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Cricket matches prove we can rise to the occasion

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Fri, Mar 23. 2012

Vincentian cricket fans can feel very pleased following our successful hosting of the trio of One Day International matches between the West Indies and Australia. While the nerve-racking end to Tuesday’s match and the resultant tie, when a win seemed inevitable, left a tinge of disappointment, the context of the Windies performance must be borne in mind.{{more}}

It has been more than six years since the Caribbean cricketers had beaten the all-conquering Aussies, who, but for recent lapses following the retirement of most of their bigger stars, had dominated international cricket for most of this century. In addition, the rejuvenated Australians had just comprehensively crushed former top-ranked India, and then went on to win a tri-nation tournament with the Indians and Sri Lanka.

One could, therefore, be forgiven for not giving the under-performing West Indies much of a chance, even though at home, against the tourists. This feeling would have been strengthened when, in all too typical fashion, the home team once more slumped to defeat, when seemingly set to win the first ODI last Friday. But, in spite of still evident batting lapses, the Windies demonstrated a fighting spirit that has not always characterized their matches. They fought back when their backs were against the wall, and now go on to St Lucia and the final two matches of the ODI series on even terms.

This display has reawakened interest both in the game itself and in the regional team, not only among cricket fans, but also among our youth. Our cricketing authorities must be complimented for providing opportunities for school children to view the matches live and to be able to experience the international atmosphere. We must also praise the thoughtfulness in also offering some tickets to senior citizens as well as to permit the live television broadcast of Tuesday’s game, so that those who could not physically be present could at least share in the excitement. The Government also played its part in supporting the venture in granting a public holiday, thereby facilitating a sell-out crowd on Tuesday.

In spite of the new “high”, it is important that we in the Caribbean, cricketers and fans alike, do not get carried away by the recent results. As the old saying goes, “one swallow does not a summer make”. We still have a lot to do, on the field and off. Caribbean cricket is still riddled with avoidable administrative problems. Even amidst all the enthusiasm generated in St Vincent, efforts were being made to settle the drawn-out Chris Gayle saga, without a final resolution. Truly amazing, given the range of persons involved, right up to Heads of Government. We need to get these things right and utilize the renewed interest to place the game in the region on a sound foundation and on the road back up to the dizzying heights of the seventies and eighties.

Finally, the success of the past cricketing week can only reassure us all about our ability to rise to the occasion. We often suffer from much negativity, such as was expressed when the Buccama Resort was under construction. We have lived to hear the rave reviews and its role in our successful hosting of the teams. That confidence we can take with us in our efforts at reviving our agricultural industry, in boosting the local economy, and in accomplishing the mammoth national task of the completion of the Argyle International Airport.

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