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Be a hero, Darren
I want to suggest respectfully to Darren Sammy how he can become a hero to West Indies cricket fans and be remembered forever as a person of concern for the common good, instead of having to withstand an unending barrage of criticism and humiliating comment. There is no doubt that Darren Sammy is a very nice young man and has good leadership qualities. He has cricket skills and talent but unfortunately not enough for him to command a place on the WI Test team, far less as captain. His predicament – not of his own doing – causes a serious imbalance in the composition of the team. Sammy must know this – if he does not, then I have overestimated his intelligence. The solution is for Sammy to do as John Goddard did (I think on the 1957 tour of England) when as captain he dropped himself for the Fifth Test in the best interests of the team.
If Sammy volunteered to do this for the upcoming tours of Pakistan and India, it would be at his own initiative and the Caribbean cricket population will admire and respect him for the rest of his life. How about it Darren? What a stupid end to the regional four-day tournament with all the so-called misunderstandings as to which team goes forward to the final and all the other nonsense that seems to plague every sport on an ongoing basis. No wonder people no longer bother to take the trouble to watch regional cricket in the flesh.
Pleasing moments for T&T cricket
In the recently played T&T versus Jamaica semi-final, three things pleased me: (1) Daren Ganga’s third century of the tournament (and a total of over 600 runs) which surely must satisfy the WI selectors that he can bat and should earn him a recall to the WI Test team as captain; (2) Denesh Ramdin scoring yet another 50 which should open the eyes of the apparently three blind WI selectors whose regular selection gaffs often make me smile at the popular cry of the critical crowds at University basketball referees: “Open your eyes ref; you’re missing a good game!” (3) The excellent support given by Reyad Emrit, 113 not out; Amit Jaggernauth, batting for 90 minutes; Ravi Rampaul the batsman scoring a very useful 25 and Shannon Gabriel holding out desperately to the end with Emrit to ensure a no-result.
I do not know if they read my previous comments about the need for tail enders to commit to renewed efforts to improve their batting skills, but they gave themselves an important lesson by proving to the team what can happen if they show the needed commitment. Well batted guys and special congrats to Reyad for a memorable effort! Now you all know what to do and that you can do it once you have confidence in your own ability. The parlous state of WI cricket is well demonstrated by CCC topping the league standings when up to last year they were seen as “easy pickings” for all other teams. In addition, to see a semi-final between CCC and Windwards finish in less than three days speaks volumes for our pathetic standards. Neither Barbados nor Guyana qualified in the top four – we have really reached!
Congrats to India on winning the 2011 ICC World Cup. It was a great game to watch and one can only imagine what it must be like for 1.2 billion people to bask in the team’s success. Even in such a huge event, it is always interesting to see God’s will at work with the three biggest names in the final: Tendulkar, Sehwag and Muralitheran playing a very minor role so others could shine and enjoy the spotlight that the Big Three have monopolised for years. No matter who we are, God never forgets us!
Skills to admire
Did you see the Sony Ericson tennis final last Sunday with Novak Djokovich beating Rafael Nadal in three grueling sets? Nadal, aged 24, has already earned US$38 million and Djokovich aged 22, US$26 million but their incredible on-court skills and off-court friendship, humility and charm deserve their financial success. Roger Federer is still a superb player but at age 29 is clearly number three in the world. Now on to the clay court season where Nadal is king!
Well done, Sports Minister
It was pleasing to read that Ministry of Sport has received Cabinet approval to spend $1.4 billion (TT$) on new sporting facilities in the near term. Years ago, before the Tsunami Stadium was started, I offered the opinion that the then estimate of $350 million would be far better spent on 20 community sports facilities with lights at a cost of about $20 million each. I grind my remaining teeth at what we could have done with the present cost of $1.1 billion and climbing.
My own view still is that local facilities should take precedence over international structures – for example ten swimming pools across the country rather than one super aquatic centre for the occasional international event – but maybe image comes before practicality in today’s world. Young people especially in disadvantaged areas need all the sporting facilities they can get and I congratulate Minister Roberts for persuading his Cabinet colleagues to approve the impressive $1.4 billion budget. I am still hoping that a few of those dollars can be allocated to provide lights at the YTC ground in Arouca which will provide untold benefits to the young inmates.
I was so happy to see past champion jockey Nela Mohammed ride three winners at races last Saturday, his first hat-trick in a long time. I thank trainer John O’Brien for providing Nela with the opportunity to prove his riding talent is still obvious after a very ordinary 2010 season. Nela is a good friend (I hope!) and his success is a great motivator for me to keep interested in the sport. I was also delighted to see Joshua Stephen (another friend I think!) getting four mounts on a six-race card, which hopefully will encourage him to keep working hard to re-establish his reputation as a leading jockey. Racing needs both Nela and Josh back in top form.
What’s up Minister Cadiz?
I keep being asked when the new Betting Levy Board (BLB) members will be announced but so far I cannot help. The term of the previous BLB expired on September 30, 2010 and six months later we are still in limbo which is totally ridiculous. Why the delay, Minister Cadiz? If racing can survive six months and more without the BLB which is supposed to fund racing, then maybe there is no need for a BLB.
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