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Monday 22 April 2019
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Taking the new ball

THE CHANGE of leadership of Cricket West Indies (CWI) may have come as a surprise to many, but in many respects it was inevitable. Acrimony between administrators and players, a stormy relationship with key stakeholders such as regional leaders, and a failure to push the game to new audiences – all effectively meant the writing was on the wall for the Dave Cameron slate this weekend. Yet both the incoming and outgoing presidents set the right tone after the results of this weekend’s elections became known.

“We pledge to work for improvement on and off the field for West Indies cricket,” said Richard “Ricky” Skerritt graciously after defeating Cameron at the Pegasus Hotel in Kingston, Jamaica.
Even Cameron, who had been so confident of victory that he reportedly declined to campaign for the post, was relatively sanguine.

“Just to say thanks for the opportunity to serve West Indies cricket,” Cameron said on Twitter. “I remain committed to serve in the region. #TrustTheProcess.” It comes like taking the new ball which, on the field of play, could be quite productive, depending of course on which end of the pitch one is standing.

Skerritt’s campaign was built on repairing player relations and improving the economic status of the game regionally. Neither will be an easy task. The new president will be well advised to draw upon the talents of those who backed him: Sir Viv Richards, Darren Sammy, Roger Harper, Deryck Murray, Clive Lloyd and Sir Andy Roberts. Cameron has served the regional body for 17 years and should be thanked for his service. It is hoped he, too, will be at Skerritt’s disposal.
Skerritt’s election will hopefully mark the start of a new chapter in regional cricket. But for that to be, there must be a commitment to real change. A major issue that must be resolved is the thorny legal question that bedeviled the organisation and arguably stymied its ability to move forward. The question of how much say regional leaders should have in cricket was one that forced various camps to adopt contentious relationships. Instead of stakeholder co-operation there was tension. Will that now change?

Change itself is a good thing for the game and it is hoped Skerritt’s vision will restore morale in a way that will mend divisions that festered for too long among players and administrators. The new team will also have to heed the call of Sir Hilary Beckles for more accountability and all will be looking to see whether Skerritt’s leadership style opens the doors.

The recent performance of the West Indies team in the one-day international series against England was in many respects symptomatic of the overall state of the game. The 2-2 draw showed signs of revitalisation. While this was enough to halt the adversity, we hope Skerritt will have a plan to push this further.

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