All-rounder Dwayne Bravo has spoken out in support of West Indies T20 captain Darren Sammy, who faces possible disciplinary action for publicly criticising the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) after the regional team won the T20 World Cup in India on Sunday.
Bravo says he and the rest of the champion West Indies T20 side are in full support of Sammy, who hit out at the WICB for its lack of support to the players.
“The players feel hurt, and the time has come where we cannot take it anymore, and someone needs to put a stop to it because the cricket is being run by people who do not have the interest of West Indies cricket at heart,” Bravo said.
A statement from the West Indies Board described Sammy’s comments as “inappropriate” and promised an investigation.
“I was not surprised by Sammy’s speech. I think we had enough as players. A lot of people don’t understand what we go through as players dealing with our board,” said Bravo.
“It is the most unprofessional board in the world, and I think Sammy spoke from his heart.”
But vice-president of the West Indies Board Emmanuel Nanthan, yesterday launched a major broadside against Sammy.
Nanton has blasted as “irrelevant, demeaning, insulting, and unfortunate” comments made by Sammy who hit out at the Board for its lack of expressed support for the team while praising Grenada Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell and CARICOM for messages of support, which inspired his team.
“So to try to make it look like the board was inefficient in any way is rather unfortunate,” declared Nanton in a radio interview in Dominica.
“To spoil what was a tremendous achievement for the Caribbean civilisation with comments that are totally irrelevant and demeaning and insulting to the Caribbean people I believe was rather unfortunate”.
Sammy’s comments were also made against the backdrop of the players’ contracts dispute with the WICB before the start of the tournament back in February, which threatened the side’s participation.
Sammy acted as the players’ representative during the brief impasse.
The WICB vice-president also took issue with the players for complaining about a reduction in their fee structure for the World Cup while not disclosing increases in fees for the regional competition.
“So the players complained that for the World Cup, their fees went down maybe by US$20,000 or thereabout. But they did not say that the week before they got the World Cup contract, all of them signed contracts for the regional competition, where their fees went up by US$80,000, $140,000, $145,000, and $75,000. They did not say that,” said Nanthan.
“But they are saying that they had a loss of US$20,000 each on the World Cup. The World Cup is every other year. Our regional competition is every year. So really and truly, they were
making noise for losing $20,000 on one side but gaining $150,000 or $280,000 in some instances on the other hand and never ever said that to anybody.”
On Sunday, Sammy also praised newly installed manager Rawl Lewis, who, he said, went to extraordinary lengths to solve a uniform problem during the pre-tournament camp in Dubai.
But Nanthan has dismissed Sammy’s comments on this issue as misleading, blaming the impasse for the delay in printing numbers on the uniforms.
“The date was coming. The players had not consented to go to play, so the company delivered the uniforms without the numbers in them because we were not sure which players we going to play,” he said.
“So when the logistics officer left the Caribbean for Dubai, he had a ticket in his hands to go to pick up the uniforms in Calcutta, put the numbers on them, and carry them himself to the team well before the World Cup.”
Nanthan’s comments are likely to fuel more tension between the champion West Indies side, which has garnered massive support in the region, and an embattled Dave Cameron-led WIC.
Meanwhile Former West Indies captain and one of the two living national heroes in Antigua & Barbuda, Sir Vivian Richards has called for the resignation of those charged with administering cricket at the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) level.
The batting legend, who is on record as not having picked the West Indies to reach the semifinals of the tournament, made the call on the back of Sammy’s statement.
“I don’t think Sammy would be a liar; I think Sammy is as honest as they come so it is going to be quite interesting, going forward, to see and to hear exactly what comes from the board,” he said.
Referring to a lengthy and bitter pay dispute that had put their World Twenty20 participation in doubt, the all-rounder said his team felt “disrespected by our board”.
Sir Viv commended Sammy for his bravery.
“Sammy did what he had to do. It was on his mind and you could see what he said meant a lot; it came from the heart. In my mind, it looked like something planned. Anyone who knows Darren Sammy knows that he is an individual and how he would have led West Indies cricket from his very start as captain, and sees how committed he is. So I am pleased, in a big way, that he was able to get it off his chest,” Sir Viv said.
Signalling the victory as a possible resuscitator for West Indies cricket, the legendary player urged those in authority to seize the opportunity provided to unearth new talents.
“There are some hungry folks out there and especially with the excitement with what would have been created from the three versions like the Under-19, the women’s factor then the men doing what they did on Sunday. The interest would certainly be there, so we need to try and get into some areas where we haven’t tapped before to try and find some of these fast bowlers that maybe, can help to make a difference in the future. I don’t think enough of that would have been done in the past,” the former player said.