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International Cricket in America different from the Caribbean

International Cricket in America different from the Caribbean

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by Oscar Ramjeet Fri, Jul 6. 2012

Thousands of members of the Caribbean diaspora came from far and wide (Canada to California to New York) to Broward Regional Park in South Florida, last weekend, to witness the two Twenty/20 matches New Zealand vs West Indies. They were overjoyed to see their team whip the tourists in both matches.{{more}}

They were happy to see their idol Chris Gayle in ripping form, which earned him ‘Man of the Series’ and new boy Sunil Narine, who mesmerized the New Zealand batsmen.

It was the first time in years that the Caribbean team had won a tournament and it was also the first time international cricket was played on Florida soil. It is felt there is need for improvement in the facilities, and I understand that three former West Indies legends will assist the administrators of the Central Broward Regional Park this regard.

I spoke to one them, Clive Lloyd, the most successful West Indies captain, who was also manager, and he confirmed that he has pledged to assist former star batsman Lawrence Rowe, who is an official of the Broward Regional Park and Lance Gibbs, who decades ago held the world record for taking the most wickets, and who is Advisor to Digicel, the sponsors of West Indies cricket. They will try to ensure the ground is up to international standards.

Lloyd is now heading the Interim Management Committee (IMC) appointed by the Guyana government to administer cricket in Guyana, following reports of deep-seated problems plaguing the Guyana Cricket Board, following a Court ruling by Chief Justice Ian Chang. However, the IMC was not recognized by the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) and the former captain was forced to resign as a Director of the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) because of conflict of interest. Moreover, the International Cricket Council (ICC) is also not in favour of the IMC and accused the Guyana Government of interferring in the administration of cricket.

There were a few lapses at Broward: there were no side screens, there was only one scoreboard which was not up to standard because there was no slot for the names of bowlers, etc and fans could have hardly read the board because the letters were not big and bold enough; and, as Clive Lloyd puts it there were “a few rough edges”. Mayor of Lauderhill, Richard Kaplan conceded and said “we are now creeping, because we are in the infant stages and everything would be rectified sooner than later”.

Hundreds of cricket fans from the diaspora were very upset they had to be searched before gaining entry to the ground. They were not aware that this is a requirement in baseball, basketball and other sports in the United States.

More over, food and drinks were not allowed, because it would deprive stallholders, who paid hundreds of dollars per day to sell, of returns. This is unlike Bourda, Kensington Oval, Queens Park, Arnos Vale, Windsor Park and other cricketing venues in the region, where fans take baskets laden with rum, whisky, vodka, cook-up rice, roti and curry, patties and other delicacies.

While some conceded that the American way is different from the Caribbean, some argued that the culture of Caribbean cricket is not the same as in the United States and that the US regulations should be waived. This, of course, would never be allowed.

Most members of the diaspora who are cricket starved are hoping that more matches would be played in Broward, which can accommodate as many as 18,000 spectators.

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