Wednesday 9th March, 2005


West Indies cricket crisis

Richie calls for dialogue

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By Rolph Warner

Former West Indies cricket captain Richie Richardson told a Toronto radio audience on Saturday night that he was “saddened and disappointed” about the sponsorship row between Digicel and Cable & Wireless, which is threatening the future of West Indies cricket.

The interview was carried live on CHIN Radio 100.7 FM and conducted by Trinidadian broadcaster Jai Ojah-Maharaj. Richardson spoke from Orlando in Central Florida, where he and other former regional cricket stars were due to play in a friendly cricket tournament over the weekend.

Prompted for his view on the controversial sponsorship war, Richardson said it was unfortunate for something like this to happen to the WI team, especially when the team included Brian Lara, a man who is probably the world’s best player.

The ex-Windies captain said he felt such a sensitive issue should have been thoroughly pursued by the WICB to avoid the current impasse.

He said urgent and critical dialogue was needed to resolve the situation and suggested that cricket was important not only to the players and the Board, but indeed to the entire region.

Asked whether he would avail himself to offer advice in the currently impasse, Richardson said he was already in touch with West Indies Players Association president Dinanath Ramnarine.

He noted that it was important to get all sides of the issue for an amicable solution.

Pressed to compare the current issue to his playing days, Richardson said: “When I played, Clive Lloyd was skipper and we had people like Joel Garner, Jeff Dujon and Viv Richards. We were beating everyone at that time; we were invincible and filled cricket grounds around the world.”

He pointed out that the economics of that era and today’s would be considerably different.

The former top West Indies batsman ended by saying the West Indies Cricket Board has always adopted a “closed shop” approach, which never allowed people to be aware of the kinds of revenue the sport generates.

“Because of this, there has always been contention among the players, for better conditions.

“We were striving back then for better conditions and financial arrangements, and it is good to see that WIPA is now seeking to ensure better wages for the guys,” ended Richardson.

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