Jul 16, 2013 Sports
By Edison Jefford
Notwithstanding the absence of Guyanese in the West Indies final 11 here on Sunday, a capacity crowd turned up at the Guyana National Stadium at Providence, to witness what became another pathetic performance from the regional representatives.
West Indies’ performance preceded, admittedly, their disappointment of not reaching the final of the recently-concluded Tri-Nation Series in Trinidad and Tobago, albeit, after they had won their first two games against India and Sri Lanka respectively.
West Indies ought to be extremely fortunate to come to
Guyana against such a pitiful background in the Caribbean against India and Sri Lanka, and still find a capacity crowd at Providence. But it was clear that such support did not resonate with the West Indies.
Instead, they compounded the deflation against India and Sri Lanka with an unprofessional and a lacklustre performance against Pakistan that saw them fizzled out for 98 runs in 41 overs, while a previously discarded Shahid Afridi wallowed in the glory of records.
Afridi’s leg spin got him career-best figures of 7-12 after playing a major part in a 120-run stand with his captain, Misbah Ul Haq, contributing 76 runs. Thanks to West Indies, Afridi was hauled from the doldrums with a Man-of-the-Match performance.
West Indies do not know how to reward its faithful fans; the evidence of which will consume the entire sport pages of newspapers. Guyana had last seen international cricket in May 2011; for over two years, the National Stadium was barren with international cricket.
When the Pakistan tour was announced, even in the midst of the Guyana Cricket Board saga, the response from enthusiasts and the public was hesitant. When the confirmation came that Pakistan will indeed tour Guyana for the first two in a five-match ODI series, the ticket craze began.
I waited for my usual WICB media accreditation, but we were accordingly informed that a quota of three passes will be given per newspaper; I was not among the three, who were recommended for Kaieteur Sport, so I had no option but to purchase my tickets.
I opted for DJ Stress’ Party Stand, and as I approached the Stadium from Diamond New Scheme where I live around 10:00am on Sunday, there was a sense that all of Guyana was in the venue. The various parking spaces available were lined with buses from as a far as route 63 (Corentyne) and route 43 (Linden) and 32 (Parika), not to mention the many others.
There was no Parking Pass for me this year that would have allowed me to park inside the venue, so I had to battle for parking; I spent almost an hour trying to find parking; Cricket was back and all of Guyana had turned out to see their beloved West Indies team.
After a destructive spell from pacer Jason Holder, which yielded figures of 4-13 off 10 overs and the middle order reconstruction process for the Pakistanis, that together posted 225 runs for West Indies’ victory, the revelry in anticipation began in true West Indian fashion.
However, an atmosphere of triumph quickly transformed to failure as a hapless West Indian side could not even muster the simplest form of respect, which is to merely compete, to satisfy a local crowd that transcended anything they had seen in Jamaica and Trinidad.
West Indies crumbled under basic pressure for 98 runs, leaving a bad taste in the mouths of those who travelled from far to see them just compete, and maybe, win; their attitude showed complete disregard for the thousands of Guyanese at the National Stadium.
The massive turnout in excess of 20,000 was enough to compel the West Indies team to perform, especially in the circumstances that surrounded Guyana’s cricket before their arrival. Instead, the team folded for their lowest ODI total in the Caribbean.
As old people would colloquially say, West Indies ‘eyes pass’ Guyanese. I posted similar sentiments on my facebook page, and the condemnation of West Indies performance was widespread, and one user even suggested a boycott today. West Indies must begin to wonder how hard they must work and perform to refill stadiums after they one day find them empty.
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