Regional Super50 preparations continue under lights
Providence host practice matches tomorrow & Friday
By Sean Devers
The Guyana team preparing for the 2013 Regional Super50 Cricket tournament in Trinidad & Tobago from January 30 to February 16, will participate in their first practice match under lights when they face a Rest team at the Guyana National Stadium, Providence tomorrow and Friday from 13:30hrs each day.
Despite the rain, the Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) is leaving no stone unturned as this Country aims to win their first title at this level since 2005 when Guyana, spearheaded by a classy ton from opener Sewnarine Chattergoon, defeated Barbados at Bourda.
If the Guyanese return home with coveted is trophy this year it will be their tenth overall since achieving their first in 1980 in Antigua when skipper Roy Fredericks led from the front with a magnificent century.
Guyana play Ireland, defending champions Windward Islands and Jamaica in their group matches before the top two teams from each zone moves on to the semifinals, scheduled for February 12 & 13. The final is fixed for February 15 with a reserved day on February 16 in the event of rain.
All of Guyana’s matches are day/night fixtures, but when Barbados won the first ever Regional one-day competition in the West Indies in 1973 and when West Indies beat Pakistan at Albion in 1977 in the inaugural ODI in Caribbean, cricket was only played in the day.
It was during the Kerry Packer World Series matches in Australia in 1977 that cricket was first played under lights when multibillionaire Kerry Packer wanted to show cricket on his commercial TV stations but Australian cricket officials wouldn’t sell him the broadcast rights.
Packer set up a rival competition, hiring the world’s best players at better pay rates. One-day cricket had been played at the top level before, but Packer’s World Series Cricket competition was livelier and more colorful.
He introduced day-night games – and a white ball that was easier to see at night. Instead of wearing whites, the players wore colored clothes and the West Indies wore pink in the first series.
In 2006, Zimbabwe were suspended as a Test nation and the West Indies were on the decline. In this scenario, the West Indies hosted Zimbabwe for a marathon 7-match ODI series.
The fifth ODI of this series was scheduled to be played at the Beausejour Stadium in St Lucia on 10th May 2006. It was a historic day for West Indians, as this was the first ever day/night one-day international to be played there.
Two months later the first Regional tournament under lights was played when now jailed American Allen Stanford held the Stanford t20 competition at his ground in Antigua. Guyana emerged as the inaugural winners.
Guyana also played in the first day/night First-Class contest in the West Indies in 2009 at Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua. The players wore ‘whites’ but pink balls were used. This idea was shelved the next year by the WICB.
In addition to practice games under floodlights (which will no doubt cost the GCB a lot more than for day games) the Board has also hired two fitness instructors from the Army to get the players fit.
The GCB, whose selectors have picked one of the best possible Guyana teams in a long time, have also ensured that two WICB personnel, including Trinidadian Ayana Cooper arrives here on Wednesday to facilitate two anti-doping courses for the team on Wednesday and Thursday at the Stadium.
The embarrassing ‘positive drug Test’ by Berbician Power-Lifter Gumendra Shewdas has put the future of the Sport in Guyana in Limbo and has raised concerns among all local sporting bodies.
This was after West Indies Women’s cricketer Tremayne Smartt became the first Guyanese to fail a random drug test in 2011. She was banned for five months by the ICC for violating Article 2.1 of the ICC Anti-Doping Code after she unknowingly used a prohibited drug for an injury. The fast bowling all-rounder pleaded guilty and apologized and has resumed her International career.
This course should serve as useful information for the players winging out to the Twin-Island Republic next Tuesday.