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Cricket Board their own worst enemies

Bermuda's national cricket squad jet off to Dubai today for the World Twenty20 qualifiers, preparations for which have been less than ideal.

Not that that should surprise anyone given the events witnessed in recent years.

Controversy erupted over the re-appointment as captain of English-based David Hemp; certain players decided to train when they felt like it (what's new), others simply made themselves unavailable; and at what would have been one of the last training sessions last weekend, coach David Moore and senior player Stephen Outerbridge got into a heated row.

More than likely there have been other incidents that have been swept under the carpet.

Bermuda Cricket Board don't like to share any information with the public these days for fear it might damage their impeccable track record.

So wary are they of any kind of backlash that they've slapped a muzzle on Moore, his players and their own members.

Comment on any cricket matters these days has to come from president Lloyd Fray or chief executive Neil Speight who, when asked to respond to media questions, offer a single sentence which normally amounts to no comment at all.

So much for the transparency recommended by the commission set up by Sports Minister Glenn Blakeney earlier this year to investigate how the BCB had spent the millions of dollars gifted them following the 2007 World Cup.

The Board have headed the other way.

Of course, such policy has backfired.

While the head honchos try to keep a tight grip on internal matters which they feel shouldn't be shared outside their domain, there are those members who feel the public have been misinformed and have a right to know how the sport is being run and if there have been difficulties what measures have been taken to resolve them.

Information regarding the bust-up between Moore and Outerbridge which


Gazette reported on earlier this week came from inside the Board, although it could quite easily have come from any of the players in attendance or anyone who might have been present at the training session.

The rumour mill runs fast and furious in this country.

Naturally, Fray and Speight wouldn't have wanted the incident to be brought to the public's attention, particularly as it took place so close to the team's departure. It's not quite the morale-booster the team needed.

But when asked about the matter, Speight didn't have the courtesy to respond to this newspaper's e-mail. Not even a bland acknowledgement that it happened, 'we're dealing with it', and the air had now been cleared.

Wouldn't that have been a reasonable response? As usual the blinds remained shut as they are every time the BCB are confronted with awkward questions.

Former national team player Charlie Marshall is one of many who's disappointed at the way the BCB conduct their business these days. In an interview published in

The Gazette, he bemoaned the fact that the public are constantly being kept in the dark regarding national team matters and went as far as saying we're all being misled by statements that simply don't tell the whole story.

The governing body continually complain about bad publicity but they're their own worst enemies.

Hopefully, all of the above will be pushed aside when the squad arrive in the Middle East.

Only what takes place on the field matters and the team's task is already tall enough.

Of the 16 countries competing in the qualifiers, only two will progress to the finals in Sri Lanka.

Bermuda are among the rank outsiders.

Yet the Twenty20 format is such that on any given day the form book can be thrown out of the window. A swashbuckling innings, the type of which Lionel Cann is capable, or an inspired spell of bowling, can quickly turn a match around.

The youngsters who have abided by Moore's strict instructions deserve some reward for their commitment and enthusiasm. If they can tuck a few good results under their belt, the trip will have been well worthwhile.

And if they do, you can bet Fray and Speight will be firing off congratulary press releases faster than Lionel can find boundaries.

* * * *

IT'S rare that MPs on either side of the House Assembly agree on a proposal, and if they do they'll still squabble over how it might be implemented.

So it was refreshing that so many members applauded Randy Horton's suggestion that his former team-mate Clyde Best be knighted for his services to football.

A recent TV documentary highlighted how the former West Ham star became a pioneer for the black players who these days make such a big impression on the English Premier League.

Sadly Best, who now works as a prison officer, was rewarded with only a small fraction of the obscene salaries made by today's top players, some of whom would have left themselves open to ridicule had they been exposed to the game as it was played in those days.

Bone-crunching and sliding tackles from both front and behind were very much a part of the game, elbows into the face were ignored by refs and pitches often resembled cow patches. God forbid any player who dived in an effort to get a penalty. They'd be laughed off the field.

The big Bermudian always held his own, indeed became one the game's most feared strikers.

But ultimately it wasn't his natural talent for which he will be remembered.

His legacy will be that of a player who paved the way for other black players to make their mark on the game.

Ironically, in this country it's normally the politicians who are knighted for their services.

That they should band together in attempt to give Best his due reward is commendable. He deserves no less.

Adrian Robson

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Published March 09, 2012 at 1:00 am (Updated March 09, 2012 at 7:42 am)

Cricket Board their own worst enemies

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