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Cricket World Cup and our region

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The game of cricket that we Vincentians and fellow West Indians have come to so love, has a known history spanning as far back as the 16th century with origins in England. It was introduced to our region by colonists in the first half of the 18th Century. That period also marked the start of the spread of cricket to other parts of the globe. It arrived in Australia almost as soon as colonisation began in 1788, while New Zealand and South Africa followed in the early years of the 19th century. Although the official history of international Test Cricket began in 1877, international matches have been played since 1844. In 1877, an English touring team played two matches against Australia that are now regarded as the inaugural Test matches. South Africa later became the third Test nation in 1889.{{more}}

Cricket is part of the culture of a large percentage of the world’s population. This is evident as nearly one hundred countries are in membership of the governing body of world cricket. Australia, England and South Africa are the first and founding members of the organisation International Cricket Council (ICC) which came into existence as early as 1909. Currently Ehsan Mani of Pakistan functions as the president at the headquarters in Dubai. As the ICC strives to remain true to the vision of success, that ‘as a leading global sport, cricket will captivate and inspire people of every age, gender, background and ability while building bridges between continents, countries and communities we anticipate a spirit of togetherness among our fellow cricket fans worldwide, as the biggest cricket event in the world is set to come to the Caribbean region.

The opening ceremony of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2007 is now just eight days away. Although St. Vincent and the Grenadines is not a scheduled venue for any of the tournament matches in the Cricket World Cup, the excitement of the scheduled warm-up matches is no less exciting than if an actual match was going to be played here at our Arnos Vale playing field. Many persons would seek time-off from their busy schedules and should have already purchased tickets for the week of the March 5th – 9th to see England, Bermuda, Australia and Zimbabwe in their warm-up matches here.

Throughout the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) the Single Market and Economy, being a single domestic Caribbean space for the next two months is not the beginning or end of our region’s singular attribute. The world cup should further propel our linkages to set our sights on future applications for hosting other similar world class events. Here at home we are urged to be extremely cooperative in an environment of heightened security.

The ICC Cricket World Cup 2007 will set a precedent as being the largest event to be hosted in the Caribbean region. As the 16-nation tournament and its fans converge in the single space from March 10 – April 28, at nine venues throughout the region from Jamaica’s Sabina Park to Guyana’s National Stadium our population must act responsibly. As the Vincentian society has never been known as a hostile people the expectation is that as the third largest TV sporting event touches down here, we must operate on an international level for an international event.

As we rise to the occasion, our maturity as a society will be a confirmation of our ability and readiness to participate in the process of becoming an international destination for tourists. On a macro-economic level, our region is poised to take great advantage of the occasion to supply the increasing demands on our market. Throughout the Caribbean hotel prices have doubled and tripled in some instances. Restaurants have hired additional staff, vendors fully stocked, car rental companies are ready and the tourists and hospitality industry should be in full gear.

Team West Indies, led by the remarkable Brian Lara has the aptitude to go all the way to the finals. Bennett King the head coach thinks that the line up is the best combination for the team, “a blend of youth and experience” were the words he used to describe the 15-man squad. The West Indies hope for winning the ICC Cricket World Cup 2K7 is in the hands of four specialist fast bowlers Ian Bradshaw, Jerome Taylor, Corey Collymore and Daren Powell. Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Ramnaresh Sarwan (vice-captain), Chris Gayle, Marlon Samuels, Dwayne Bravo, Dwayne Smith, Kieron Pollard, Denesh Ramdin, Lendl Simmons, Devon Smith, and as reserves Daren Sammy, Sylvester Joseph, Dave Mohammed, Fidel Edwards and Runako Morton.

Optimism that West Indies could be the first host nation to win the World Cup is fuelled by their performance in last year’s Champion Trophy in India. West Indies won the first two World Cups in 1975 and 1979 in England, but have failed to reach the semifinals since then. We are all anxious to see if the West Indies would succeed in winning the cup from the defending third time winning champion Australia. As we rally around the West Indies, let us remember that the eyes of the world will be not only on our team but also on our people as we demonstrate our true West Indian potential.

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