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WICB’s Drama Better Than TV’s Best

By Orin Davidson
West Indies cricket is creating so much drama these days, it seems the Young and Restless is in danger of losing fans to the antics being played out by Ken Gordon and his supporting cast at the WICB.

When he took office more than a year ago, the West Indies Cricket Board president promised action, but in the blink of an eye, he is outdoing even Arnold Schwarzenegger in equal doses of good and bad.

Gordon was never known as a politician in Trinidad and Tobago before taking office, but would make a lousy one now if his handling of the Board’s blunders is any yardstick to go by.

He seems to want to carry the weight of almost all the WICB’s workload on his narrow shoulders and has made a mess of all the cock-ups that resulted.

Although Gordon’s tenure has made some difference for the good of West Indies cricket, too many lapses continue to make the Board look bad to the cricket world.

His fallout with 20/20 innovator Allen Stanford is the worst of all his misgivings and it now paints Gordon as an individual who speaks from both sides of his mouth.

It all began when the WICB failed to act early with the Pakistan Board on Stanford’s request for the November 10 date to stage his US$5M Stanford series finale between West Indies and South Africa.

Because of the resulting chaos with the Pakistan tour, Gordon took it upon himself to rule out the one-off game without making it seem his sole decision and not acknowledging his organization’s bungling of the entire issue.

It explains the travesty that resulted when the Pakistan Board eventually adjusted the itinerary to make way for the game, immediately after Stanford cancelled it.

At that stage it was clear Gordon had rendered the game non existent when he wrote
Stanford, claiming Pakistan was not prepared to adjust its dates, without waiting to have the final word on efforts to make the change a reality.

In misleading Stanford and the West Indies public, Gordon proved his words must be taken with a pinch of salt.

He gave a hint of his dubious character by citing Brian Lara’s objection to the early West Indies team selection to accommodate a proposed Stanford 2nd XI for the clash, one day then next day having the Board say, it was selection chairman Gordon Greenidge’s decision.

It led to the straight talking Michael Holding informing West Indians exactly what they can expect from Gordon while disassociating himself from West Indies cricket development when tendering his resignation from the Board’s cricket development committee.

“Too many questions have been asked about what he (Gordon) has said and what is actually the case. It would be great if that man was no longer around. I would get more involved, and more formally involved, officially involved.” Holding reportedly stated after severing ties with the Board.

Holding felt the Committee was overlooked when no one consulted them on the issue of selecting the team early or not for the Pakistan tour.

But even if he is right or wrong, which Clive Lloyd seems to feel, Holding would’ve known that Gordon’s proclamation of the Committee’s high authority was early evidence of lip service.

The issue of Lara’s controversial re-appointment as captain by Gordon was certainly one for the Committee to gripe about. At the time no one complained, but it must have been stoking the flames of Holding’s anger.

The latest episode followed in the wake of the many empty promises Gordon made to resolve the retainer contract issues with the West Indies Players Association, before it was eventually sorted out almost eight months after the first one was made.

And the status of the Committee is an indication the Board is not taking it seriously.

Because it is a shame the terms of reference are not clear as Holding seems to have one view and Chairman Lloyd another.

For his part Lloyd is displaying great patience with the Board, because for him to publicly disagree with Holding, someone who he has stood up for throughout their playing careers is saying a lot..

It will be remembered the former captain also resigned from Stanford’s Legends Board in support of the WICB.

To his credit though, Gordon has made a positive difference in some areas that helped
plunge the Board’s operations into decline.

He got rid of the counter productive CEO Roger Braithwaite and trimmed the spending spree to a minimum.

And from all appearances he is developing solid links with the wealthy India Board that will already see the WICB raking in a minimum of US$2M or a maximum of US$3M from the Tri Nation series, staged by that country’s ruling body.

And of late Gordon has said all outstanding issues, that has so scarred West Indies cricket with the Players Association have been resolved

But the new President seems to be the domineering type which obviously will not work.

When he assumed the Presidency he also forced his way intro the Chairmanship of the World Cup organizing committee that was vacant at the time.

Then, complaints were made by the Guyana Board president of his lack of consultation with the directors.

Also it’s been several months Gordon has been wearing the hat of CEO without much effort made to fill the position.

By now he should realize no one-man army can carry West Indies cricket to the promised land. Because embarrassment like the absurd late captaincy notification of Lara this year will continue along with the likes of the Stanford fallout among others.
With the World Cup on the horizon, Gordon’s West Indies Cricket Board cannot afford to continue getting burn by its own hands, because after April 2007 only their ashes might be left to mull over.
Orin Davidson Column Homepage


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