After the inaugural eight-team over-50 World Cup in Sidney, Australia in 2018, the 2020 event in Cape town South Africa attracted four new teams; West Indies, India, Zimbabwe and Namibia.
The West Indies over-50 team, which does not represent an official West Indies team but was allowed to use the West Indies colours on their uniforms by the CWI lost both of their games.
The tournament was suspended on Sunday March 15 after two and a half matches due to the deadly Pandemic Corvid-19 which was spreading world-wide.
The team’s Media Officer, Guyanese John Ramsingh, who is stranded in Boston, USA, spoke with Kaieteur Sports yesterday about the standard of the tournament which were not played on International Venues, how the news of the Covid-19 Virus affected the players, his experience in the Rainbow Nation and how he got stranded in a foreign Country.
The West Indies, a team in which none of its members had played International cricket, departed South Africa by Thursday March 19.
“The standard was good and the tournament was very competitive for over-50 players. The pitches had true bounce and carry, while the spinners got some turn in the second innings,” said Ramsingh.
According to Ramsingh, the outfields were lush and fast with fair sized boundaries but none of the International venues were used, while the hospitality in Cape Town was great and many of the teams felt South Africa had set the bar high as host.
Each team had their own Coach, team Bus, Physiotherapist and liaison officer, while the teams were accommodated at five-star Hotels.
“When the organisers broke the news of suspending the tournament after two and a half matches most of the teams were disappointed before the mad scramble to get flights.
All team had to leave at the same time which created some anxious moments.
However, after the news sunk in players realised the seriousness of the COVID-19 and were grateful that the tournament was stopped,” Ramsingh reported.
Ramsingh informed, team members all took different routes out since South Africa Airways which had taken the team from JFK in New York to Johannesburg, had stopped working which made getting out much longer.
“Upon arrival at JFK, I enquired about flights to Guyana only to be told that airports in Guyana were closed to International flights so I decided to visit a friend in Boston where we both remain in quarantine but all others got home.
The trip was an eye opener for me. It was pleasing to see the level of preparation that went onto the tournament both from the West Indies and over 50 CWC.
The players embraced the concept really well. South Africa made five Legends patrons of the tournament and they remained with the action throughout; that was well received by the players, officials and fans.”
“On the off days the organisers put together features including tours of South Africa.
I was especially happy for the players who for one reason or another did not represent their Country at International level but really grabbed on to this chance.
Players went through the drills ahead of games and the passion for the game was still evident and I admired that. The host clubs were really welcoming it was an experience to remember.”
Ramsingh further stated, “Azad Mohammed of Trinidad and Tobago scored the only century, while Sudesh Dhaniram, skipper Zamin Amin, Narine Bideshi, Fareed Hossein and Ishwar Maraj had encouraging performances for the West Indies, while others did not get enough opportunities to showcase their talent, included Julian Charles, Mark Audain, Kenney Girdharry and Allison Johnson.”
The 53-year-old Dhaniram who played for Guyana and later the USA and scored four First-Class centuries including an elegant ton for Guyana against Barbados at Bourda, was the closest to playing for the West Indies.
But he was born in the wrong era since he was competing with Greenidge and Haynes, the most successful opening pair in the history of Test Cricket.
Ramsingh stated that after the tournament was called off, news that the next tournament will also be played in Cape Town brought smiles to the faces of the players since South Africa had proved a great host. (Sean Devers)
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