Tue | Oct 3, 2023

Why keep Holding out?

Published:Sunday | June 7, 2015 | 12:00 AMGordon Robinson, Contributor
Michael Holding

Which sporting association, including FIFA, suffers as chronically from maladministration as the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB)?

Pundits expressed shock when Sepp Blatter, whose name alone conjures images of urological accidents, was re-elected amid allegations of FIFA corruption. What's new? Nobody alleges WICB is corrupt, but Dave Cameron was recently re-elected after presiding over WI cricket's biggest calamity that could cost WICB US$40 million.

Where was Cameron when the Indian catastrophe was brewing? Not in India. Apparently, he'd no desire to be Johnny-on-the-spot warding off an emerging crisis. Afterwards, as I stated in my column, 'That's Just Not Cricket, WICB (Sunday Gleaner, January 4, 2015), WICB failed to act sensibly, neither applying consistent disciplinary sanctions nor forgiving across the board in a sincere 'no-victimisation policy'. I concluded:

"It's time we stop this reactionary, Dark Ages approach to cricket administration ... .

... A professional approach must be taken by everybody from WICB down. It has to begin with WICB's structure, which encourages and promotes amateurism and insularity to the exclusion of professionalism ... ."

But, the region's governing bodies don't want change. Joel Garner's presidential challenge prospered only briefly before being strangled. The JCA's decision that anybody was preferred to Cameron was overruled by the membership. Blatter and Cameron were re-elected by landslides.

NOTHING has changed in WI cricket. I recall, in 2013, when my alter ego, The Terrible Tout, co-hosted Saturday Afternoon Live on radio, he announced that the great Michael Holding had been excluded from commentary on an upcoming home series. Nobody in officialdom contradicted Touty. This created a stir but fell from the public radar after the prescribed nine days.

Two weeks ago, at UWI's Cave Hill campus, President Dave belatedly informed cricket fans that WICB hadn't banned Michael Holding from television commentary. He was quoted in Barbados Today as follows: "... The issue we have with Mr Holding is that our season runs counter to the [UK] season, and whenever we ask him to do commentary, he's always working with SKY back in the UK."

Surely, he jests. Why didn't he correct The Terrible Tout in 2013? Barbados Today quoted Mikey's response as follows:

"... How come after being contracted by SKY since 1998 and working on cricket in the Caribbean since [then] until 2012, all of a sudden my commitments to SKY started preventing me from doing cricket in the Caribbean?

"... Furthermore, England were just in the Caribbean playing against the West Indies. Was I committed to some other England team that I wasn't out there working on that series?

"Since the new production company took over WI cricket, I was never asked to work on any cricket out there, so I could never have said I wasn't available ... ."

synonymous with corruption

FIFA has become synonymous with corruption, so much so that one can easily imagine Mafia bosses holding emergency meetings to discuss how to incorporate football into the families' business. On the other hand, WICB is synonymous with ineptitude. For example, WICB waits until Shivnarine Chanderpaul's selection to the team can't be justified before telling him it's time to go.

Put your sweet lips a little closer to the phone.

Let's pretend that we're together all alone.

I'll tell the man to turn the juke box way down low

And you can tell your friend there with you he'll have to go.

Chanderpaul is 40+. He should've been sensitised two years ago to recognise when his time came and be prepared for retirement, regardless of unachieved goals. Instead, he's told at a moment's notice to retire or be dropped.

Whisper to me; tell me do you love me true

Or is he holding you the way I do.

Though love is blind make up your mind,

I've got to know.

Should I hang up or will you tell him he'll have to go."

Jim Reeves was my father's favourite singer. He'll have to Go, featuring Floyd Cramer (my favourite pop pianist), became a huge hit for Jim in 1960 and remains one of country music's most popular songs.

Songwriters Joe and Audrey Allison were inspired by their difficulty communicating over the telephone because of Audrey's soft voice. Hence "Put your sweet lips a little closer to the phone". Who knows who sang the original recording (no Googling)?

At least Shiv was told he'd have to go. Mikey was simply trashed. Proving it can't run a cold-supper shop much less regional cricket, WICB justifies that appalling mistreatment by pretending it didn't happen.

A re-elected Blatter resigned within a week. Cameron next?

Peace and love.

- Gordon Robinson is an attorney-at-law. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com.