Friday, April 12, 2024

ON THE BALL: The chain of command

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In this edition of On The Ball, NATION sports writer Justin Marville tackles the apparent micromanagement of the West Indies Cricket Board.

I DON’T WRITE on cricket.

Not usually anyway.

There’s really no need to though, not when Tony Cozier, Haydn Gill, Mike King, Ezra Stuart, Andi Thornhill, Philip Hackett, Elvis Howard et al do it oh so expertly – and willingly might I add – in these same pages.

My general greeness should also preclude me from doing such too, considering the only real cricketing experiences I can lean on never extended past my gap, a tape-ball and one generous-sized garbage bin.

I’m just not that well versed.

What I do know, though, is professional sporting franchises. That, and the fact that the current set-up of the WICB is ill-equipped to run one.

Don’t take this for yet another personal attack on president Dave Cameron and his subordinates’ shortcomings more so than a critical examination of the flawed organisational structure of the board itself.

Because the real issue is that for the number of administrative decisions (and there certainly is a lot) the board makes, not one of its 18 members is accountable to anyone.

Of course this wouldn’t be a problem if Caribbean leaders readily resigned, but hey, if over $1 million goes walking out the Central Bank and the then governor doesn’t see it fit to leave the job then you understand this isn’t par for the course in this region.

So with that in mind, one would think the Cameron and his board would act like . . . well, a board and deal with mere policymaking instead of the day-to-day administering of West Indies cricket.

It’s important because those entrusted with such administrative decisions should have to answer to a higher body, say like a board or, better yet, an owner, who can then fire said executives when things go wrong.

And the aborting of an entire tour of India while owing the sport’s richest board USD$42 million would be example A of things going wrong.

Take, for example, the Denver Broncos. In that case, Cameron and his 17 cohorts would be likened to the Pat Bowlen Trust, which owns and oversees the general direction of that NFL franchise.

Now instead of trying to make football-related decisions that he probably isn’t equipped to make, Pat Bowlen has in his employ general manager and executive vice president of football operations John Elway for such a role.

Elway, with his vast knowledge of American football, having played at the highest level for 16 years, is responsible for the everyday running of the franchise, which includes the hiring and firing of key staff like then head coach John Fox, his position coaches, scouts and equipment managers.

Fox, who is in charge of the performance of his team and assistant coaches, is accountable to Elway, who is only accountable to Bowlen and his trust.

You get the drift now?

Nowhere is the Bowlen Trust involved in the needless micromanaging of the Broncos, not when there is a chain of culpability that can see specialised employees at every single level answer for their performances or lack thereof.

But Cameron, who is similarly ill-suited to select captains, hire coaches, negotiate player contracts and avoid serious litigation, has his board’s hands dipped in everything named West Indies cricket.

When Fox failed to win a Super Bowl in his four years on the sideline, then Elway felt it necessary to go in a different direction.

And inevitably when Bowlen gets tired of the Broncos’ high turnover rate in the staff while overpaying for aging veterans then he too will go in a different direction from Elway.

How can our fortunes go in a different direction when it’s an unaccountable board that makes every decision?

It’s not like they don’t have the respective staff in place to relieve them off such duties either.

Michael Muirhead and Richard Pybus, who should combine to play Elway’s roles, are currently paid to be the chief executive officer and the director of cricket, respectively.

Yet Muirhead’s name is hardly a known one across the region as he functions as nothing more than a glorified administrative assistant or office manager at best.

Pybus could as well be a high-priced consultant considering he merely advises the board and doesn’t have the final say on any cricketing matters.

Heck, is Clive Lloyd even totally responsible for team selection?

Maybe there’s no need for Cozier, Gill, King, Stuart or Thornhill either.

Even if I don’t usually write on cricket.

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