word would have been more appropriate? Instead, on the WICB website, a press release talks of making Gayle aware of the “true circumstances” and declaring his conduct “totally unacceptable”.

This, as Winston Churchill would say, is a mess, stuck in a disaster, swamped in a cock-up.

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