Thursday, 29 March 2007

Worries in the West Indies Camp

Thursday and the Windies made the previous day’s performance look good. Another horrible batting performance characterised by the same don’t care attitude along with an unexplainable team selection and it now is two losses in the Super Eights. It seems as if the only team the West Indies may beat is Bangladesh and even then that cannot be taken for granted. I will not waste my time going through the individual batting performances but what really baffles me is that a fast bowler is dropped for a batsman and this team of so-called batsmen can still only muster 177 runs. Nine batsmen in a team and they cannot even manage to make 200 and then with only one strike bowler, this lowly total has to be defended!

On top of the worries on the field, all the organisational problems continue to grab headlines. The stadiums are empty, fans are crying out about the expensive ticket prices/ ridiculous regulations about food, drink and musical instruments and the expectations for large numbers of tourist arrivals now seem to have been unfounded.

Is all this gloom justified or are people too quick to rush to judgement with four weeks still remaining?

Wednesday, 28 March 2007

Podiatric Problems Continue, West Indian Reality Check and Slinga Malinga’s Beaver Trick

*Photo from

I got up on Monday feeling some pain and lots of tightness in my heel, especially the back of it. I couldn’t even wear the boot with my foot in the position it should be in because of the pain and tightness in my heel. I decided that I should seek a second opinion just to make sure that I don’t end up with my foot in a worse situation than it was in January so I called a podiatrist who was recommended by a colleague and was lucky to get an appointment the same day. It was reassuring to hear that the treatment I have been undergoing is normal. The podiatrist also said that the tightness in the heel was expected as tendons and muscles became very tight when casted and from lack of use. The only thing he stressed was that I should begin therapy soon and that he expected I would require it for a lengthy period of time. I made an appointment to see my podiatrist and saw him today. He told me the same thing about cast, inactivity and tightness but he was also worried that it was so painful. He said that in some cases, patients would unknowingly tear a tight tendon with a sudden foot movement when sleeping and so I had to go to do an MRI to make sure I have not ruptured my Achilles tendon. I must admit that this is becoming rather frustrating as it seems to be one step forward two steps backward. As usual I quickly did some research on Achilles tendon ruptures, symptoms, treatment etc and while I have been worried I think it may just be severe tightness and tendonitis. If it is only this, then according to the doctor I can begin therapy next week. If not, then ….

Comprehensively beaten by a ruthless Aussie team. As I expected, the Aussies rattled up a huge total. It began well for the Windies as they got an early wicket and kept the scoring rate low but some poor bowling and captaincy coupled with a brutal Hayden assault meant that the good start was negated and Australia ended up with 40-50 more runs than they should have gotten. Special mention must go to Bravo who has taken to bowling his “slow ball” so often each over that one wonders if he has a brain and also to Lara for not bowling Smith. The batting performance was pathetic today as we witnessed the usual batting collapse. Chanderpaul was the beneficiary of a poor umpiring decision (this is not an excuse but it seems that an abnormal amount of poor umpiring decisions go against the West Indies and particularly Lara and Chanderpaul) but most of the batsmen deserve a serious hiding for gifting their hands. Gayle did all the hard work by surviving the early bowling test only to play a stupid shot. Samuels is back to his old self obviously because I cannot in any way fathom why he ran down the pitch and swiped at McGrath. Sarwan once again played himself in and then played a poor shot and what was worse was that it was a rank full toss. Bravo needs a whipping for his poor shot and Smith did the norm- hit a six and get out. Lara and Ramdin fought hard but it wasn’t enough. All that was required was some sensible batting and mental toughness, but to ask that of this current crop is like asking them to squeeze water from a rock.

Lasith Malinga, with that slinging action that is such a joy to watch made history as he became the first bowler to take a beaver trick in One Day Internationals. Those two overs were unbelievable and as one cricket journalist said, “if only stumps had hair” Malinga would have had five in five balls and Sri Lanka would have won the match. Fidel Edwards who burst onto the international scene a few years ago in sensational fashion has a similar action to Malinga and is just as pacy if not pacier, but obviously as seems to be the case with our cricketers compared to those from other countries, ours do not possess the same discipline and commitment. A West Indies team playing with an on song Fidel would have been a much better one.

Sunday, 25 March 2007

200th Anniversary of the British Abolition of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade

Today marks the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the trans-Atlantic slave trade by Britain. Much has been written and will be written about the slave trade and slavery but I don’t think justice will ever be done to the topic until some people face the truth and are completely honest with themselves. Just as many have produced excellent literature on the subject, many have tried to reduce it to a certain epoch in history and as something to be forgotten. Of course it is easy for the descendants of the perpetrators of this crime against humanity to say this, for after all their riches have been made, their societies have industrialised on the blood, sweat and tears of African slaves and they do not continue to suffer from the negative legacy of slavery. Not to mention, the countries which benefited from slavery are fundamentally opposed to any mention of reparations. However, while these people are despicable, even worse are the revisionists, pseudo-intellectuals and apologists (many driven by right wing evangelical zeal) who attempt to shift the blame onto Africans, arguing that it was Africans who sold their people into slavery and then seek to paint a picture of humanitarian European acts to abolish the slave trade and slavery. I have nothing but contempt for people like this, especially when they are black.

However the truth is the truth and despite their endeavours to propagate lies and mislead people, these are some facts about the slave trade, slavery and colonialism:

The trans-Atlantic slave trade and the enslavement of Africans by Europeans are without doubt one of the worst cases of barbarism, cruelty and injustice in history and is a crime against humanity.

Europe and America industrialised and enriched themselves on the blood, sweat and tears of African slaves. Slavery and colonialism fuelled their economic growth for over three centuries and the exploitation, rape and pillage of the people and raw materials of the colonised lands served to underdevelop Africa.

Slavery has always been a part of human history and there was slavery in Africa before European slavery. However European slavery was a totally different type and there is no comparison between slavery in Africa and the Middle Passage, the total reduction of a human being to mere chattel and the sheer brutality and magnitude of the European system. Revisionists also like to point out somewhat triumphantly that Africans sold their brothers/sisters into slavery. This may have been true but it is nothing like the picture they paint. Slavery was a part of African customs but was not an integral aspect of the local economies and one of the first things my history books noted was that Europeans raided villages to obtain slaves. Obviously as time went on and the corrupt ways of the Europeans began to influence the local populations, slaves were brought to them, but as it stood, the European economies’ thirst for slave labour was fuelled by slave raids.

The slave trade and slavery were abolished mainly for economic reasons as brilliantly argued by Eric Williams in his seminal work, Capitalism and Slavery. Slavery as a form of labour had become unviable and hence it was abolished. The role of abolitionists like Wilberforce and Clarkson was important but has been rendered undue prominence to convey the impression that the Europeans in some great moralistic and ethical wave granted freedom to the enslaved. The fact is that if it had not become an economic liability to maintain the status quo, the British government would have never changed the system.

The role slave rebellions played in the end of slavery has also been largely ignored. The planters lived with the constant fear of slaves rebelling and of another Haiti. In the end it was better to agree to free the slaves than to live with this fear or worse to experience a rebellion.

Opposition to slavery did not necessarily mean being a Wilberforce. All those who died during the middle passage and all those who rebelled and resisted either passively or actively played a significant role which cannot be marginalised. There were also quite a few blacks who were involved in the “intellectual” opposition to slavery in the US and UK, such as Harriet Jacobs, Frederick Douglas and Olaudah Equiano (incidentally Equaino was first brought as a slave to Barbados). They wrote books, pamphlets, memoirs and give lectures but as is the norm, Wilberforce, Clarkson et al are afforded all the praise and attention.

Race and economics were the two primary reasons for European slavery and are so intertwined that they cannot be treated separately or one given prominence over the other. A desire for empire and riches was conveniently married to the belief in superiority and the quest to civilise the dark world. Greed, lust for power, notions of racial superiority, religious fervour and pure evil all merged and reinforced each other to enable and justify the oppression of fellow human beings.

Compensation and reparations, words that many regard as taboo, are very real issues which must be addressed. It is not only logical that Europe pays reparations but also moral: the wealth of Europe and America was gained on the basis of the exploitation, oppression, blood, sweat and tears of African slaves and on the rape and pillage of the raw materials of Africa and the developing world; there must be some form of compensation, plain and simple. The notion of reparations is not unique or new. Slaveholders in the US and Caribbean were compensated for the “loss” of their slaves; Haiti had to pay reparations to France for having the audacity to win independence; the Germans paid reparations after World War One and paid between 60 and 100 billion US dollars to Israel and the Jews for the Holocaust; banks and insurance companies and other institutions which benefited financially from the Holocaust are still to this day paying reparations. However, when black people speak about reparations, they are told that it is not possible after such a long period of time has passed, that they should move on, stop dwelling in the past etc. When one speaks of reparations, one does not necessarily mean cash payments to countries or individuals. For me, compensation is about international policies to reverse the negative effects of racism and slavery, partnerships between developed and developing countries to promote social and economic growth, investment to foster the human resources of developing countries, fair international trading rules, a transparent and democratic international economic and financial system and international relations acted out on the basis of morality and decency rather than economic greed and quest for power. I guess this is probably asking too much!

One of the lasting legacies of slavery and colonialism is the mental enslavement that still continues to negatively affect the way people think and act. The absolute dehumanisation of the slaves and the systematic destruction of religion, language and culture, creation of stereotypes and a hierarchy based on race and the denial of African history would serve to and continues to define Africa, the African diaspora and relations between and within races. The fact that concepts such as “good hair” and “pretty brown skin” still prevail and that people can still adamantly state that if not for slavery and colonialism they would still be “swinging around in trees in Africa” or “suffering in Africa” is an indication that the psychological shackles on some people need to be removed.

Despite all of this, the endurance of African slaves and their descendants in the face of everything they faced is amazing. Living in a world where they were at one point not even regarded as complete human beings, the people of the Diaspora have managed to create pluralistic societies (in the case of the Caribbean) and have contributed in every way to the world, from music, cuisine and culture to science, literature, politics and sports.

Alrighty, I began with the intention of just making a few points and instead have ended up with much more. I can’t help it! I like to write and if I get started about something I am interested in, it is difficult to stop.

Friday, 23 March 2007

South Asian Disaster

*Photo from

*Photo from

The marketing men will be fuming, for after all, a large number of the major sponsors of CWC 2007 are from India or have an Indian connection. The television people will be devastated after purchasing the rights to televise the tournament. The fans, anyone familiar with cricket knows, are fanatical and already the outcry and worse has begun.

The highly rated Indians appear to be joining Pakistan on their way home, barring a miracle victory by Bermuda over Bangladesh. After slaughtering minnows Bermuda mid-week, they met up with an inspired Sri Lankan team who clinically showed them the door. The Indian batting giants once again failed, with Tendulkar out for 0. Instead of India and Pakistan, the Asians will be represented by Bangladesh and Sri Lanka in the next round.

The West Indies won convincingly against Pakistan’s tormentors Ireland, but my doubts about whether they will be able to compete with the in form teams- Australia, South Africa, Sri Lanka and New Zealand- continue to linger. When Jeremy Bray was flaying the bowling, the bowlers had no clue about how to respond and the captaincy was poor. Bray is a one dimensional batsman and the solution as the commentators kept pointing out was simple, yet still the bowlers continued to feed him short balls wide outside off and the captain showed no signs of leadership. If they do this in the second round against top batsmen they will be subjected to a massacre. It was good to see Chanderpaul return to form and he played some great shots; Samuels looked in good nick; Ramdin did well behind the stumps. Gayle bowled well, but batting wise, after a few big strokes he gifted his hand and demonstrated once again that he does not have much of a cricketing brain!

Onto Antigua on Tuesday for the first game of the Super Eights- West Indies versus Australia- where hopefully West Indies can produce some magic. Before that we still have South Africa versus Australia tomorrow in the final game of Group A. On a track which has seen some huge scores so far, I expect a run fest.

Wednesday, 21 March 2007

Sharpeville Massacre 1960, Inzamam and the End of a Glorious Career

On March 21st, 1960, policemen of the apartheid South African state opened fire on innocent civilians participating in a Pan-Africanist Congress (PAC) organised protest against the notorious segregationist pass laws. The demonstration which numbered around 5 000 - 7 000 was a peaceful one but turned violent when the police force, unprovoked, opened fire and slaughtered sixty-nine people, including eight women and ten children. Of the 180 people who were wounded, thirty-one were women and nineteen were children. Many of the bullets fired had hit the victims in their backs, further indication that they had been trying to escape and were not attacking the police as the government claimed. The massacre was followed by protests and demonstrations and on March 30th, 1960, the apartheid regime declared a state of emergency and detained thousands of people. It also banned the PAC and the African National Congress (ANC). The Sharpeville Massacre was also greeted by international protests.

While the years leading up to Sharpeville had seen a marked increase in resistance against apartheid, the massacre proved to be a watershed as black South Africans realised that non-violence could not solely be relied on to defeat the forces of the apartheid regime. Speaking during his trial in October 1962, Nelson Mandela stated: “Government violence can do only one thing and that is to breed counter-violence. We have warned repeatedly that the Government, by resorting continually to violence, will breed in this country counter-violence among the people till ultimately if there is no dawning of sanity on the part of the Government, the dispute between the Government and my people will finish up by being settled in violence and by force”.

On this day also in 1992, a young man playing in his first World Cup would slam a 37-ball 60 against New Zealand and lead his team to a win in the semi-finals. He may not have reached anywhere near his heights of 1992 in subsequent World Cup campaigns in 1996, 1999 and 2003 but in the fifteen years since, Inzamam ul Haq proved himself over and over as one of the all time one day international batting greats. His test record is even better! Exactly fifteen years later to that semi-final game in which he announced his arrival on the big stage, Inzamam played his final one-day international. It was a far cry this March 21st from that March 21st in 1992, as this World Cup has gone from bad to worse for the great man and his team: defeated by West Indies in the first game, embarrassed by minnows Ireland and then the suspicious death of their coach Bob Woolmer in his hotel room. As captain, Inzamam may be public enemy number one in cricket crazy Pakistan at the moment, but I am sure the sight of him walking off the field in tears as he bid farewell to the cricketing world today would have softened hearts towards a man who give so much to Pakistani cricket. He was a joy to watch when in full flow and beyond his cricketing prowess he was a character, from the chubby beardless young man prone to running out his partners to the bearded elder statesman who began all his interviews and press statements with a “First of all thank you to Allah” and interspersed them with numerous “Inshaallahs”. Thank you Inzamam.

Tuesday, 20 March 2007

Cricket is my passion, so there!

A friend from Barbados was reading my blog today and made a comment to me on msn: "who cares about cricket". Hmmmmm. Well for one, me. It is a passion of mine and this is my blog, so I will write about cricket if I feel like! Besides me, over a billion people around the world. Cricket World Cup is the third largest sporting event after the Olympics and Football World Cup! So cricket is one of my many passions (and one of the relatively non-political, hence something I can write about in a public forum) and its World Cup time, so naturally my blog will now witness a certain bias in favour of this glorious game which for West Indians is more than just a sport.

And speaking of team sports, I will take the liberty of sharing this article on the CEO of the International Cricket Council, Malcolm Speed, hailing the West Indies cricket team as the 20th century's greatest phenomenon in world team sports. On second thoughts, I will just share the link since the whole article may make this post too lengthy. Read it if you get a chance; it is very interesting.

Monday, 19 March 2007

More Time Home, an Indian Massacre and a West Indian Struggle

I went back to the doctor again today. The swelling has diminished quite a bit but my foot is still painful. The limited walking experiment of the past few days has been called off as not only did I feel tingling sensations because of the tightness from being in a cast (which alone would have been fine) but also because my foot is still very painful. Mr. Podiatrist decided that it was best to just rest my foot and allow the tendons to heal fully and the tendonitis to disappear. He give me another cortisone shot again (which hurt more than the previous two, maybe because this one was closer to my ankle while the others were on my heel) and told me he wouldn’t cast me again as he trusted me not to abuse the boot and walk in it but keep my foot up when using the crutches. He averages that I will be home from work for a minimum of another six weeks! Thank God for the Barbadian social security system, which despite its many flaws, is still better than what prevails in many developed countries. If I was an American or living here as a normal immigrant, I would probably be out of a job by now.

The status quo was restored today when India massacred Bermuda. Actually it was restored yesterday when Australia slaughtered Netherlands. Order was also restored when West Indies won unconvincingly against Zimbabwe. There is no way that a team like Zimbabwe should have made 202 especially after losing those early wickets. The batting was not as disappointing as the bowling but it could still have been better. The openers were going along at a steady pace when Chanderpaul was drawn into a false stroke and then for the umpteenth time Gayle got out the same way he always does- caught behind the wicket. I just hope Chanderpaul can inject some life into his batting for the next match. Gayle seemed to be getting back into some sort of form but I find it so annoying that after all this time playing international cricket he still gets out the same way over and over. There is absolutely no excuse for mediocrity. Sarwan is also very annoying in his inability to play the short ball. How many times now has he been hit on his head? The way he took his eyes off the ball was also so school boyish and frankly pathetic. We saw the Samuels of old today but let’s hope that it was a one off and his new found maturity returns next match. There are many who will criticise Lara for batting so cautiously but I thought he played the perfect innings. It was a much better strategy to pace his innings and make sure he batted to the end. The fact is he should never have even been required to come out to the middle as the runs should have been knocked off with the loss of a maximum of one wicket. The batsmen who gifted their hands should be criticised, not Lara who did the smart thing and ensured a victory rather than attempting some big hitting heroics, losing his hand and overseeing the inevitable collapse. It was a captain’s innings.

Saturday, 17 March 2007

Revenge of the Minnows on a Green Day

Sabina Park, Jamaica. Pakistan decked out in their green outfit versus Ireland also playing in their green team uniform; a green tinged pitch; St. Patrick’s Day.

Queen’s Park Oval, Trinidad. Bangladesh dressed in their green kit playing India.

Two huge cricketing upsets, both on the same day.

Ireland did the impossible and caused one of the biggest upsets in recent cricket history. Their victory ranks with Sri Lanka v India (1979), Zimbabwe v Australia (1983), Kenya v West Indies (1996), Bangladesh v Pakistan (1999) Kenya v Sri Lanka (2003) and Canada v Bangladesh (2003) among upsets in World Cup matches. Congrats to the Irish.

Bangladesh’s victory over India, while not as much of an upset as Ireland’s win over Pakistan, was still unexpected. It was great to see a team of young players, some still in their teens, defeat an Indian team filled with modern day batting giants.

If India lose to Sri Lanka and follow Pakistan home, it will be a nightmare for international cricket’s marketing people! Imagine CWC 2007 second stage without the two teams with the largest and most fanatical fan base. Disaster for the businessmen!

A lot of people who have called for the minnows to be excluded from the World Cup will have to eat their words after today’s proceedings. Honestly though, upsets happen in every sport and add to the romanticism of these events. The fact is that they are far from the norm and order will be restored tomorrow when Australia play Netherlands and England play Canada. In my opinion, the jury still remains out on the issue.

Wednesday, 14 March 2007

Persistent Podiatric Woes and Musings on Cricketing Minnows

I went to the doctor again today. He delivered good and bad news. Good news is that the MRI shows that the torn tendon is healing. Bad news is that there is some new tenosynovitis and tendonitis, no improvement on the existing and there has been some worsening in two parts- Achilles tendon and posterior tibialis tendon. Even worse is that the MRI has revealed that the posterior tibialis is slightly torn. So now I have two torn tendons one on each side of my foot! My foot is also very swollen which I understand is from the tendonitis and inflammation etc. So it appears to be one step forward and two steps backward. The doctor said the MRI results sound worse than they really are. I am on antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medication for the swelling and inflammation and now wearing a special boot that allows me to “walk” on both feet while still using the crutches. I can take it off to sleep and shower. I am still supposed to rest and not put any weight on the foot if standing still. The boot is heavier than the cast but I guess the advantage is that I can take it off for showering and sleeping. The boot and continued rest are meant to heal the torn tendons and tenosynovitis and tendonitis; the medication is meant to help with the swelling, inflammation, tenosynovitis and tendonitis. The doctor also give me a cortisone shot which was the second one I have gotten. The first was in January. I have heard stories about how painful they are and so each time I expected acute pain; it actually wasn’t that bad.

I am going to be positive about this. At least the tendon which was so badly torn is healing and rest and the boot should heal the new tear. The tendonitis and tenosynovitis can also be healed by the rest and the medication. So hopefully just a few more weeks being immobile and some physical therapy afterwards and I will be ready to go.

I watched the last two hours of the Kenya/Canada game today. Kenya is in my opinion leaps and bounds ahead of the other minnows. It is a pity that the team doesn’t get to play top class opposition so often and even more of a pity that Steve Tikolo who is so much better than some batsmen in test playing teams will never get to play test cricket. I have mixed feelings about minnows competing in the World Cup. On the one hand they will never improve without competing against better opposition and to tell Ireland, Scotland, Bermuda or Canada that they shouldn’t play in the World Cup because they are not good enough is like telling Trinidad and Tobago or Jamaica that even though they qualified for the Football World Cup, they shouldn’t play because they are not good enough. Realistically however, how can two matches in a competition every three to four years help especially when they get massacred? Australia beating Scotland today by 203 runs in a one-day match is absolutely ridiculous! Not to mention, the “outstanding” and record breaking performances of players from top teams playing against minnows only serve to artificially inflate and exaggerate their averages etc.

Tuesday, 13 March 2007

Sir Frank Worrell- West Indian Hero

40 years ago on this day, the Caribbean lost one of its greatest leaders. He was not a Prime Minister or Premier, but the first black captain of the West Indies cricket team. Sir Frank Mortimer Maglinne Worrell succeeded in doing what no politician before him or since has been able to do- unite an archipelago of islands with a similar history but each with its own insular view of itself. It may not have been a political or economic union, but his achievement in bringing the region together through a beautiful game that is much more than a sport in the West Indies is unrivalled. Notwithstanding this, he was also a great batsman and a member of the legendary three Ws from Barbados. While Weekes was regarded as the best batsman of the trio and Walcott was a powerful hitter of the ball, Worrell was the poet and artist, being described as one who never made an ungrammatical stroke. Tragically, like quite a few other leaders and activists in the 1960s who challenged the status quo (Fanon, Malcolm X, MLK, Che, Lumumba), he died very young.

It was therefore fitting that the West Indies team which defeated Pakistan in the opening game of the World Cup today played like a cohesive unit instead of a bunch of disparate individuals like they have been doing so often in the past decade. While they started badly, once they had recovered, they never looked back. There were some questions over strategy but in the end everything worked out fine. Even more pleasing was that some of the players who have failed miserably to fulfil their obvious potential- Dwayne Smith and Marlon Samuels in particular- stepped up today and led the charge. If they continue to play like this and work on the weak areas, they can prove to be serious contenders for the Cup.

Monday, 12 March 2007

Surgery Imminent?

I spent a large part of my day at the doctor’s office today. I got the cast taken off and unfortunately, the pain in my foot has not diminished. So, another MRI and some nerve conduction tests were done and I return to doc on Wednesday for results. At this point it seems as if I will have no choice but to do surgery as six and a half weeks in a cast has not resulted in any improvement. I will keep holding out hope till Wednesday that the MRI indicates improvement thus negating the need for surgery, but honestly, my instincts told me long before today that when the cast came off the second time the pain would still be ominously present.

Sunday, 11 March 2007

West Indies (Jamaica) Welcomes the World

So the Cricket World Cup 2007 was officially rendered open earlier tonight by the greatest cricketer to ever walk this earth- National Hero of Barbados, the Rt. Hon. Sir Garfield St. Auburn Sobers. It was pleasing to see him accorded this honour and to see part of the ceremony dedicated to him- Barbadian stilt walkers performing a cricket playing skit with a Barbadian flag in the background. This was the high point of the opening ceremony. There were some other positives but these were largely eclipsed by the negatives, in my humble opinion.


-Tribute to Sir Gary
-Performances of Alison Hinds, Buju, Beres, Half Pint, Dean Fraser and David Rudder and the choir.
-Some of the colourful and beautiful visuals and costumes, especially the segment with butterflies, flags, sun etc.


-Anyone who watched can be forgiven if they mistook it to be a Jamaican rather than West Indian event. There were far too many Jamaican reggae performers for one. Many of them were mediocre and their shout outs to Jamaica only reinforced the idea that this was a Jamaican event or mini reggae sunsplash. Besides the token Trini and Bajan soca artist and Arrow from Montserrat, there was no significant representation from any of the other islands. Hell, South Africa and Ireland had more artists than the rest of us. Can the entire Caribbean be summed up by a short sitar/pan piece? What happened to Zouk and chutney; and for the amount of people of Indian descent living in the Caribbean, there was hardly any representation of them. It would also have been totally appropriate to include an act by indigenous Caribbean people.
-The audio and video work was amateur and in some parts of the show downright poor- I could not hear the pan/sitar piece. There should have also been more shots of the crowd to highlight the atmosphere in the stadium, although this may have been difficult as the stage looked very far from the crowd. .
-The worst part for me however, was the Jamaican PM’s address in which she repeatedly spoke about Jamaica and failed to mention the West Indies. Listening to her speak, one would have thought that CWC 2007 was being held solely in Jamaica and that only Jamaica played cricket. She did a similar thing a few years ago at a presentation ceremony during the South African tour of the West Indies when she spoke of Jamaica versus South Africa. I find it hard to believe that the singular focus on Jamaica was a coincidence.

All in all, while many have been lavishing praises on the opening ceremnoy, I can only honestly give it a 5/10 mark.


Mello is bloody annoying! I always get this urge to punch mascots or those guys dressed up like chickens etc advertising some product on the street. Don’t ask me why! The official song has not impressed me either.

Tuesday, 6 March 2007

Fifty Years of Ghanaian Independence

Today is fifty years since Ghana gained independence from Britain. I don’t feel entirely comfortable saying "happy fiftieth birthday" because it seems to diminish centuries of history. It somehow implies that Ghana only came into existence fifty years ago. Ghana the modern state with its defined international borders may have become an entity fifty years ago, but Ghana, the ancient Western African Empire goes back hundreds of years, to a time when Europe was still in darkness! Needless to say, it was the first place in sub-Saharan Africa where the Europeans arrived and started trading in gold and slaves and began to enrich themselves. It was also the first black country nation in Africa to gain independence from colonial rule and within three years, another seventeen African countries had won independence. Not a bad trend to have started!

Coincidentally, as Ghana celebrates fifty years of independence on March 6th, March 25th marks the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade by Britain, another occasion for Africa and the peoples of the African diaspora to commemorate.

Monday, 5 March 2007

World Cup Kick Off

World Cup 2007 kicked off with four warm-up matches today. As expected the minnows were soundly beaten although South Africa was given a scare by Ireland! These were warm-up matches and hence were not given full coverage. However what annoyed me was that, the most popular cricket website on the internet had live scores and bulletins for two of the matches, did a bulletin for one game after it was over and totally ignored one game- that involving the hosts. One wonders if two black teams playing each other- hosts West Indies versus Kenya- was not important enough to be afforded any coverage. I just checked again and they have now posted a scorecard and bulletin after the fact!

The Aussies and South Africans were complaining about their training facilities. Maybe they were justified, maybe they were not. What I do know is that we are always held up to a higher level of scrutiny than others and particularly developed countries. Only last year, the West Indies turned up at a training session in Australia to find that the usual courtesy of the host country providing local bowlers to bowl at the batsmen in the nets was not provided. A few weeks ago the Aussies warned their fans about crime in the region but didn’t mention that the same time they issued their warning, some members of the English team were attacked and robbed in their hotel in Australia. They also did not mention the vicious attack a few years ago on some members of the West Indies team that left one player unconscious.

A few warm up games left, the official opening ceremony this coming Sunday in Jamaica and then the opening game next Tuesday- West Indies versus Pakistan. Go Windies! I hope to have everything organised by then to enable me to view the games. I tried to purchase the package on but was having some problems which hopefully should be ironed out soon. I also hope that despite all my concerns about almost every aspect of the organisation of the World Cup, the tournament is a success.

Thursday, 1 March 2007

The Cricketing Price of Living in NYC

A colleague from our Consulate here in NYC provided us with the information on how we could watch Cricket World Cup in the so-called capital of the world. Basically, it will cost $450 if you don’t have Dish Network- $250 for installation and rental of equipment and $199 for the cricket! The price one has to pay for living in NYC. If I was home, it would have been on tv for free. I will have to resort to watching it on the internet which will cost me $199.

I watched a Globe Trekker feature on Venezuela with Ian Wright, one of my favourites of the Globe Trekker team. It’s a beautiful and physically diverse country. There are so many places on my list of countries to visit, from Venezuela, Brazil, Mali and Kenya to Italy, Algeria, Mongolia and New Zealand and everywhere else in between. I love travelling, exploring and learning about different peoples and cultures and one of my dreams is to take a year or two off from work and life and just travel around the globe. Anyone willing to sponsor me? I can guarantee thousands of photos and volumes of journals!

I had my cast changed on February 19th. There was no real improvement but the doc said this was normal after only three and a half weeks and that when I came back to have it checked in another three weeks- March 12th- he expected to see a marked change. I hope so because I really don’t want to have to do surgery and be stuck home for even longer. At the beginning there wasn’t as much itching as I had anticipated there would be, but in the past two weeks it has flared up. I have been using a wire hanger but sometimes it can’t reach certain spots so I just sit and swear like I was doing a few minutes ago!