"It was incredibly difficult, and stressful and strained; it was probably the most difficult period of my life."
That is how Ernest Hilaire, outgoing West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) CEO, described his early days at the Board after assuming the position three years ago.
Hilaire, whose term ends at the end of this month, when he will take up a position as St Lucia High Commissioner to London, related his experiences at the Board on Tuesday during an interview with Observer Radio (Antigua), which also featured the Express.
"When I first came in 2009... the team, we had had a strike every year for the last three years before that. In 2007 [the players] threatened (to strike), in 2008 they threatened, in 2009 the team went on strike [for the Bangladesh tour], (and after that) we had to send a replacement team to the (2010) Champions Trophy."
Hilaire said at his first ICC meeting, he had to defend the WICB's decision to send a weakened team to the competition, as it was being debated whether they had violated the participation agreement.
"Turmoil" was the word he used to describe the situation.
"The team had been losing for 15 years. We're now down at the bottom of the pile. The players were on strike. We (were) about to talk about player contracts and the players weren't going to sign retainer contracts. So my first day on the job was just chaos all around me."
Hilaire admitted that leaving West Indies cricket is "never easy" and hopes in the next few weeks to wrap up some ongoing projects.
"As the days count down, I still think about the things we still need to do... there's still a lot that can be done, and you wish you probably had some more time to get a few things corrected and take on a couple of big projects which are about to unfold.
"(But) you have to know when to move on to the next stage. And I always told myself I'd give it my best shot for three years, and those three years are up."
Hilaire is hoping for continuity from his successor. "The next (WICB) CEO should not be afraid to take decisions, and should ensure the right processes, procedures are followed," he said. "We cannot allow West Indies cricket to be about the best political configuration that will make the most directors or the most people happy. It's about what's right."
He is hoping the new CEO will encounter "less fights and less challenges".
"The big hurdle we now need to cross is the governance issue," Hilaire said. "It is one issue that I was never able to cross the line with, but I hope the next CEO can stay through to make sure that there is a restructuring of the Board to make it a better board."