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Samuels Sunk By His Own Board
WICB Continues To Self Destruct

By Orin Davidson
May 16th, 2008
The West Indies Cricket Board cannot help shooting itself in the foot even if euphemism is eliminated completely from the English language.

Marlon Samuels (Photo by Shiek Mohamed)

Its latest self inflicted wound has not only seriously torpedoed the career of one of the team’s talented batsmen, but again advertised the Board as an example of how best to run one’s self into the ground.

Marlon Samuels committed a misdeed, but it is a tragedy he has to suffer as draconian a penalty as a two- year ban which the WICB allowed to be slapped on the player in the blink of an eye.

Yes, the International Cricket Council (ICC) has its penalties for violation of its Rules of Conduct, but it is befuddling the WICB found Samuels guilty beyond a shadow of a doubt, that leaves him at the mercy of an unjust harsh penalty, given past happenings involving similar and worst cases of rule violations in the cricket world.

The disciplinary committee assembled by the WICB, arrived at a verdict totally out of character with the prevailing trend for this type of offence, for which they failed to observe, whether by design or not.

And the WICB executive inexplicably let it slide without seemingly taking the time to closely monitor the case and come up with its own final verdict, when it is clear that questions have to be asked about the committee’s conclusion, based on the nature of Samuels’ action and the definition of the violation itself.

From the evidence we are hearing and reading about, which was passed onto the committee from the India police and the ICC, Samuels did disclose team information including the position he would bowl, to Mukesh Kochchar, the Indian national with a reputation for betting on cricket games.

That was for the game in question in Nagpur between West Indies and India last year.

The ICC Rules of Conduct violation clearly states such information has to be shown to be used for betting from which the player has to benefit.

You have to ask yourself how the committee proved that Samuels’ information was used for betting and that he benefited from the proceeds?

Assuming Samuels admitted that Kochchar paid for his hotel expenses following their taped telephone calls in Mumbai and which amounted to a measly $US 1,238 according to the reports, and which have not since been refuted by the committee, you have to wonder how the latter body proved it to be a reward from a bet?

We are not looking a US$100,000, $50,000 or even a $20,000 cash reward, rather a mere short stay hotel bill.

Gambling in India is a crime, and as far as the cricket world knows, Kochchar is running around free as a bird in his homeland.

It cannot get more ridiculous to observe that the very authorities – the Nagpur police who started the case and have all this evidence, have nothing on the alleged bookie, yet the WICB committee took only a few hours to conclude that Samuels was guilty of encouraging betting.

When you take into consideration it is one of the Board’s own players it was adjudicating against, for an incident that occurred in a foreign land, you get a clear picture of the story of the WICB’s life – that of unchecked self destruction.
Samuels, one of the team’s most talented players, has to be devastated by his Board’s handling of the matter.

When the rest of the world has made the job of supporting its players legendary, you have the WICB slitting the throat of one of its own.

You have to ask yourself whether no one on that disciplinary committee understands the politics of world cricket. When Courtney Walsh opted out of panel due to conflict of interest, the Board failed to find a replacement ex- cricketer, leaving Richie Richardson as the lone former player among the four.

As a result you are forced to wonder if the majority of those panelists know about the Australia Cricket Board’s decision to merely fine Mark Waugh and Shane Warne for accepting bookmaker’s money for providing the same type of information Samuel gave Kochchar, years ago. Or of the South Africa Board slapping Herschelle Gibbs on the wrist with a six- month ban for the far more heinous misdeed of agreeing to and accepting money to fix a match.

When the same Gibbs and Nicky Boje were called out by the India police for questioning for another match fixing incident, the South Africa Board forced the police to water down its case that put the players out of harm’s way.

In more recent times, you have Harbhajan Singh having to miss only a handful of games for assaulting a fellow player and racially abusing another. All because the India Board fought tooth and nail to protect its player. You have Shoaib Akhtar and Mohamed Asif returning to competition for Pakistan almost immediately after being caught using illegal steroids.

And how many more cases you have in the past of players getting caught using marijuana without having to endure anything close to a two year ban?

Yet the WICB through its new Chief Executive Officer Donald Peters saw little problem in tipping Samuels down the cliff.

Peters, who is fast turning out to be a nightmare to West Indies cricket, following his bungling of the IPL players issue and for fouling up basic logistics for the recent Sri Lanka tour, claims that the Board’s hands were tied from averting the two-year ban.

If anything else, his eyes appear tied shut to the happenings in the cricket world.

For foolishly deciding to furnish Kochchar with team information, Samuels deserves punishment for his action, which should’ve amounted to nothing more than a fine and or suspension for a number of games.

Instead he faces the prospect of the loss of his career and livelihood, thanks to his ruling Board which is now crying crocodile tears of how sad they are about the player’s plight.

Samuels must now be wondering where are people like the Reverend Wes Hall when he needs them most in West Indies cricket.
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