Tony Cozier described the situation thus: For the third successive year, the costly white elephant a few miles away, along the road to nowhere, had failed in its purpose. To ease some of the unqualified shame caused by Friday’s abandonment of the second Test, the ARG was quickly remembered and spruced up.
The white lines on the outfield marking a football pitch revealed its main role now. The decrepit state of the stands told of the years of neglect since the once vibrant ground, site of more batting records than all the others in the region combined, hosted its last Test in 2006.
Wary of the potential risk to spectators – the majority English, judging by Friday’s turnout f
or the debacle at the Sir Vivian Richards Ground (SVRG) – the top deck of the popular double-decker stand will be closed.
Clearly, there is embarrassment all around. Perhaps the single most embarrassing feature of the second test fiasco is the WICB’s seemingly unfazed attitude.
Will heads roll?
No one who has followed the history of the sport of cricket in the Caribbean could expect any change in the approach usually taken by the WICB. This moribund organisation remains as fixated in the face of chronic failures one after another as it does when things are going right.
History reveals that the leaders of the sport in the region are consistent in their approach to their own shortcomings. When we sent a team with over-aged players to the Tournament in Africa some years ago, nothing happened. Not a single head rolled.
When the test match in Jamaica had to be abandoned because of gross incompetence in the 1997/8 series against England, not a single man resigned in shame or even in disgust.
When we had the fiasco in Antigua and Barbuda on two separate occasions involving the said Sir Vivian Richards playing field, no one in the WICB seemed possessive of the decency to resign.
It is therefore highly unlikely that given the latest fiasco in Antigua and Barbuda that any of the bosses would deem it sufficiently embarrassing to cause them to step down.
One wonders what kind of embarrassment it would take to force the WICB to resign.
The ultimate responsibility for the preparations for a test series rests with the WICB, not the individual Boards. How the WICB conducts its affairs in respect of the allocation of matches during a series is its own responsibility and internal affairs. As far as the International Cricket Council is concerned the series was handed to the WICB, not the individual Boards and in this sense does not have to engage in any action against any of these individual institutions. The problem therefore rests squarely on the shoulders of the WICB.
It is unfortunate that given the otherwise rich legacy of the sport of cricket in the Caribbean the leadership – the WICB – cannot wake up to the reality of just how much it has done to tarnish whatever there is good in that legacy. More than anything else the region is likely to be remembered in the sport of cricket for its capacity to embarrass the entire global cricketing fraternity and with it, the peoples of the Caribbean.
Julian Hunte should do the honourable thing and lead by example – Resign Now!