Brathwaite & Samuels celebrate (AP Photo/Saurabh Das)

Brathwaite & Samuels celebrate (AP Photo/Saurabh Das)

by Michael Bascombe

ST GEORGE’S, April 3, 2016 – Prime Minister and Chairman of the CARICOM Sub-committee on Cricket Governance, Dr Keith Mitchell has reiterated that there are no personal issues between regional leaders and the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB).

Dr Mitchell was reacting to comments made by West Indies Twenty20 (T20) captain Darren Sammy following the team’s historic four-wicket victory over England to win the International Cricket Council (ICC) World T20 Tournament on Sunday in Kolkata, India.

The men’s championship followed the West Indies Women winning the WT20 title for the first time by beating Australia by eight wickets in the final.

Sammy used his post-match interview to thank the CARICOM leaders and particularly Prime Minister Mitchell for an “inspiring email” to the team ahead of the final against England.

“I really want to thank the heads of CARICOM, throughout this tournament they have been supporting the team, we’ve got emails, we’ve got phone calls, Prime Minister [Keith] Mitchell [from Grenada]. He sent a very inspiring email for the team this morning … and I’m yet to hear from our own cricket board. That is very disappointing,” he said.

In an interview with GrenadaSports (Full Audio below), Dr Mitchell said that the prime ministers are above that sort of personality issue and are concerned about the future of West Indies cricket.

“We have a problem with the running and the structure of West Indies cricket. It’s beyond personality – that’s our problem. As I told you before it’s historic. It’s not about softening our position. It’s a principled position for what is best for West Indies cricket in the future. So whether it’s Keith Mitchell or Dave Cameron it’s not the personality. These are irrelevant,” he said.

The Grenadian leader, who has been a leading advocate for reforms at the WICB, maintains that the structure of West Indies has to change.

“The whole system must change if we are to make sure that we use the talent appropriately and that the best talent emerges and given the support.”

He said that the victories by both the men and women on Sunday are an indication of the talents in the region and the need to provide support at all levels.

“What you saw there was a motivation to succeed for themselves and the Caribbean people despite the treatment by the Board. If you give support to the players at all levels, you will have success because we have the talents,” Mitchell told GrenadaSports.

He said it’s sad that today the West Indies can’t even be part of a one-day tournament in the world with the same players who have won the T20 tournament.

“If you play the best team possible and you don’t deal with issues of whether one criticise you or not, you might find that we will still be successful in the one-day competition and we will have a better Test team if you just play everybody based on their capabilities and performance.”

Sammy described the victory as ‘sweet and sour’ since he doesn’t know when the team will play that format of the game as a unit again.

“For today, I’m going to celebrate with these 15 men and coaching staff. I don’t know when I’m going to be playing with these guys again because we don’t get selected for one-day cricket. We don’t know when we’re going to be playing T20.”

In a statement from the WICB, it congratulated the performances of the teams on Sunday. The board described the men’s performance as electric and exciting.

“The men, women and under-19 teams within the last three months have made the West Indies a region worthy of tremendous attention by being the best at the international level in World Cricket,” according to the statement quoting CEO Michael Muirhead and President Dave Cameron.

“We are indeed a proud set of people today and we want to thank all of you for your tremendous support. The men’s team has been electric and exciting in their performances during the tournament and we are all proud.”

“This is a defining moment for Cricket and we ought to thank each and every one of our Directors, Management, Staff and supporters for the support West Indies Cricket has received.

This is a truly ecstatic moment and we are indeed proud of this momentous achievement. The T20 format is a springboard to the other formats and we will use this as an opportunity to continue the development work we have to do to make the overall cricket product better. The men executed their comprehensive plan and we are pleased with the results,” it stated.

This is the third global title West Indies cricketers have won this year following the World Under-19 Tournament in Bangladesh in February.

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