Cricket expectations
Guyana Chronicle
April 4, 2007

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THE current fortunes of West Indies cricket do not provide much cause for rallying cries and it is left to be seen if the team can give their fans something to really shout for before Cricket World Cup 2007 is over.

There is a lot to ponder over the current dire straits of West Indies cricket because so much weight is put on the importance of the game in this part of the world.

Caribbean Community Secretary-General, Mr. Edwin Carrington, at a ceremony to honour the achievements of West Indies cricket last week, touched on how crucial it is.

West Indies cricket, he said, is one of the most remarkable forms of cooperation in that the build-up of the team consists of members chosen from the various CARICOM countries, yet playing as a single unit and successfully too for a number of years.

Remarking that he knows of no other area of regional endeavour in which the Caribbean has been so successful, the Secretary General wondered if the falling standards by the West Indies cricket team are a sign of something more fundamental, more profound, and that the spirit, efficiency, commitment and discipline of cooperation are also beginning to fall.

He called on those under his charge to prove that wrong by taking up the mantle so that there can be a complete turnaround, adding that the exercise is not only to boost West Indies into winning the World Cup.

That same leadership and commitment is needed to build the Caribbean, he added.

Cricket is not just cricket for the Caribbean. It goes deeper.

President Bharrat Jagdeo also touched on its importance yesterday.

Asked by renowned West Indian cricket commentator Tony Cozier what cricket means to Guyana, he said: “For a country as ours with a tradition of ethnic difficulties, I think it brings our people together. Cricket has an important role to play and sports generally, in bringing our people closer. This tournament, because it was a national project would help a lot in cementing stronger national relations.”

And the legendary Clive Lloyd had his bit yesterday.

He said the West Indies team are under a lot of pressure to become the first host to win the World Cup, saying the players are not “seasoned professionals” and need to understand the pride of playing for the West Indies.

Lloyd, the team coordinator, said the performance of the team was disappointing, but added that some members of the team haven’t played a lot of cricket and the challenge is to help them realise their roles.

He reflected that in his early days he used to stand with his scrap book outside the Georgetown Cricket Club trying to identify the cricketers and dreaming to be like them.

He said he “sincerely” hopes that the young players on the West Indies will have the same pride. Lloyd said West Indies cricket has a long way to go, with a number of “obstacles” to overcome and he hopes to be part of the upward trend.

There is no doubt that something is seriously wrong with something that so many people around the region hold dear and it is to be hoped that a reversal of the decline is not long in the coming.

Too much hinges on cricket in this part of the world for it to be left simply to chance.