Former Windies Cricketer Slams WICB, WIPA

Hardbeatnews, NEW YORK, N.Y., Thurs. Sept. 29, 2005: Former West Indies opening batsman, Barbadian-born Carlisle Best, says both the West Indies Cricket Board and the West Indies Players Association “have failed to demonstrate their commitment to the development and good governance of cricket in the West Indies.”

Best’s comments to HBN come as WICB President Ken Gordon reiterated before the Barbados Chamber of Commerce, that the Board’s number-one priority remains resolving “the impasse, which has led to so much bitterness between the players and the WICB.”

But the former West Indies test player says both sides “have shown very little responsibility, maturity or professionalism in the conduct of the business of West Indies cricket.”

It is truly still a amateur sport for us in the Caribbean,” said Best, who played with the West Indies side from 1986-91 after debuting as a test player and slamming 86 at Sabina Park, Jamaica.

The former batsman suggests that to inorder to resolve the issue immediately, there needs to be an immediate move to bring closure to the Digicel contractual arrangement, “in a way that brings fairness, equal opportunities to all parties involved and establishes a time line for the emergence of excellence in West Indian cricket.”

And in the medium to long term, he says, there needs to be “Serious administrative and constitutional reforms, including the restructuring of the office of the WICB president, the election of the president and the role of WIPA.”

Focusing on the Lucky report and the Board’s apparent harsh criticisms of it, Best said it was “yet another self inflicted wound.”

“Although choosing to investigate itself, the Board has shown little understanding of the magnitude of its own internal discontent, inadequacies and contradictions,” said the former cricketer.

However, Gordon yesterday claimed, “not one of the recommendations (of the report) has been rejected.”

“Admittedly, the package of our response was voluminous, for we took the report seriously and all criticisms were addressed,” he aid. “But no one who reads these documents carefully can reasonably conclude that the Committee’s Report was rejected. Those who insist on saying so have either not read our response or must have their own agenda for making such a statement.”

Meanwhile, asked to look forward to the tour of Australia next month and the possibility of a winning performance, Best simply said, “The record and performance of the West Indies does not inspire confidence.”

“Whether we’ll have our best team available is another matter,” he added, in obvious reference to the current contract dispute. “My fundamental view, however, is that under the present coaching  arrangement … the technical and tactical aspects of our game can not be seen, and hence our chances of success are very slim.”

He reserved his harshest criticism for Coach Bennett, whom he said would have been ‘put down’ if he was a racehorse, given his very poor results – 3 victories in 25 international matches.

And asked whether it will be Brian Lara or Shiv Chanderpaul taking the helm as skipper of the tour, Best predicted that fans and the team will be stuck with the Guyanese-born Chanders again although he is a “very poor captain.”

But “no new leaders seem to be emerging,” said Best, adding that he thinks that Lara’s focus now is not to be caught up with the leadership problems of West Indies cricket but with trying to be the best player in the world. –