Cricket -- keeping hope alive
Editorial Viewpoint by Rickey Singh
April 1, 2007
BOB Woolmer's shocking death, still being treated as a case of murder, is undoubtedly the most tragic and traumatic occurrence involving a high profile personality in the history of Cricket World Cup.
But there are also some other striking precedents.
For instance, for the very first time, teams from two of Asia's internationally renowned cricket nations, India and Pakistan, have been eliminated at the preliminary stage of a CWC tournament.
Upsets have been the order of the day in matches so far played, resulting in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh winning their places for the 'Super Eight' stage with England and even powerful South Africa scrambling to qualify for the finals against current trophy holder Australia.
For our own home team we can only hope that disappointing performances do not follow them into today's crucial match against the Sri Lankans who seem quite confident of reaching the finals to battle Australia.
It is only natural that the country folks of all participating teams would like victory for their own -- even against the odds. We in the West Indies are no different. Therefore, "rallying round the West Indies" is the unofficial anthem that we keep singing in the face of losses already suffered.
That is why it was so good, so very encouraging that a rousing welcome was organised to greet the West Indies team on arrival Friday at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport.
It would have been a measure of welcome therapy for Brian Lara and his colleagues who have together made us proud, on numerous previous occasions, as a great cricketing region of the world.
They can do it again today and move on to prove their critics wrong and strengthen the hopes of fans across the entire region and the Diasporas in going beyond the semi-final.
So let the music play, and let the International Cricket Council's Chief Executive Malcolm Speed be happy to know that in Guyana he had come to experience the "joyful noise" and much of the traditional colourful behaviour in support of cricket that he has missed in earlier matches played at other venues for CWC 07.
For their part, the Guyana Government and the Local Organising Committee would have been very much encouraged, and deservingly so, to have received unambiguous endorsements from Speed and, earlier, CWC Venue Development Director Donald Lockerbie. That is for achievements both in national stadium and accommodation-readiness -- contrary to all the negative reporting and doomsday predictions.
At his press conference on Thursday, shared with LOC Chief Executive Officer Karran Singh, Lockerbie made clear: "All the talk that was circulating about matches being taken from Guyana, I found ridiculous..."
Unfortunately, some sections of the local and regional media seemed not to have awakened to the fact that there NEVER was any switching of management control from the Local Organising Committee as had been misleadingly reported.
In the circumstances, it may be quite appropriate to repeat what the ICC's Speed told a press conference on Friday, with Sports and Culture Minister Frank Anthony next to him:
"Your country has much to be proud of. You have built an outstanding cricket ground in a very short period of time. I first came here about two years ago and the cane fields had just been cleared and the playing surface had just been levelled. Nothing whatsoever had been built..."
Now, in place of those cane fields proudly stands the US$25 million Guyana National Stadium which -- as I have expressed, from a personal perspective in the local and regional media -- should be considered for renaming after the illustrious Clive Lloyd, identified as one of the very great captains in the history of international cricket.