Female physical education teachers who are “not interested” in the history of cricket is one reason the game is falling behind other sports in Jamaica. That is the view not of the common man, but Cricket West Indies (CWI) president Dave Cameron, who is from Jamaica. Cameron also believes space constraints have generally contributed to the waning popularity of cricket in Jamaica, which has given to West Indies cricket players like Michael Holding, Lawrence Rowe, Jeffrey Dujon, Courtney Walsh and Chris Gayle.
“It has nothing to do with the Government,” Cameron told the Sunday Gleaner. “Firstly, we only have female PE teachers, which is a problem. Most of them don’t know cricket. The game of cricket is very complicated. They don’t know the history and neither are they interested. That becomes an issue. When we went to school, most of our PE teachers, if not all, were male. So they coach cricket, football, track and field, and we’re not getting that anymore.”
Cameron did also say that the costs and infrastructure requirements of the game were a factor in schools preferring football over cricket. “In football, four-a-side scrimmage can be played in a little two-by-four space; on the road, you put a hoop on a light post and you can play basketball. Cricket suffers from needing space and specialised equipment, and all that kind of thing, to operate.
“So we’re continuously looking at different ways and different types of the game that can be played without that huge fanfare of a big field and specialised pitches.”
It is not the first time Cameron has made such comments. His five-year tenure as CWI president has been ridden with controversies, none bigger than his differences with a group of senior West Indies players who abandoned the India tour in October 2014 over disputes involving contracts. Recently, Cameron made headlines when he said some of the players who had skipped the World Cup Qualifiers for personal reasons might not play for West Indies again.
Cameron called for tough measures to be taken in order to safeguard CWI’s commercial interests, though he did acknowledge that he could have improved his communication with senior players.
“If we had to do it again, what we would’ve done is engage WIPA and our senior players,” Cameron told the Gleaner last week. “I’m not so sure that we would’ve gone back on our policy of what we needed to do at that time. Because if we didn’t do that, we would not be where we are today, with a business that I can say to you, with fair confidence, that would be sustainable. Going forward, when we’re making decisions like that, we will be trying to cover all the bases.”