Colin E. H. Croft
In the trademarked words of indomitable Michael Buffer of HBO Boxing; “Let’s get ready to rumble!” From this weekend, there will be tremendous tumbling, tackling, ducking, weaving, wining, grinding, squeezing, drinking, dribbling, partying, scoring, yes, rumbling; every other “ing’; that you can imagine!
Firstly, sadly, last week, Angelo Dundee, legendary trainer of my all-time sporting hero, Muhammad Ali, and luminaries “Sugar” Ray Leonard and “Big” George Forman, died at 90. He brought style to his art!
Up until Angelo became associated with Ali, immediately after Ali’s first professional fight, 1960, no-one noticed corner-men. Strangely, Angelo’s stable of world champions was not that extensive, only about ten, but what great champions; Ali, Leonard, Foreman, Jose Napoles, Wilfredo Gomez! Wow!
Thanks to Angelo’s input, trainers like Lou Duva; twenty world champions, including Evander Holyfield and Hector Camacho; controversial Carlos “Panama” Lewis, who trained Aaron Pryor, and Emanuel Steward; twenty five world champions, including Julio Cesar Chavez; became prominent boxing names.
Mike Costello, now BBC’s Boxing Correspondent, the only person I have ever heard calling complete names of all eight runners of major 100-metres races; twice in ten seconds, with still enough time to identify winner and placements at the finish, nearly impossible to do; gets final words on Angelo:
“There are trainers who excel in the gym, but crumble on fight night, because of failure to handle the pressure generated by atmosphere and occasion. Dundee was equally adept in each sphere!”
Also, somewhat related, I sincerely hope that “Patos”, Honorable Patrick Manning, with whom I have had many cricketing exchanges, recovers well. He certainly deserves our best wishes.
Similarly, my friend, Guyanese Sports Journalist, Sean Devers, has a serious brain tumor. We must all do whatever is possible for him!
Today is ‘Super Bowl Sunday’; New England’s Patriots v New York’s Giants. Bigger than Daytona 500, baseballs’ World Series, NBA’s Finals, or Kentucky Derby, the Super Bowl is the single biggest, most watched spectacle in USA’s sports calendar!
I became enamored with grid-iron football while living in Florida from 1981. Had I had high school years in USA, I probably would have been a ‘tight-end’; great name, especially in carnival season; with my height and strength. Quarter-backs and wide receivers get credits; running backs and tight-ends work!
By 1981, Miami Dolphins, with Head Coach Don Shula, Dan Marino as quarter-back and “The Marks Brothers,” Mark Clayton and Mark Duper, as wide-receivers, were making massive reputations.
San Francisco 49ers has always been my favorite team. Their uniform, red and gold, carnival-like, is attractive. With Hall of Famers, Head Coach Bill Walsh, quarter-back Joe Montano, best wide receiver ever Jerry Rice, corner-back Ronnie Lott and running-back Roger Craig, I was hooked!
Super Bowl XLVI – 46 – high-lights two tough coaches; Patriots’ Bill Belichick and Giants’ Tom Coglin. Not only did they do excellent work for the same organization – New York Giants – as Assistant Coaches when Bill Parcels, another legend, was Head Coach, they have met in a Super Bowl once before too!
Super Bowl XLII – 42 – New York conquered New England 17-13, Patriots’ only loss that year; 18-1. Patriots’ Head Coach Belichick and quarter-back Tom Brady, (2011 13-3), favorites in 2008’s losing effort, plan to return the favor to Giants’ Head Coach Coglin and quarter-back Eli Manning (2011 9-7). Expect anything, including several discombobulating rumblings and teeth-shattering tackling!
Anyway, I do not want to remind, but, as is almost always the case, I was correct. Guyana’s cricket is going, or has it already gone, to the dogs. So much inane barking, such useless stupid noise!
As stated weeks ago, I knew that International Cricket Council, and West Indies Cricket Board, would eventually come out ahead of Guyana’s Government, its Ministry and Minister of Sports, and its Interim Management Committee, regardless of the vaunted, exalted personnel therein!
With carnival crescendo-ing to fever pitch and everyone in Brazil and Trinidad & Tobago freeing themselves up, Guyana’s Kaieteur News headline, like Dr. Martin Luther King’s vision, was apt; “Free at last – GCB resumes control of cricket in Guyana!” Thank God, cricket in Guyana is free at last! Idiots!
I wonder how those who allowed Guyana’s cricket to descend to this mire feel, with locks now broken! Power is such an intoxicating thing. Remember Lord John Dalberg-Acton, 1st Baron Acton’s suggestion, with such tremendous wisdom; “Power tends to corrupt, absolute power corrupts absolutely!”
I also wonder if Guyana’s situation was an experiment, testing the waters, planning like pilots do, which might progress and evolve in landing ICC’s future Presidency, when rotation comes back to West Indies!
Lord Acton is also credited with another thought that Guyana and all West Indies cricket should adopt. “Liberty is not the right and power to do what we like, but the right of doing what we ought!”
Meanwhile, WICB four-day competition starts this weekend too. I remember when I played for Guyana, weekends leading up to carnival were the ones that we all wished to play away games, especially in T&T. Those weekends were always wild! Hey, I even met wife No. 1 at one of those ‘bad’ parties in 1978!
Seriously, though, this is the continuation of intense cricket for West Indies, which started with WICB T-20 2012, and which ends as late as October this year, if you include ICC World T-20, in Sri Lanka. Between now and then, West Indies will host both Australia and New Zealand, and tour England.
2012 first class cricket season must see fireworks for places. There are very few real “certainties” for immediately future West Indies cricket teams, while even West Indies captaincy will be at stake.
Denesh Ramdin, T&T’s T-20 winning captain, will have his first outing as first-class captain for an entire season. Remember, he was dropped from West Indies when his batting plummeted, while his wicket-keeping prospered.
As overall captain, he would be in focus as he copes with new responsibilities.
Daren Sammy was smart enough to pass up on Bangladesh’s initial Premier League T-20. He has even been allowed to miss Windward Islands’ first 1st-class game, against Jamaica, needing, supposedly, rest.
Is this indicative of things to come here? Has he already been guaranteed West Indies team captaincy? Has everyone else who had been selected, not also played as much and probably need rest too? This is strange indeed. Whatever happens, he will have to perform. There are no more shadows in the façade!
Chris Gayle, intelligently, plays for Jamaica, even though he will not be captain. He might yet, for once, prove me wrong, if selected for West Indies for Tests. Tamar Lambert, though, Jamaica’s 4-day captain, would have much bigger things on his mind, as he would like his team do a ‘five-peat’ this year!
So many chiefs; no Indians; that’s Guyana and Leeward Islands cricket! Guyana is making history, playing all games away while its cricket grounds are not water logged.
Was Ramnaresh Sarwan’s unavailability a selfish sulk for not being made captain? He must not want to play for West Indies again!
Barbados and CCC still wonder what happened in Caribbean T-20 2012. They were shoddy, so they must plan very serious services for WICB 4-day competition 2012! Tough, good cricket beckons! Enjoy!
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