By Neto Baptiste
Former CEO of Cricket West Indies (CWI) Michael Muirhead has identified the 2014 ill-fated tour of India as one of his greatest challenges.
Muirhead, who left his post as CEO in 2016 to take up a general manager post at the Coolidge Cricket Ground, from which he has since tendered his resignation, said the damaging actions of the players, at that time, was calculated and could have been avoided.
“There was much discussions between myself personally and the players and I know the president was also involved. But I was in touch with WIPA and at that time, WIPA, through Wavell Hinds, myself and one other board member that we were going to India. I had actually left Antigua, gotten to Jamaica to get my visa and continue on a BA flight that same evening when they actually effected the strike,” he said.
“Now it has always been said they didn’t know I was coming but that is not true. Certain persons knew. Whether they disseminated that information to all of the players is yet to be decided, but they knew we were coming and I guess the action had to be taken before we arrived,” he added.
The West Indies tour to India came to an abrupt end in October 2014, with the BCCI saying it had been called off by the WICB.
The WICB initially released a statement saying it had not called off the tour, but following a meeting after the fourth ODI, it clarified that it was “left no option” by the West Indies players.
The developments followed a protracted payment structure dispute between the players, the WICB and West Indies Players’ Association.
The former chief executive officer, however, dispelled widespread allegations that then-president, Dave Cameron, had refused to meet with players in India, stating that it was rather a situation of Cameron not wanting to overstep his bounds.
“It was WIPA who, really, they [the players] should have been speaking through and he did not want to overshadow WIPA or seem to circumvent WIPA in what was happening so because the negotiations and everything were sort of put in place and this was after an arbitration we had so this was something we had already agreed to have arbitration and negotiated a position over three days. We all agreed it would be binding on all of us and it was a give-and-take. Based on that agreement, it was not in the president’s place to come and intervene and say throw that through the window, he couldn’t really,” Muirhead said.
It was announced last week that Jamaican Muirhead had quit as general manager of the Coolidge Cricket Ground and will be replaced by former Cricket West Indies commercial manager, Nelecia Yates.