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BCB caught out by statement

Bermuda Cricket Board were, at the very least, guilty of misleading the public this week. Strong words perhaps but, nevertheless, applicable.

Our experience with BCB is that they can be economical with the truth.

Suspicion was raised when the Board released a statement contesting recent reports in this newspaper, the last of which was published on September 25, regarding the captaincy of the national Twenty20 squad that will travel to Dubai next month to play in the Twenty20 World Cup Qualifiers.

They insisted that regular national team captain Stephen Outerbridge was unavailable to tour because of work commitments.

They used words such as “shameful”, “unbalanced reporting”.

Their wrath was incurred by stories written by senior sports reporter Colin Thompson who has developed a hate/hate relationship with the current administration.

Thompson gets the stories and hits them where it hurts.

On this occasion, it took them more than a week to recover and it wasn't until Tuesday this week that they found a way to cobble up a response to the three reports which detailed how Outerbridge was dropped from the squad and will be replaced by Janeiro Tucker.

He was excluded because coaches didn't think he was suited to the shorter version of the game.

How do we know? Our sources, four of them connected to the BCB and our own columnist, have told us so.

Could they all be wrong?

Clay Smith, a former national team skipper, spoke directly with Outerbridge.

He confirmed that work commitments was not an issue.

In his column a week ago, Clay reported that Outerbridge was indeed available. For some reason, the BCB have not responded to that column.

Worse still, Outerbridge was informed by text by a member of the coaching staff he had been excluded.

Our sources said Outerbridge had been hurt by their decision.

The BCB contended that wasn't the case at all, and mischievously released their statement to all media.

We published that statement, despite the fact it was far from the truth.

Headlined, “Misleading Reporting in The Royal Gazette” it said in part: “Further to a series of misleading reports in The Royal Gazette regarding the captaincy of the Bermuda national senior squad, BCB president Lloyd Fray noted: ‘I am, as are the BCB Executive, gravely disappointed with the recent reports in The Royal Gazette regarding the captaincy of our national squad. Claims that the Board removed Stephen from captaincy by a text message are complete nonsense. Nothing could be further from the truth. The facts on this matter are quite clear and transparent.

“I am shocked that the BCB, Stephen Outerbridge and Janeiro Tucker have had to endure this reckless and unbalanced reporting. I trust that the all stakeholders of cricket will see through this shameful and baseless attack on our national squad members at a time when they are working extremely hard to get ready for a major international event'.”

Reckless, Shameful? Perhaps Mr Fray should look in the mirror.

BCB CEO Neil Speight might do likewise as he may have helped to concoct this statement.

Why haven't we spoken to the man at the centre of the controversy? We tried but the BCB have muzzled their players, allowing them to speak with the media only when given permission to do so.

Fray and Speight are the BCB's only spokesmen.

Can we believe what they say?

Tiresome as it has become, criticising the Board has become something of a national hobby.

Their constant bungling of affairs has become an embarrassment.

But this week they stepped over the mark.

They misinformed this newspaper, other media, their players, the clubs and mostly importantly the people who support the sport — the taxpayer.

It's only through Government grants they can survive.

Apparently they don't give a hoot.

A number of national team squad players have told us they have lost their respect.

At the end of the BCB's statement, Outerbridge was quoted as saying: “The reporting from one of Bermuda's leading newspapers was totally inaccurate. The truth is that I have informed the president, CEO and national coach that I am unable to participate in the upcoming series due to personal commitments.”

That flies in the face of many around him, including Clay Smith.

Maybe circumstances have changed and he may no longer be available.

Or, more likely, was he told to tow the party line or risk been stripped of the 50-over captaincy? Was it to protect the BCB's dubious integrity?

The BCB refuse to confirm that Tucker will skipper the Twenty20 squad, although it was interesting last weekend that in two trial matches (both of which were called off because of bad weather) he was named as one of the captains.

So who's telling the truth, The Royal Gazette or the Cricket Board . . . make up your own mind.

Given the BCB's devious dealings with the media, we believe we got it right. And we challenge them to prove otherwise.

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Published October 04, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated October 03, 2013 at 6:54 pm)

BCB caught out by statement

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