Wes Hall - Peacemaker?
Tue, Mar 25, '03
Is there a cold war raging within the West Indies Cricket Board?
Ever since WICB President Wes Hall stepped in to overrule team management's decision to send Marlon Samuels home from India for breach of discipline it has seemed more and more that the WICB is a body at war with itself.
That incident, which brought Wes Hall under fire for not supporting the generals in the field, was an early indication of a possible rift between the chairman of selectors, Sir Viv Richards, and other WICB officials.
At the time it seemed that Wes Hall was simply trying to sweep more dirt under the carpet rather than publicly admit that indiscipline is a problem in the West Indies team. Since then, events have instead cast Rev Hall as a weak administrator who is simply trying to please everyone and pour oil on troubled waters.
The Samuels incident in India is an interesting case. Insiders say that Richards was the central figure in the team management's decision to expel Samuels after (twice) seeing him at the hotel bar long after curfew. It was Richards, according to these sources, who wrote up the complaint and strongly pushed for Samuels' expulson. Then, Hall stepped in and overruled the move, and embarked on a media offensive to draw fire away from the situation that was brewing.
Next we had an episode before the World Cup where Richards was disinterested in what Dr Mansingh had to say and stood firm on his "100 percent fit" rule for players. After that, Wes Hall again took the lead to have Samuels get a second (and third) medical opinion and added to the squad, against the wishes of the chief selector.
Now, rumours are surfacing that Viv Richards' current attempts to push for Carl Hooper to retain the captaincy are being met with stiff opposition from the chief decision makers at WICB -- the 12 WICB directors. The word around town is that Guyana and Wes Hall support Viv's pro-Hooper stance while Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago are opposed to the 36-year-old Guyanese getting another term.
Meanwhile, there are rumblings that Carl Hooper has made it known that the preponderance of Jamaicans in the team has hurt team chemistry and has expressed this openly at team meetings. It is said that the young Jamaicans are forming a clique and that team manager Ricky Skerritt has gone so far as to demand they not be seen together publicly. If in fact the Hooper/Richards coalition is against the inclusion of some of the young Jamaicans for this or other reasons, it would go a long way in explaining what is going on.
In the middle of this, the WICB chief appears to be desperate to maintain the facade of unanimity within board.
What is far more important than the appearance of unanimity is a reality of a common goal. As long as there exist factions carrying with their own agendas, there will be discord and disunity and nothing useful will be accomplished. Perhaps it is because so much energy is being expended in political infighting that the WICB is seen as flailing around helplessly when it comes to the important business of administering cricket in the region.
Perhaps if the West Indies Cricket Board were a little more transparent in the way they conducted their business, and a little more forthcoming with some truths, then all the conjecture surrounding these and other events could be replaced by simple statements of fact.
Over to you, Rev.