Saturday, 28 April 2007

Of National Heroes and Farcical Endings

It was apt that what has been failure of a tournament would end in a farcical manner. No one had any control over the rain but the ICC’s rules destroyed any prospect of a complete and competitive game. Once the rain had delayed play to such a large extent, the logical step would have been to play the normal 50 overs match over two days but the ICC, pandering to the television networks and focused on extracting maximum profit, had in place rules to reduce the overs and try as far as possible to finish the game in one day. It is absurd to play a final or a semi final for that matter of the most important event in international cricket in 38 overs.

Gilchrist plundered Sri Lanka’s highly rated bowling but I think that if the rain had not intervened or if Duckworth/Lewis had not come into effect, the Sri Lankans stood a good chance of chasing down the Aussie score. We will never know though, because in their greed, the ICC robbed the tournament of a really good game. The umpires and match referee obviously had to join in the act and their bizarre interpretation of the rules meant that international cricket had to be subjected to the indignity of players playing three overs in darkness. Anyone watching who was not a cricket fan would have been amazed at the silliness of it all. The ICC has repeatedly stated its aim of popularising cricket all over the world. Once again it failed miserably in its task.

Two articles expanding on the above can be read here and here.

Today is Barbados’ National Heroes Day and normally there would be activities to commemorate the lives of the ten outstanding Barbadians who played critical roles in shaping our country’s history. Hosting the final of the Cricket World Cup meant that the Day had to take a backseat this year. However, the only living Hero, Sir Garfield Sobers, was present at the presentation ceremony and presented one of the awards. It may seem strange to some people that a sporting icon is a National Hero of a country, but for the Caribbean the game is much more than a sport and is intertwined in the social, economic and political landscape of these small islands. For Barbadians, Sir Garry is more than the greatest cricketer to have walked the globe; he was a man born in a tiny British colony but who would stride the cricketing world like a giant, earning the respect and admiration of millions. Cricketing success instilled a pride in West Indians and in the words of C.L.R. James, it goes “Beyond the Boundary”.

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