In an exclusive conversation with NewsX for its special segment NewsX A-list, Dave Cameron, former president of the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) shares with us many insights about his journey, crickets and of course what the sports during pandemic means.
Cameron talks about the assessment of the damage that cricket had to endure because of this pandemic as well as addressed how after six months the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL) is a huge plus for cricket lovers. “It’s been tremendous and enormous but interestingly, cricket has weathered better than some other sports. Cricket has been damaged quite a bit but thank God for the IPL we are watching some excellent cricket. And I think it’s excellent because you have the best players in the world to play again” said the former WICB prez.
Cameron mentioned that though he expects to see India and Pakistan find a way to have Pakistani players playing the IPL because they are some of the best in the world. “Cricket has been damaged but England was able to play the National series, New Zealand will too shortly but West Indies haven’t started any since the start of the pandemic so that is damaging their finances and I suspect the same for South Africa and some of the smaller countries.”
Talking about the status quo that cricket has been accustomed to in the last few decades and the kinds of changes, Cameron said, “ What cricket needs more than it is for the governing body to be the governing body and set rules and create opportunities for private investments. IPL is the brainchild of the BCCI and really flourishing because all the private attendees came and found that they can attract because of the resources. They attract the best cricketers around the world.”
Sharing his mantra and proposition Cameron would do if take on the mantle of ICC president, “Cricket must be going quicker around the world and the big countries develop cricket alongside the smaller countries and be able to have their players coaches and make the biggest leagues around the world pretty much. That’s how we’re going to grow. We need to get the United States on board and those who are huge markets and again and on board with private investors.”
Talking about the crucial notion that most of the money that comes into cricket is only from a few countries Cameron addressed that West Indies hasn’t gotten a single dollar for the particular tournaments mentioned and his plan to change that, he said “Well, I don’t think things can change overnight, it will continue to come from the big countries from the big economies. For example, Europe, you know, can contribute to our coffers. The United States is a massive contributor to those tournaments. I’m not advocating, but I believe these other tournaments in Europe are never going to smaller countries. The west is producing the kind of income simply because of the size of their economy. We should be able to see cricket, and not be paying massive retainers or international players. But I don’t. So it is something that the board needs to sit down. It’s not something I can walk in there and get done overnight. Discussions should grow to this point”
Responding to how he would tackle allegations about Test cricket being sacrificed at the altar of T2. “That is not anybody’s doing. It’s Generation Z who don’t want to take five days to consume the game but it is what the demand has been. And as a result, T20s has flourished. Now again, I believe there are certain countries’ geographies and they should just continue to play tests. England, Australia, India, Bangladesh can play and West Indies too can play. But a test match in the West Indies is a dead robot. There are not enough revenues, advertising sponsorships behind it to make this” said Cameroon.
On a concluding note, Cameron talks about West Indian cricket planning to foresee the revival as everybody wants to see the resurgence of the great 70s and 80s when it comes to the West Indies team. “ To be frank we continue to see great players now playing. This year, Andre Russell was a T20 Player of the Year. But for the West Indies is itself to be the world no 1 it’s going to require resources. I believe if we change the format as I’m suggesting and teams such as West Indies have a chance of winning the World Cup if we can put together the right mindset that says squat but conquering the world 25 years ago, I don’t just I don’t see it happening. However, if we don’t change the economics in world cricket, West Indies cricket will roll by the wayside. They have made some steps towards achieving some kind of unison in the region and I want the government to come forward and give the necessary resources otherwise they’re not going to survive.”