Cricket World Cup 2007 By Pryor Jonas
Stabroek News
August 16, 2003

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As our Sports Editor was good enough to point out last week, my regular Saturday column was resumed only then because of my being incapacitated following a hit-and-run accident.

One of my regular readers I had the honour of teaching him at school took the opportunity to send me an e-mail, the contents of which have turned all my plans upside down. Here is the gist of it:

A group of international sports trade partners has identified Cricket World Cup 2007 as a priority. With the support of the various British High Commissions in the Caribbean, and the Windies World Cup Organizing Committee 2007, Jamaica, Trinidad and Barbados were visited to help Chris Dehring Managing Director Designate for Windies World Cup 2007, the World Cup Steering Committees and Cricket Boards in Jamaica, Trinidad and Barbados. It would seem that the Windies World Cup are looking at dividing matches into three categories:

1. Major game—50,000 capacity
2. Up to 20,000 capacity
3. Up to 12,000 capacity

Dehring also hints at structural changes. The odds are on an increase from fourteen to sixteen teams, which even Ali Bacher, Dehring’s predecessor, admitted were too many. Sixteen teams could neatly create four preliminary pools of four, leading to eight teams in a second phase that could go straight to quarter-finals of two groups of four to produce four semi-finalists.

No mention is made, as you must see, of Guyana. And you don’t need to be a mathematician to figure out that the categories given above will preclude Guyana’s hosting a major game.

I protest. To give backing to my protest, I will not be writing any more on cricket except on our heroes, both Guyana’s and those of our so-called traditional centres until the whole matter is satisfactorily resolved.

Let me then thank my friend, Mr Ian Lye, a Guyanese like myself, who is also, like myself, proud of his Caribbean heritage. I suspect that he was implicitly showing me that I’m fighting a losing battle. Nevertheless, for those who did not read last Saturday’s column, I’ll end by repeating my last two paragraphs and so reiterate my stand:

“On no account can we contemplate belittling, let alone being dismissive of our cricketing traditions. If we let ourselves be seduced into jumping onto the proposed bit-time commercial bandwagon, where our traditional centres are pooh-poohed, we will sooner rather than later lose both corn and husk.

“It seems that we in Guyana and elsewhere are only finally aware of our tenuous position staging a World Cup. It is imperative, therefore, that the cricketing authorities press our Government to make certain that we’re not an also-ran. This was why I could never accept the position of Dehring that has made much of the phrase ‘so-called traditional centres.’ Our history of Test cricket makes it imperative at least to me, that our four traditional centres must be included. For when a world history of cricket is written, we must ensure that cricketing heroes like Fernandes, Gibbs, Kanhai, Lloyd, Fredericks and Kallicharran are never forgotten, that future generations must know repeat, MUST know of Bourda and Kensington Oval, of Queen’s Park and Sabina. For those are names to be revered, names that bring sweet music to every Caribbean ear.”

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