WICB CEO responds to Guyana's Minister of Sport

St John’s, AntiguaThe West Indies Cricket Board CEO Dr. Ernest Hilaire today responded to a letter from the Honourable Dr. Frank Anthony, Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport in Guyana.

Dr. Anthony had written to Chairman of Selectors Clyde Butts seeking clarification on the status of Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Ramnaresh Sarwan in West Indies cricket.

Mr. Butts forwarded the letter to Dr. Hilaire for a comprehensive response.

Following is the full response to Dr. Anthony.

Hon. Dr. Frank C.S. Anthony, MD, MPH, MP

Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport

71-72 Main Street, South Cummingsburg

Georgetown, Guyana

Hon. Minister,

Your letter of April 15, 2011 to Mr. Clyde Butts has been referred to me.

First of all thank you for your letter.

The WICB appreciates your concern given that Mr. Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Mr. Ramnaresh Sarwan are two sporting ambassadors of Guyana. It is necessary to make it clear from the outset that at no time has the WICB declared or insinuated that any senior player will no longer play for the West Indies. We urge you and cricket fans in Guyana not to fall prey to wild media sensationalism.

Allow me to refer to our initial media release issued when the ODI team was announced. “There are some familiar faces who have not been included on this occasion, but we have already identified the core of players who we will build the team around...” (quote from Chairman of the Selection Panel Clyde Butts).

It is critical to note that the team selected is for the First and Second Digicel ODI. The Selection Committee will meet shortly to deliberate and select the squad for the remaining Digicel ODIs and later the two Digicel Tests.

Following the media sensationalism we clarified the status of the players by stating in a subsequent media release, “The selectors have a Selection Policy and are moving forward and building a broad pool of international players. The first action is to expose more players. And that does not mean that the WICB is abandoning older players” (a direct quote from myself).

I further stated: “Having established in your mind what the core of your team is that you will build around, you now need to find the other players who will fit into the squad and that is what the selectors are seeking to do.”

You will appreciate that the WICB cannot take a narrow and parochial view to the process of rebuilding West Indies cricket.

It is instructive to note that the former Australian captain Greg Chappell has just commented that Australia’s pool of quality international players is too small and that they too need to embark on expanding their international player pool.

As part of the WICB medium term plan of action to win the 2015 Cricket World Cup we have recognize that we need a broad pool of experienced players. Only 11 players can play at any one time and as the WICB seeks to expose more players some of the proven international players will be rotated. The reaction to the non-selection of Chanderpaul and Sarwan has been unnecessarily extreme but it speaks to the passion which exists in Guyana for the cricket – a fact which has always been recognized and appreciated by the WICB, hence the annual scheduling of games in your country.

I would like to urge a reasoned approach to the WICB’s strategy of strengthening West Indies cricket which is now emerging from a period of under-achievement and also patience with the process.

Finally, let me assure you that the WICB has no plan, intention or directive to end the career of any player. Fans in every country, inherently, want to see their countrymen perform on the international stage on their home ground. We know it is no different in Guyana however the WICB must, from time to time, take some decisions, in the wider interest of West Indies cricket, for the benefit of the sport and the entire region. We do not have the luxury of parochialism.

I trust that I have been able to bring some reason to your understanding of our position.

On the matter of the rumours of anti-corruption pertaining to Mr. Sarwan, I wish to make it clear, and we have stated publicly that the WICB is not the authority to comment on such issues. It is the exclusive purview of the International Cricket Council. In any event, if the WICB were to comment on every accusation, story, rumour or suspicion expressed in the media or blogs, it would be a never-ending exercise of responses. The WICB is in possession of information from time to time on anti-corruption matters and I am sure you would agree that it would be inappropriate to distribute such information either to confirm or deny ongoing investigations or suspicions.

When properly assessed the situation is to be blamed squarely on an erratic and unprofessional approach from some irresponsible media operatives who reproduced the information from the anonymous blog without bothering to verify the source or veracity of what was before them.

I am aware that you have informed the media that you have written to officials of the WICB so for the sake of fairness, I humbly ask that my response be shared with the media.

Sincerely,

Ernest Hilaire

Chief Executive Officer

West Indies Cricket Board Inc.

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