In the Caribbean we are all too familiar with what is called the Old Boys Network. The WICB seems to have understood this and so quickly turned to the politicians to find a solution to the crisis into which it has sunk itself.
PJ Patterson is no Michael Manley. The latter was a student of the game and wrote eloquently on the subject of West Indies Cricket. Patterson does not fit in Manley’s shoes, nor for that matter does the intellectual, Alister McIntyre, another member of the WICB appointed Committee.
The Patterson Committee’s Interim Report leaves much to be desired but at the same time highlights just how archaic we are in our thinking and understanding of the role of sport in today’s world.
Among other things the Report claims, “The West Indies Cricket Board should give way to a more representative body”. There is nothing wrong with that statement in and of itself. What is wrong are the options that the Committee proposes.
Option #1 suggests that the WICB be replaced by a West Indies Cricket Commission that comprises what the politicians like to refer to as major interest groups – territorial cricket boards, players, officials, women, the Caricom, the private sector and of course that nebulous but now ever popular, civil society.
Option #2 seems just as ludicrous. It suggests that the WICB be established as a publicly listed company on the regional stock exchanges, with shareholders and directors who are accountable.
If anything the Committee’s two suggestions reflect the extent to which the members are still caught up in the old, and some may say, decadent conceptualisation of what cricket once meant to us as a people.