Colin Thompson, The Royal Gazette (Bermuda)
Bermuda Cricket Board (BCB) have sent out the wrong message by including disgraced slugger Lionel Cann in the Island's Stanford 20/20 squad, Hall of Fame cricketer Clarence Parfitt argued yesterday.
Despite making headlines across the globe for all the wrong reasons, Parfitt, 63, feels the veteran cricketer has been rewarded rather than punished for letting the Island and his team-mates down during Bermuda's ill-fated tour of Kenya last fall.
"I don't know how the BCB are thinking … but this just isn't right. Something like this certainly sends out the wrong message to those who may now think they can do whatever they like and still get away with it," Parfitt said.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) slapped Cann with a two-game one-day international (ODI) ban for committing a Level Two offence while representing Bermuda in an ODI against Kenya in Nairobi last October.
Cann breached the ICC's rigid code of conduct just weeks after world cricket's governing body had placed the all rounder on a year's probation for his involvement in a verbal spat during an Intercontinental Cup match with the Netherlands in Amsterdam last August. The explosive batsman was eventually summoned home early in disgrace and given what amounted to a slap on the wrist in the form of a reprimand by the BCB.
However, Parfitt, who claimed five for 61 representing Bermuda against Test side New Zealand in 1972, believes the Board were far too lenient on Cann who has since become the face of the Island's Stanford 20/20 bid.
"As a senior member of the team I think Lionel should know better because something like this only sheds a bad light on Bermuda. And I think the Board should've taken a tougher stance, especially since Lionel was on probation at the time of the incident," he added.
The outspoken Scottish development officer also lashed out at the Board's disciplinary committee who he believes lacks consistency when it comes to dishing out punishment - a claim backed up recently by the BCB's decision to impose harsher punishment (six match ban) on Southampton Rangers stalwart Janeiro Tucker for committing an alleged off-field offence at the domestic level while seemingly turning a blind eye to Cann's on-field shenanigans which occurred at the highest level during an ICC sanctioned ODI.
"I don't think it was right for the Board to deal with Cann in one way and Janeiro in another. You just can't allow people to get away with things like that no matter who they are and I would think Janeiro must be aggrieved," Parfitt added.
"And now that the Board have dealt with Cann in this manner whose to say he won't do it again? I think if the Board are going to discipline people then they have to be consistent rather than be buddy buddy with one individual and then really crucify someone else."
When contacted yesterday BCB president Reggie Pearman and disciplinary chairman Gary Fray both refused to comment either on Cann or Tucker's cases.