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Stanford 20/20, National Sports Awards in retrospect


last weekend, there were two sporting events that grabbed the attention of many. One played out regionally, but with an international appeal- the final stages Stanford 20/20 Cricket Tournament, and the other purely a local undertaking- the National Sports Awards.{{more}}

While there was a marked difference in the coverage and significance of the two, they are worth taking a critical look.

The Stanford 20/20 has captured the attention and imagination of the region and, to some extent, the wider world.

The winner, Trinidad and Tobago, is now known; monies pocketed, players and their respective boards better off, but what about the Caribbean’s Cricket?

The level of cricket in the month long Stanford tournament was poor, to say the least, except for some improvements in the ground fielding. In the main, there was some brainless cricket exhibited. But this just underlines the status of West Indies cricket, as this was the best the region had to offer who were on show.

The ‘Big guns’, all of whom returned from South Africa, also failed to ignite and were pale. What next, now that the bright lights, the big prizes, the non-stop gyrating and the frolicking are over?

The regional four-day competition restarts today, Friday, but do the same players have that ability to switch to the longer format? In the 20/20 set up that just ended, bowlers knew from the outset they are only allowed four overs. Can they now adjust without this premonition and deal with the unpredicted? Can the batsmen re-condition their minds to the fact that the match is four days rather than three hours? The swash buckling , “vupping” and improvisation have been shelved temporarily, as we should return to some sort of sanity in our cricket.

It is said that hindsight is 20/20 vision, but truncating your premier competition for the 20/20 tournament version cannot assist the region’s struggling cricketers.

But what was more disturbing was to hear the “Legends”, many of whom I hold great respect, afraid to call a spade a spade, and say that the 20/20 was merely for entertainment.

But again, their role is to give credibility and, of course, Stanford was the Piper, and obviously he called the tunes.

Stanford himself was the centre piece of attraction, his every move always to be picked up by the cameras, being interviewed each night.

Subtly, Stanford, with his power of the buck, is slowly crafting his way in cricket circles, creating a 21st century form of colonialism.

Despite the undercurrents and downside, what is certain is that Stanford has created a niche with which he may well derail the West Indies Cricket Board. They could just find themselves at the mercies of Stanford and his well thought out plan.

National Sports Awards

The formality of awarding the top performers for the past year has come and gone.

The ceremony, while well meant, has lost some of its sheen, and has emerged in a mundane affair as there seems to be a lack of interest from some national associations.

It may be the time for the National Sports Council to take a review of the event, with the certainty of revamping and re-organising it, to make it really and truly a gala affair.

Judging from last Saturday’s ceremony, there was a distinct absence of pomp and panache. The bland appearance of the official platform and the general décor of the venue belied the occasion.

I sense that much prominence is not being given to the ceremony. The lethargy at meeting the deadline for the submission of the various nominees points to the lax view of the annual exercise.

Hitherto, there was not much hype to Saturday night’s awards. To see nominees nonchalantly lumbering to the Arnos Vale Sports Complex, more than half an hour after the scheduled start, tells the lack of interest the event holds and the general malaise that surrounds sports here in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

The event itself started thirty-seven minutes late, for reasons not known.

Maybe the members of the National Sports Council, with all their day-to-day commitments, when having to organize an event of such significance, should turn to persons specialised in event management to take care of the Awards Ceremony.

However, as a prelude to this, all sporting associations and the council itself MUST see the National Sports Awards as the PREMIER celebration of the nation’s top athletes.

Maybe the offer of US$1000 for the Sports Personality of the Year must be looked at. This is no longer an extrinsic motivator for anyone to strive for. A more substantial award may be able to put some spunk and whip up interest.

But kudos must be extended to the various winners of last Saturday’s event. Also, special commendation to SVGTV for its Saturday afternoon sports programming. You can only get better. Thank you; it was long overdue!

But no commendation for those who chose to erect that ‘Mound’ at the Sion Hill Playing Field.