Yet again, we are reminded of the dangers of rushing to judgment. Two months after announcing definitively that Bob Woolmer was murdered in his Kingston hotel room, police in Jamaica are said to be working out how to save face in light of the latest information suggesting that he died of heart failure.
The fact is they can’t get away from looking like fools, so they might just as well get it over with, assuming that the information coming from British newspapers is correct. Of course, that cannot be taken for granted, seeing that these same highly respectable publications were coming up with all sorts of conspiracy theories to satisfy the insatiable appetite of their readers for scandal, while at the same time battling desperately to stay ahead of the game in an intensely competitive market.
Some of that apparently wild speculation implicated an alleged fundamentalist Muslim element in the Pakistan team that wanted to get rid of the foreign infidel. There was the inevitable connection with bookies, match-fixers and other reprehensible characters set to lose millions on the heels of Pakistan’s elimination from the World Cup. And if that wasn’t enough, those following the unfolding story were taken on a journey through Eastern sorcery involving undetectable secret potions and lethal concoctions.
This relentless quest for a scapegoat in the London-based press, fuelled, not by any lofty principle of seeking out the truth but by the dog-eat-dog competition in the media, is no different from the frenzy in India that followed the statement in February by police in Nagpur that West Indies batsman Marlon Samuels was being investigated for possible links with a known bookmaker.
Within hours of the announcement, Samuels’s cricketing epitaph was being proclaimed on the many news channels across India by anchors and reporters, most of whom probably didn’t know the first thing about the Jamaican cricketer, except that he was just the next big step on the ladder of nationwide fame and glory for breaking the story ahead of the equally ravenous competitors.
So it is in this context that I prefer to wait on either the convenor of West Indies selectors himself or someone authorised to speak on Gordon Greenidge’s behalf to explain the rationale behind the selection of Samuels to replace injured captain Ramnaresh Sarwan on the England tour.
There are a couple of issues here. Was he excluded in the first place on merit or was there a question of discipline or attitude involved? If it is the former, how is that justified, given the credentials of those picked ahead of him? If, however, it is the latter, what has Samuels done in the past month to invalidate these non-cricketing matters that would have conspired against him?
And just in case these questions, if they are even considered worthy of answering, are deflected in the general direction of the executive level of the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB), which is ultimately required to ratify all decisions, would it be asking too much of Ken Gordon, the chief executive of the WICB, or his spokesperson to respond in a timely manner to quash all speculation once and for all that this was just another example of the wild inconsistencies that prevail at all levels of West Indies cricket?
While on the topic of requiring information in a timely manner, when can we expect the preliminary figures on the staging of the World Cup? Given the massive nature and scope, not to mention the length, of the global tournament, it was entirely unreasonable to have expected a provisional statement of revenue and expenditure almost immediately after the final. But we are now in the month of June, more than five weeks after rain and incompetent officiating robbed Australia of the true glory of victory, so is it asking too much to get some numbers now?
We have had quite a lot of self-congratulatory information from the World Cup organisers since April 28, much of it no doubt intended to counteract the general negativity of the media throughout the entire protracted exercise. But what better way is there to shut up us cowardly, opportunistic cynics than by stating the provisional bottom line, even if there will be the oft-repeated conditionality that much of the benefit to be accrued from the tournament is in the medium and long term, and therefore cannot be quantified with any degree of exactitude at the moment?
In the meantime, the media have more than enough elbow room to speculate over selection policy and World Cup accountability, issues that will not go away just because Gordon and Chris Dehring, the chief organiser of World Cup 2007, had made it very clear that they take full responsibility for everything within their respective portfolios. Taking responsibility is one thing. But does this translate into decisive action, as in the case of the increasingly embarrassing decline in the standard of West Indies cricket?
Does the formation of a committee, notwithstanding the stature of the three individuals involved, constitute decisive action, especially given the exceptionally wide terms of reference of their investigation?
But let us not leap to conclusions, even if the consequences of such irresponsible conduct are not nearly as traumatic as a grieving widow and her children enduring all sorts of outlandish conspiracy theories over Bob Woolmer’s death. All we want are straight answers, not eloquent public relations old talk.
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Post InfoThis entry was posted on Tuesday, June 5th, 2007 and is filed under Cricket.
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