Under-fire West Indies Cricket Board President Dave Cameron said he is sick of the West Indies’ losing and has had to make unpopular decisions to ensure that he turns around the sport that, in the Caribbean, has been languishing in mediocrity for the past two decades.
Cameron has been president of the WICB for the past three years and has, for the most part, enjoyed a good relationship with the West Indies Players’ Association, the players’ union that had been at loggerheads with the WICB for years.
However, that has not prevented the board from being at odds with the senior players, who have lambasted the president at every turn, even after the team won the ICC Twenty20 World Cup in India on Sunday.
Prior to the World T20, the players were involved in another pay dispute over what they said was an 80 per cent pay cut when compared to the World Cup in 2012.
In recent days, T20 Captain Darren Sammy and all-rounder Dwayne Bravo have leveled disparaging remarks at the board president, with the latter describing him as immature and arrogant.
Cameron has also had to deal with the players abandoning a tour of India in 2014 that resulted in the BCCI issuing a US$42-million claim on the near-bankrupt WICB. That matter has now been resolved but the president now faces a move from CARICOM heads of state to dissolve the WICB, claiming that the time had come to ‘save West Indies cricket’.
Through it all, the president has said he remains committed.
“I want to bring a different mindset to the leadership of West Indies cricket, in that my objective is not to be the president but to make West Indies cricket better,” Cameron told espncricinfo.com.
“And that is why some of my decisions are a little unpopular because it is about turning around our sport, something that means so much to the West Indies civilization.”
The West Indies’ fall from the pinnacle of world cricket has been long and hard and dotted with several flashpoints that have continued to strain the relationship between the senior players and the WICB.
Recently, the majority of these clashes have had to do with money that has been diverted from the senior players who play professionally in the T20 leagues across the world.
That money is now being used to run the Professional Cricket League and pay more than 90 players across the region’s salaries ranging from US$15,000 to about US$30,000 to play cricket full time in the hope that great players will emerge.
“We have been very bad for a very long time. If you know history, it always shows that somebody needs to take a firm grip, make some very dramatic changes and then we will start to see the changes from there,” Cameron said in the interview.
“Unfortunately, we have been putting band-aids on the issues over the years without really addressing them and restructuring the game. We have done that. That is my proudest moment. It has caused the issues in India. Very unfortunate, and we continue to be disappointed about the way that turned out, but again, the programme was all rolled out and agreed prior to the India tour. What we didn’t do, the step that we did not have covered, was to sit with our players and be able to explain exactly how it would have been done.”