Story By: Antigua Observer
Former West Indies captain and one of the two living national heroes in Antigua & Barbuda, SirVivian Richards has called for the resignation of those charged with administering cricket at the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) level.
The batting legend, who captained the West Indies in 50 Test matches from 1984 to 1991, made the call after triumphant T20 skipper, Darren Sammy, took aim at the WICB over their lack of support for the team during the recent tournament in India.
“I don’t think Sammy would be a liar; I think Sammy is as honest as they come so it is going to be quite interesting, going forward, to see and to hear exactly what comes from the board,” he said.
The West Indies went into the last over against England on Sunday needing an unlikely 19 against the bowling of Ben Stokes.
Carlos Brathwaite hit four consecutive sixes as the West Indies became the first team to win the World Twenty20 Championship twice.
But the victory over England at Eden Gardens was marred when a long-running spat between players and the board erupted into public when Sammy vented months — possibly years — of frustration with the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) in a post-match interview.
Referring to a lengthy and bitter pay dispute that had put their World Twenty20 participation in doubt, the all-rounder said his team felt “disrespected by our board”.
Sir Viv commended Sammy for his bravery.
“Sammy did what he had to do. It was on his mind and you could see what he said meant a lot; it came from the heart. In my mind, it looked like something planned. Anyone who knows Darren Sammy knows that he is an individual and how he would have led West Indies cricket from his very start as captain, and sees how committed he is. So I am pleased, in a big way, that he was able to get it off his chest,” Sir Viv said.
Signalling the victory as a possible resuscitator for West Indies cricket, the legendary player urged those in authority to seize the opportunity provided to unearth new talents.
“There are some hungry folks out there and especially with the excitement with what would have been created from the three versions like the Under-19, the women’s factor then the men doing what they did on Sunday. The interest would certainly be there, so we need to try and get into some areas where we haven’t tapped before to try and find some of these fast bowlers that maybe, can help to make a difference in the future. I don’t think enough of that would have been done in the past,” the former player said.
A statement released later by the board, titled ‘WICB president has high praises for World Twenty20 Organisers’ included its reaction to the entire Sammy episode.
“The president would like to apologise for what could be deemed inappropriate comments made by the West Indies’ male captain, Darren Sammy, in a post-match interview and would like to apologise on behalf of the WICB to the millions of fans who witnessed,” it read.
“… The president has pledged to inquire the reason and will have the matter addressed.”