Empowered by their stunning triumph in the World T20, a few West Indies players have continued to air their dissatisfaction with their cricket board. In the aftermath of Darren Sammy’s emotional outburst to Nasser Hussien and to the world immediately after their victory over England, Chris Gayle took to social media to voice his support for his captain, while Dwayne Bravo has done the same during a television interview.
Speaking on CNC3 television in Trinidad to Morning Brew host Hema Ramkissoon via Skype from Mumbai, the all-rounder didn’t shy away from criticizing the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) and it’s president. It is difficult to recall another player carping his board so extensively.
Asked if he was surprised by what his captain said, Bravo had a whole lot to say: “No, I was not surprised. I think we’ve had enough as players,” the all rounder said on Tuesday (April 5). “Too much times a lot of people come down on the players. They question our commitment, they question whether we’re really committed to West Indies cricket or is it just the money?
“A lot of people don’t understand the kind of things we go through as players dealing with our board, and I think it’s the most unprofessional board in the world, and I think Sammy spoke from his heart.”
Bravo backed up Sammy’s complaints about the problems with uniforms; that the manager had to leave their training camp in Dubai early for India in order to get names and numbers printed on the teams uniforms. “If you realize,” he said, “we played the entire tournament without caps.”
The Trinidadian spoke repeatedly about the incompetence and arrogance of those in charge of Caribbean cricket, but the West Indies Players Association (WIPA) was not spared either. “While we were in camp in Dubai we had problems with our contracts and they informed the selectors that there’s going to be another strike instead of trying to negotiate with the players as we already told the board we do not want our players association to negotiate on our behalf.”
“Out of the fifteen guys that came to India there’s only one player that was a member of WIPA. So WIPA does not have the right to negotiate on the team’s behalf, and yet the board continues to negotiate with WIPA for whatever reason. And there’ll always be problems with our contracts because at the end of the day we are not happy with what we are getting as players. We are ranked the number one team and it’s just a matter of respect and communication and the board refused to listen to what we have to say.”
Sammy had expressed his disappointment of not even being congratulated by the board during the tournament. Bravo reemphasized that shortcoming by the authorities, and accused them of not believing in the abilities of their own players. He decried the way West Indies cricket is being governed and expressed support for the efforts of Caribbean leaders’ attempts to effect change.
Bravo offered that he wouldn’t be surprised if the board sought to reprimand Sammy and reminded the public that himself and Pollard were “blatantly victimized” after the fiasco in India two years ago. In ripping the board he paid special attention to the president, Dave Cameron. “They are very small-minded people, especially the president.” He went on, “the cricket is being run by people who do have the interest of West Indies cricket at heart.”
Going farther, Bravo lamented the parlous state of West Indies cricket despite recent successes on the field. “Yes we won the World Cup. Yes we won the women’s World Cup and we won the Under-19 World Cup (but) that doesn’t say our cricket is in good hands. It’s not. And we need help, and the board needs to answer for the things that they have been doing.”
“To me and for us as players there’s still a lot more to offer to cricket. We can achieve things if we unify but we keep fighting among ourselves. In spite of the obstacles and all the challenges, if those in charge are really serious about our cricket they will sit down and figure out how to move forward.”
“It’s been going on for two years now since the tour of India, and yet someone (Bravo) who was the captain on that tour, I am yet to have a meeting with any WICB member pertaining to what took place at all, which means they are not interested in improving things.”
Bravo also felt the need to take on the issue of increased remuneration for the female cricketers, since no one, he says, is willing to fight for them. “The players association has no interest in the women’s team.”
In signing off he thanked the people of Trinidad and Tobago and the wider Caribbean for their support. “The World Cup is for the people of the region. And thanks for all the love for the song Champion.”