By Leighton Levy
Former Windies captain, Sir Vivian Richards, arguably one of the greatest batsmen of all time, has thrown his support behind Ricky Skerritt and Dr, Kishore Shallow, in their bid to win the presidency of Cricket West Indies.
The latter are challenging the incumbents Dave Cameron and Emmanuel Nanthan who have led CWI since 2013. Cameron has had successes in his presidency with the introduction of the franchise system under which 177 players – male and female – have become full professionals.
They have also introduced a health insurance plan for players, who are also benefitting from improved pitches and longer domestic seasons.
However, in some sectors, he has remained unpopular because of clashes with some players and strained relationships with some Caribbean leaders like Sir Ralph Gonsalves, who is also backing the Leeward Islands pair against the incumbents.
Richards, who turned 67 on March 7, captained the Windies between 1984 and 1991 and never lost a Test series, believes Skerritt is the man to lead the CWI into the future.
“We should not lose this opportunity in trying to get Mr Skerritt (elected) or giving him the opportunity to lead. I believe he will do a magnificent job. I honestly believe the time is right now for someone like Mr Skerritt, who I think is well respected in that particular fraternity to help make a difference in the future,” said Richards.
“If we are now looking to make a choice for a new president, I also believe we have people in that particular department in Mr Ricky Skerritt, who could bring some respectability back to the particular position.”
Richards is not without his own motives, as he believes that if there is a change in the leadership of CWI, it could mean an opportunity for him to play a significant role in Windies cricket going forward.
“This is an excellent opportunity for me to have an input as a past West Indies captain and also from the representation that Leewards would have given to West Indies cricket,” Richards said.
“Players from the Leewards would have made a healthy contribution to the development of West Indies cricket.
“Why I am saying this is because we as past players who would have put our bodies on the line, we would have certainly represented West Indies 100 per cent even more (and) it’s a great opportunity for us to show that we are not insular.”
It is against this background that winning the presidency would be afforded the opportunity to bring the region together.
“I hear people speaking about us being insular at times, this is a great opportunity to show that we are not in terms of the transparency with regards to West Indies cricket and its leadership,” Richards said.