Former president of Cricket West Indies (CWI) Dave Cameron has threatened legal action against the regional governing body unless it hands over a copy of an audit report critical of his period in office.

The audit, requested by Cameron's successor and conducted by external and independent auditors Pannell Kerr Foster (PKF) raised concerns about an inadequate accounting system that enabled abuses to go unreported and posed a threat to "the board's long-term sustainability."

The audit report singled out Cameron for criticism several times.  The Jamaican was president of CWI (previously WICB) from March 2013 until March 2019. Cameron was defeated during a re-election attempt by current president, Ricky Skerritt.

Cameron said he first became aware of the report when contacted for comment by ESPNcricinfo in April.

The businessman is demanding that he is provided with a copy of the audit report from CWI within 48 hours in order to "respond fully" to the "allegations made by PKF."

A letter from Cameron's attorneys stated "our client maintains that he has serious concerns about the credibility of this report, which involved the Chairman of the Audit and Risk Committee selected and/or appointed by the President or Board.

"In the circumstances, and having regard to the basic principles of fairness and the right of our client to protect his reputation, our client demands, without prejudice to any rights he may now have, a full copy of this report within 48 hours, and the right to respond fully to all of the questions, comments or allegations made by PKF, and statements made by Mr Holding and the President within 21 days.

"Should CWI whether by way of the Board or management or otherwise seek in the meantime to publish the report, or refuse to meet our client's demands for a copy of the report and time to respond, our client will have no alternative but to seek the appropriate orders and remedies from the High Court."

It has been reported that the letter from Cameron's attorneys was received on Monday.

Extracts from the audit report appeared in publications across the region.

West Indies fast-bowling legend and cricket commentator Michael Holding alluded to a couple of sections - though he has not mentioned Cameron. 

Ricky Skerritt, the current CWI president, acknowledged in a media statement that the report "uncovered some illustrations of questionable executive standards and practices." 

Cameron's attorneys further stated that "the President's statement and especially the use of the word "uncovered" carries the imputation that PKF uncovered previously hidden and unknown material, which justified or warranted the making of serious questions, comments or allegations directed at or against our client as the President of CWI.

"There is no question that Mr Holding believed that the contents of one part of this PKF report raised the real prospect that the offence of money-laundering either occurred, or may have occurred, and/or exposed CWI to the risk of involvement in money-laundering. At all material times, our client was the President of CWI. These allegations have now gone viral throughout the region and elsewhere.

"As indicated above, our client has not seen the report, nor has he been given any opportunity to respond to it, either by PKF or CWI. In fact, at no time did PKF seek to ascertain any fact or comment from him. However, the report or parts thereof were made known to ESPNCricinfo and Mr Holding."

Leeward Islands captain Kieran Powell has been left disappointed by his non-selection to the provisional 29-man squad for the West Indies tour of England which looks set to go ahead this summer.

Cricket West Indies announced the squad recently in lieu of agreements with the England and Wales Cricket Board about a tour that was scheduled for June but has now been postponed amid plans to make it safe despite the worldwide spread of COVID-19.

The squad had seen the return of pacer Shannon Gabriel, spinner Veerasammy Permaul and middle-order batsman Jermaine Blackwood.

There were also some new faces to the squad like Preston McSween, Paul Palmer, Shane Mosely and Keon Harding.

Powell, who last represented the West Indies on the 2018 tour of Bangladesh, was a notable absentee.

Since Powell’s exclusion from the West Indies set-up, he has scored fairly heavily in regional cricket, a fact that has elicited surprise at his non-selection.

“I haven’t really been as productive as I would like in the four-day format but I still managed to stand out above everyone else who played in the tournament so it’s disheartening for myself to learn that I hadn’t been selected based on the volume of runs I scored,” said Powell.

Despite leading the Caribbean in the Regional Super50 competition with 524 runs last year, Powell was not selected for series against India, Ireland and Sri Lanka.

There had been reports that Powell should have been a replacement for Evin Lewis in the Sri Lanka series. Lewis had failed a fitness test but the reports are suggesting Powell also failed that test.

“I don’t mind not being selected. This is part and parcel of being in West Indies cricket. It has been here long before me and I’m pretty sure it will be long after but communication is the most important thing,” Powell said regarding the failure of the fitness test.

According to Powell, he is yet to hear from CWI what aspects of the test he failed and what he needed to work on.

“Obviously there are more factors to it, which is what I am trying to ascertain. What are those standards, so I can work on whatever I need to work on so I can get my international career back off the ground?” he said.

While not calling names or suggesting this administration inclusive of coaches and board has anything more than the best interest of cricket at heart, Powell did point out that there was a certain stigma that has made his sojourn in West Indies cricket more difficult.

“I remember a coach of the West Indies team telling me that I don’t need to play for the West Indies team because I was financially good and that I should leave it for people who aren’t financially good and I didn’t understand,” said Powell.

According to the elegant left-hander, his finances should not be used to count against him playing for the region.

“No one would look at a LeBron James or a Cristiano Ronaldo, and so many others, that based on all the investments they have that they don’t need to play anymore. Obviously, we know the history of athletes going bankrupt,” he said.

Chief of selectors, Roger Harper, asked about the exclusion of Kieron Pollard, said the issue was one based completely on cricket and that there was no personal feeling toward Powell one way or the other.

“I don’t know of any problem with Powell. When we picked our squad, we picked what we thought was the best squad for those conditions,” said Harper.

The West Indies tour of England will see them fight to retain the Wisden Trophy they took from England last year.

Germany are set to restart their Bundesliga campaign and other European countries are looking to follow suit earliest.

The England and Wales Cricket Board, Cricket Australia, are actively looking at ways to restart cricket in their countries. Cricket West Indies have said nothing, except to say salaries might be cut in the near future.

Smaller cricket nations like the West Indies and Bangladesh, as you would imagine, are closer to the ground in terms of how much of a cushion they have for (unimaginable) eventualities like COVID-19.

I can understand the region taking a hit, but what I can’t understand, is how quiet the governing body for the sport here has been.

Chief Executive Officer, Johnny Grave, has made a couple of statements, one in respect to the Women’s cricket and how precarious postponements and cancellations make the sport in the region, and another about the salaries it pays out to regional players and the potential for reduction.

I get that. I get both statements. What I haven’t heard from Grave and his president Ricky Skerritt, is what, if any, strategies are being put in place for the regional game’s recovery?

And the truth is, there may be no answer to this, however, I want to know that Cricket West Indies have not just folded their hands in a time of crisis.

I have some ideas, and they may all be terrible ideas, but at the very least, I have them.

Leaders at a time like this must show their mettle.

In Jamaica, the hardest-hit Caribbean country by COVID-19, their leaders have made public, on a day-to-day basis, their strategy for fighting the spread of the disease and strategies to help those impacted.

When schools closed, there was an immediate response, with the government posting online material for primary and secondary-level education to continue.

It is too early to tell if these things work or are working, but I see the effort.

The Heads of State in the region, brought together a team, the Committee on Governance of West Indies Cricket, commissioned a report for the running of West Indies Cricket because they had said the organization, then called the West Indies Cricket Board, had fallen away badly.

The Heads of State need to now be putting their heads together to, again, ensure the survival of West Indies Cricket, they too have been silent.

Once as a young man, I faced a gunman and I had every opportunity to make good my escape, but at the time, I had never been faced with my own mortality before and I froze.

That is not likely to happen again, because having faced my mortality, I am less afraid today.

The same should be true of West Indies Cricket and its leaders. I can understand it freezing out of fear after its calamitous free-fall over the last 25 years, but now, having begun to arrest the slide, we must be bold.

Here’s one of my ideas.

Why don’t we agree to pick a country yet to be impacted or significantly impacted by the Coronavirus, have each territory pick teams, bring those teams to that island, quarantine them for 14 days, while doing the requisite Testing, put them up in a sterile location, hotels don’t have guests these days with all the lockdowns, arrange transportation to and from a venue already made sterile, do the same with a broadcaster (say SportsMax as a shameless plug), and sell the rights to a tournament?

There is no other cricket being played anywhere, so I doubt you’ll have a problem selling the only live content out there.

Like I said, could be a bad idea and maybe I’m not taking into consideration enough variables.

However, I believe sitting on your hands during this time is worse.

For West Indies cricket to get back to being a dominant force, Chairman of selectors and former West Indies bowler, Roger Harper believes changes need to be made from the ground up.

According to Harper, all the blame for West Indies’ performance woes cannot be put at the feet of Cricket West Indies and that individual territories need to take responsibility for the cricketers they produce.

"I think a lot of buck-passing has been done. We are very proud to say when a Brian Lara is breaking all those records that he is from Trinidad but when a player is not doing well, you say what the West Indies cricket board is doing,” said Harper.

The former off-spinner who ended his career with 100 ODI wickets from 105 games and 46 Test wickets from 25 matches, believes that when the Caribbean was in its hay day, the territories were much stronger on their own.

“I think there is some inconsistency and we need to get back what we were doing in the past and take the responsibility of developing quality, world-class players," he said.

In terms of creating more world-class players, Harper believes the players in the region need to be more ambitious as well.

According to Harper, who was speaking on T&T radio station i9555, the goal shouldn’t just be to get into the senior team, but to be dominant, because without more than just a few world-class players, consistent top performances won’t exist.

“We need to have world-class players in the West Indies team. That's how our cricket and our team will get to the top, if we have a number of world-class players in the team giving us world-class performances on a consistent basis,” he said.

“[…] We have to encourage our players to do: think bigger, aim higher, think of putting in world-class performances and raise their standards to be match-winning world-class players,” said Harper.

"If you are just making 30s, and the press is slamming that he deserves a strike... I would like my job to be that I don't have to pick somebody. If you are making 30, we have a person who is making 31, then I have to decide which one to select.

"But if you are averaging in the 60s or 70s, all I have to do is write your name down, you pick yourself.

Harper said the players can compete with the rest of the world at the U19 level but then there is an issue transitioning. While the other teams have players who make the leap to the big stage.

"We have to ensure our guys can make that leap as well. A lot of it has to do with their thinking and maturity in terms of cricket. We have to help them along by developing their mental skills and tactical awareness, and help them apply their skills better."

West Indies Test captain Jason Holder has admitted that losing the captaincy of the region’s One Day International team has not been easy for him.

Holder was replaced as captain of the ODI team last September by Kieron Pollard but was retained as a player. According to the former skipper, the transition from that leadership role has been tough.

"To be quite honest, it has been tough transitioning back just as a player," Holder said on TalkSPORT recently.

According to the former skipper, first he had to contend with getting back into the team.

"In hindsight, it has been tough trying to understand how to get back in as just a player," he said.

The switch from Holder to Pollard had caught the former by surprise, learning of it during last year’s Hero Caribbean Premier League, a tournament he went on to win as captain of the Barbados Tridents.

"Yeah, it was an interesting time for me. I had found out earlier in the tournament that we have moved as one-day international captain. For me, it was just trying to win it [the CPL]," he said.

Just prior to the switch and since, Holder has not proven very effective in the ODI version of the game, but says this is not a bother for him because he is acutely aware of his own ability.

Many had suggested that Holder’s place in the team was in question and he would not be in it were he not captain.

To date, Holder has taken 136 wickets in 111 innings at an average of 36.38, but in his last eight innings with the ball, he has not been able to get near those figures.

In 10 innings prior to losing the captaincy, Holder had seven wickets at an average of 69.85, while in the eight he has played since, he has picked up six at an average of 66.16.

"Performances obviously haven't been there as I would've probably liked, but I'm not too disheartened," Holder said. "I don't beat myself up. I don't get too worried because I know my ability. I know what I can produce. I just know that an innings is around the corner, a bowling effort is around the corner."

According to the Test skipper, he may have been suffering from a bit of burnout, having played 62 matches in 2019.

"I felt I needed the break after the India series [in December] particularly, just to refresh," Holder said.

"I had played every single series in the entire year, I played county cricket as well, and my batteries needed a little bit of a recharge. Obviously, I needed some time to go and think about how I wanted to go forward as a player and try to work out again how just to be a player as opposed to being the captain."

President of Cricket West Indies, Ricky Skerritt, says despite the economic downturn from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, West Indies players on retainer will not be asked to take a pay cut just yet.

This, according to Skerritt, doesn’t mean there will be no changes because a technical committee had been vetting retainer contracts in lieu of them coming to an end in a few months.

“There has been no move in that direction at this time. We are actually in the process right now, that is the technical team is in the process of reviewing retainer contracts [because] the retainer contracts come to an end within the next couple of months. So, it is being looked at as normal, but I expect that we will have to do a bit of a check on where we are and what we can afford to do going forward,” he said in an interview with the Good Morning JoJo Sports Show in Antigua.

Skerritt’s comments do not mean that the CWI is in great financial standing despite the COVID-19 pandemic’s effects on sport worldwide, and in fact, the president has pointed to other areas where there might be an impact in short order.

“CWI is facing a rapidly changing world environment for sports and with no sports taking place, with revenues related to broadcast rights and sponsorship and so on, gate receipts, all of those revenues are important, so every sporting organisation around the world is facing issues. Those that were already facing cash flow issues or other organizational issues will just have it tougher and CWI is one of those,” said Skerritt.

English male cricketers have collectively donated £500,000, the women have agreed pay cuts for the next three months to help the English Cricket Board deal with the fallout from a lack of play, while the NBA is proposing a 50 per cent pay cut while games are suspended.

Former West Indies middle-order batsman, Ramnaresh Sarwan, has lauded Cricket West Indies President Ricky Skerritt for the work he has done since coming to the post a year ago.

According to Sarwan, Skerritt has had to make ‘hard decisions’ and he has made them.

Skerritt’s tenure as CWI president has been under scrutiny because of the stunning manner in which he ousted three-term incumbent Dave Cameron in March of 2019. “He has been doing a good job and has had to make hard decisions, and it’s good to see when you have to make harsh decisions, you make them in the right way,” said Sarwan in an interview with Kaieteur News.

According to Sarwan, Skerritt’s tenure so far has not been without its challenges but those were to be expected given the state of the CWI when he took the reins.

“When he came in it was a difficult time, not only the financial challenges they had to deal with but, so far, you got to give him the props where someone deserves props,” he said.

Sarwan, who played 87 Tests, 181 ODIs and 18 T20Is for the West Indies between 2000 and 2013, was one of the former players asked by the Skerritt administration to act as consultant to the West Indies ahead of their tour to Ireland last May.

The batsman averaged 40.01 and 42.67 in Tests and ODI’s respectively, scoring 15 centuries in the longest format of the game and five in the 50-over version.

Isolation units and Coronavirus checkpoints at cricket grounds could see the West Indies still making the trip to that country for closed-door games.

The West Indies were scheduled to start a three-Test duel with England at T/he Oval, Edgbaston, and Lord’s on June 4 until the rapid spread of COVID-19 across Europe threatened to derail those plans.

The ECB and Cricket West Indies have been trying to come up with solutions to keep what is expected to be a lucrative series alive.

According to reports, the ECB is stepping up plans to resume cricket in June, but with no spectators, but that broadcasting would still go ahead since that was safer and that is where the majority of money to be earned from the series would be in any case.

The approach, ECB Director of Special Projects, Steve Elworthy, explained that any approach involving re-starting cricket in England would mean creating a sterile environment, safe for players and staff.

The Cricket West Indies (CWI) decision to award the Regional first-class title to runaway leaders Barbados Pride in its aborted season is untidy, although widely accepted.

The Pride were dominant all season and I am quite sure they would have emerged champions in a completed 2019-20 campaign but the fact is their lead was not impregnable with two rounds remaining.

To declare the season annulled must have been a huge consideration, primarily because the championship was incomplete and an outcome contrary to the current standings was still possible, even if unlikely.

These unforeseen circumstances should now force the CWI’s competition organisers to include a section in the conditions covering an incomplete season.

With 134.8 points, the Pride were a massive 40.2 points ahead of nearest rivals T&T Red Force (94.6) after eight completed rounds with the dethroned champions Guyana Jaguars and the Jamaica Scorpions joint third on 91.8 points.

The maximum points on offer for any winning team for each round in the 10-game home and away format is 24 points, meaning the second-placed Red Force could have finished with 142.6 points after the 10 completed rounds, clearly ahead of where the Barbados Pride are now.

No one could have foreseen the dramatic turn of events in all our lives the COVID-19 Pandemic has triggered and massive decisions have had to be made.

The CWI Board of Directors “unanimously agreed” to award the Headley/Weekes Trophy to the Barbados Pride on the basis that a huge majority of the season (80%) had been completed and on projection and form it was reasonable to deduce that the Pride would have gone on to easily top the championship table. The Pride needed a mere 7.8 points from their remaining two games to secure the title and their performance curve was comfortably heading there.

Add to that, their fast-bowling battery poised to earn valuable pace-bowling points -- world-class Test bowlers Jason Holder and Kemar Roach plus Chemar Holder and Keon Harding, No.2 and No.7 respectively on the list of the championship’s most prolific wicket-takers.

The CWI would have also considered recent precedents in the issue. In New Zealand, the 26-point league-leaders Wellington Firebirds were declared winners of their National Plunket Shield with the last two rounds of the competition cancelled even though their lead was not unassailable.

New South Wales (NSW) were also given the Sheffield Shield title in Australia after the cancellation of the final also as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. NSW were declared champions after “leading the competition through nine rounds" Cricket Australia said in a statement.

The CWI’s decision to award the Pride their first title since back-to-back wins in 2013 and 2014 had “no dissenting voices” in the Board room and I have, up to this point, heard not a single complaint about the unorthodox decision.

I am eagerly awaiting the 2019-20 English Premier League football conclusion. Big leaders Liverpool are 25 points clear of nearest rivals Manchester City and need six more points to be mathematically sure of the title. The push is to have the season completed no matter what but should it happen that the season is incomplete, would they award Liverpool the title?

Boxing has some clearly defined rules regarding aborted bouts, if for instance injury – example an accidental head-butt -- terminates a world championship contest. A technical draw, a virtual no-result, if the bout is halted within the first five rounds (halfway stage) but if the bout is halted beyond the halfway stage, a winner is declared by a “technical decision” based on who is leading on the scorecards at the point of the stoppage.

There is room for a leader being awarded a victory in an aborted competition, but I am more accepting of it, if the pre-existing rules stated it.

This uncontested CWI decision to crown the Barbados Pride may have also been an example of stakeholders recognizing in these times of a sweeping worldwide pandemic taking tens of thousands of lives, that understanding and compassion are human virtues winning over fighting and quarreling, which I guess is good.

Congrats to the Barbados Pride though who are rewarded for being the undisputed best in the championship.

They stuttered in an opening-game loss to the Windward Islands Volcanoes but then reeled off five consecutive wins over the Jaguars, Scorpions and Leeward Islands Hurricanes before a revenge win in the sixth round over the Volcanoes, and, to accentuate their supremacy, lashed five-time defending champions Jaguars by a massive 235 runs to close out the shortened season.

The Barbados Pride were crowned kings of the West Indies Championship even though the season ended with two games yet to play. Is there are an argument that they are undeserving?

The United Kingdom’s problems with containing COVID-19 could mean England’s home series against the West Indies could be moved to the Caribbean where the threat has been markedly lower than Europe.

Cricket West Indies (CWI) and the England Cricket Board (ECB) have been trying to find a work-around so as not to delay the start of the three-Test series set to begin on June 4 at the Kia Oval.

COVID-19 cases are expected to peak in the United Kingdom in June, making it almost a certainty that the start of the English domestic season will be delayed.

The Caribbean, if it continues to remain relatively COVID-19 free, could become third-party hosts for other series, reportedly offering to provide the venues for England’s home fixtures against Pakistan in July.

There is also the possibility that the tour of England could be put off until September, after the West Indies host New Zealand in three One-Day Internationals and three Twenty20 Internationals from July 8 to July 19 and after South Africa visit for two Tests and five T20Is scheduled for July 23-August 16.

A delay could also mean that the Hero Caribbean Premier League could be pushed back all the way until December.

Cricket West Indies (CWI), acting on the recommendation of its Medical Advisory Committee (MAC), has taken the decision to suspend all its tournaments and face-to-face group meetings from March 16 onwards, for a minimum of 30 days.

The move is being taken out of an abundance of caution in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

Major events across the sporting world have been taking action over recent days in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The CWI tournaments affected are:

Last two rounds of the West Indies Championship
The Women's CMI Super 50 Cup
Regional Under 15s Boys Championship
Regional Under 19s Girls Championship

All urgent CWI Board matters will be addressed via teleconference.

Dr Israel Dowlat, the CWI's chief medical officer, said: "The health and safety of our players, officials and staff, are of paramount importance to CWI and we have advised the Board of Directors to take proactive policy steps to decrease the growing risk of contamination and spread of the virus."

Dr Donovan Bennett, the chairman of MAC, said the decision was in accordance with medical best practice and an "abundance" of caution.

"We are acting based on medical best practice as well as in an abundance of caution. The ongoing gathering of even small groups of spectators, cricketers and match officials could pose a risk to some persons of contracting the virus and being stranded in quarantine in a non-resident country for a prolonged period. Clearly this pandemic is still evolving, and we will continue to monitor the situation throughout the Caribbean."

CWI has also advised all territorial boards and local cricket associations to follow the advice of their respective Ministries of Health.

 

Cricket West Indies (CWI) is set to welcome a new kit sponsor, Castore Sportswear, onboard for the new year after agreeing to a three-year deal reportedly worth £3m (US$3,903,300).

The new sponsorship deal will come as good news for the Caribbean cricket team, which has struggled in that particular area for the past several years as they are set to name a third sponsor in two years. 

The team’s most recent deals included a three-year contract with Australian sportswear brand BLK, signed in 2017, and a two-year agreement with Caribbean hotel chain Sandals in 2018.

For the English-based apparel franchise, who are relative newcomers to the sportswear market, the deal represents a significant escalation as the Windies will become the company's first major sports team deal.  Castore previously signed British tennis star Andy Murray in March.  The partnership with the West Indies is expected to commence in June when the team tours England before heading to Australia to defend the T20 World Cup title.  Castore chief executive Tom Beahon framed the partnership as an arrangement that should mutually benefit entities in similar positions.

“We see an opportunity to partner with like-minded teams who like us are aspirational, but see themselves as challenging,” Beahon told the Financial Times.

“Realistically, we’re not going to sponsor Real Madrid in the next two or three years but in the level below those trophy assets, there are teams and countries who are looking for a partner who will invest in them more than maybe the big guys will do.” 

Cricket West Indies (CWI) and Whisper, the sport and live production specialist, are pleased to announce a new trial partnership, which sees Whisper as the host broadcaster of the West Indies vs Ireland series in January 2020.

Cricket West Indies (CWI) and the Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) have delivered messages of condolence at the passing of West Indies cricketer Basil Butcher.

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