Cricket’s in worst ever state, says top ex-umpire

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  • Former umpire George Francis

    Former umpire George Francis


Former top umpire George Francis has applauded Hall of Fame cricketer Dennis Wainwright for raising concerns over the current state of the national sport with Premier Paula Cox.

And he has urged others to speak up on the issues that are having a detrimental affect on the sport rather than turn a blind eye.

“This is the worst state I’ve seen Bermuda cricket in and a lot of us are sitting around and doing nothing about the situation,” Francis said. “So I have to applaud Dennis Wainwright for speaking to the Premier concerning Bermuda cricket and the state of condition it’s in.

“This is the first time in the history of Bermuda cricket that a former player like Dennis Wainwright has complained to the Premier and I believe others need to stand up like him and do something about the situation.

“We talk in little groups but nothing substantial has been done to address the problems or remove people who are creating them and replace them with others who can better serve Bermuda cricket. The people of Bermuda need to stand up for the sport.”

Francis blamed more recent Bermuda Cricket Board (BCB) administrations for declining standards — both domestically and internationally.

“I've heard a lot of nonsense about how Ed Bailey (former BCB president) mashed up Bermuda cricket but the blood is on the hands of the administrators that came after Ed,” he said. “They are the ones responsible for the state of Bermuda’s cricket today.

“Apparently we got what we wanted but we lost what we had and the legacy that others left behind is going down the drain. We are in big trouble the way the Board is going and anyone can see that. What we need to do is go back to what worked for us in the past. We need to save taxpayers’ money and be realistic about what we are doing because it’s just not working.”

As well as the BCB’s handling of the sport, Francis strongly rejects the association’s strict policy prohibiting its officials, with the exception of president Lloyd Fray and CEO Neil Speight, from speaking to the media on legitimate cricket matters. Last week it was revealed that former BCB selection committee chairman Derek Wright was brought up charges for speaking with this newspaper which he was eventually cleared of.

“It was outrageous what they did to Derek Wright because anywhere in the world the chairman of a selection committee has the right to talk to the press and I think this needs to be addressed and addressed now,” Francis said.

The ex-Somerset Bridge batsman went as far as to accuse the BCB of running the sport like a private club, even though they are funded by taxpayers’ hard earned cash. He said previous administrations were more transparent than the present regime.

“When Champ (late BCBC president Alma Hunt) was president I sat in on Board meetings as a representative of the umpires association and I recall Colin Zuill (former Royal Gazette sports reporter) attending those meetings as well and whatever was said in the meeting the Bermuda public knew about it the next day,” he said.“But now it’s as though we have closed doors and an administration that’s shutting off everybody like it’s a mafia organisation. The public have the right to know what’s going on because the Board receive money from the public purse and this is not a lodge.”

Francis said the BCB’s member clubs must also be held accountable for the sport’s gradual demise.

“The clubs haven’t done anything to upgrade the standard of play and it’s about time they take a very good look at the direction the game is going,” he said. “We want to blame the players and other people but we must also blame the clubs.

“Bermuda cricket is in a terrible state and it all starts from the clubs. If they improve then the cricket will improve as well.”

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Published Dec 13, 2012 at 8:46 am (Updated Dec 13, 2012 at 8:45 am)

Cricket’s in worst ever state, says top ex-umpire

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