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Walk softly, Ricky

So, the journey starts for the new president of Cricket West Indies Ricky Skerritt. He’s going to find himself bombarded with advice from all quarters! He’ll have to know how to deal with this which I’m sure he can, having been a senator in the parliament of his country.

His position will assume world-wide importance if only because the past administration was so atrocious in dealing with players, the bloodline of West Indies (WI) cricket.

All and sundry would be waiting patiently to witness just how this gentleman from St Kitts is going to clean up WI cricket to the point of ensuring youth development, improved and consistent performances from happy and joyful WI cricketers, and return pride to our forces comprising managers, coaches, players, administrative staff and directors.

There are certain matters he has to get out of the way to clear the path ahead of him e.g. Phil Simmons’ contract (already dealt with), Vasbert Drakes’ legal suit for being removed from the coaching staff, the removal of Richard Pybus as temporary head coach (done), and the return of our cricketing country to ‘West Indies’ from ‘Windies’!

Skerritt has shown his gumption to tackle those miserable decisions of past president ‘Dave’ Cameron and to straighten them out immediately. He has already addressed the future of the ill-treated players and insists on changing the draconian policies of Cameron, who left them out of the circle of availability for selection to WI teams for manufactured egotistical reasons, for instance, if the player does not represent his territory regardless of the circumstances, explanations or motives, he is at once deemed persona non grata to be chosen to play for the WI.

Now, this is only the beginning for what is going to be a very long road for the Kittitian to travel with many obstacles along the way; on a collision course with those who would like him to fail. However, the majority is behind him in their optimism that he has the qualities needed at this time to rescue WI from the cliff they were heading for on the road to self-destruction!

Whether he likes it or not or whether he believes he can carry the burden, Ricky Skerritt is looked upon by those who really have WI cricket at heart as a messiah!  He has to rescue the game, its players and the unfederated West Indian nation, to mend it as a federated and united cricketing force once more.

Focus on cricket again

He’s sitting on the porch and looking down the endless road for the return of his ‘prodigal’ cricketers; treating gently with those who would not join the party like the bitter brother, always holding out a welcome mat for them.

I like what Skerritt said to the players of West Indian territories, ‘once available to play for the WI one would be considered for selection.’ Therefore, it does not matter if a cricketer misses games for his territory, once there are acceptable explanations like being involved in cricket elsewhere at the time, but importantly, they would not be banned from playing for the WI, once they announce their availability.

After all, they are West Indians, and if they are so popular all over the world WI must consider them for selection and not leave them out in the dark as if they don’t belong! They are one of us and we want exactly what the new president says, ‘the best team to represent us at all times’ – that means nobody being banned for spurious motives.

President Skerritt should weigh carefully the persons around him, those who are honest and down-to-earth, and those with nefarious purposes. I am very pleased to hear the president state that cricket is going to be the main focus.

This might sound obvious to the general public, but it hasn’t been so; the focus was on one individual believing that he had all the answers, and he expected to be obeyed or all favours and encouragement would be withdrawn.

Dictators with a high opinion of themselves who think they know what’s best for everyone under them, only tend to breed unhappy teams, which ensures a descent into the dark pool of dysfunction.

All that is done is done for the sake of the individual, to show his power over others; and in cricket where the skill is tough, the conditions are pressurised and the hours can be long, the performers must feel secure to perform well.

And that is where Cameron went wrong, thinking that his job was more important than the players’. He ought to have been looking to their needs and comforts so they can be relaxed and happy to enjoy their game. They have to play for their team in front of thousands, sometimes millions.

The players are the important people on the field while the administrators, coaches and managers are the driving force behind them. Players perform only as well as the environment laid on by the administrators. And that’s what Skerritt could give them by the grace of God!

Happy Easter, everyone!