A recent survey shows that Test cricket is at its most boring in the West Indies given that only 60.05 of matches end in a result and the scoring rate is less than three runs per over, slower than Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka. Compare this year’s IPL when the run rate is 9 to 10 per over; 330 sixes have been hit in 30 matches; 15 of 30 games have ended in the final over and five off the last ball. Add the acrobatic fielding and catching plus the frequent sight of the greatest players in the world and it makes you think! Interestingly, Sachin Tendulkar has not been one of the shining batting lights in IPL, and while Kieron Pollard’s fielding has always been superb and his bowling is rapidly improving, he has scored only three 30s in 35 IPL innings, not the most flattering record. Marlon Samuel has not proven to be a world beater in his IPL debut but is in the West Indies team to tour England.
Good going, Mr Mayor
It is good to see Mayor Louis Lee Sing organising small goal football competitions in underprivileged communities in PoS, as I am convinced that ongoing sporting activities is what is needed in the fight against crime among teenagers. I hear it every week at YTC. The message does not lie only in the actual football but the fact that the boys feel cared for and their activities are promoted in a healthy way. Their ongoing needs are to be loved and to know they are special and important and unfortunately, since so many parents fail in their duties, the authorities have to step in and do their best. Daren Ganga is also occupied doing much the same thing on behalf of Petrotrin, arranging after work sporting activities in various communities in the south.
More $$ for racehorse owners
Racehorse owners and trainers must welcome the news that stakes are to be increased from May 7, for all races not listed in the Club’s Classic diary. The Betting Levy Board is making every effort to make the increase of stakes a top priority but needs to ensure that effective legislation to force betting shops and casinos to pay legitimate taxes is in place. Heavy penalties—and I stress heavy—should be handed out to tax evaders, as for far too long this dishonest practice has existed which is a fact not an opinion. It is absolutely incredible what some high profile people get away with because the authorities have no “teeth” to enforce a law or no guts to do the right thing even if it means losing votes. Check out the Licensing Office, T&TeC, UDECOTT, OSHA, WASA and UTT for starters. However, I must commend the office of DPP for doing what is expected by the public. Last week I went there regarding a YTC case and was given top service by the receptionist, security and the legal adviser whom I had not seen before. Everything worked like clockwork and I was both impressed and thrilled at the quiet efficiency. Thank you! You all made my day! Keep up the good work!
Gesture of goodwill
I owe sincere apologies to anyone who took my advice to bet 50 cents on Barcelona beating Chelsea 5-1 in the UEFA semifinal last week. In the first half, Barcelona had 75 per cent ball possession and completed 296 passes to Chelsea’s 60. Unfortunately, all they did was pass! After leading 2-0, Messi hit the cross bar with a penalty and then the post later in the game, but Chelsea fought like tigers with ten men and it was good to see the much maligned Fernando Torres score. Torres was purchased for £50 million at the start of the season and suddenly forgot how to score goals, losing his place on the team. If anyone who bet his/her neighbour 50 cents meets me on the street and can prove beyond reasonable doubt that such a bet was made in writing with a witness, I will repay 25 cents as a gesture of goodwill.
Downside to being number one
Unbelievably, the next day Bayern Munich beat Real Madrid in the other semifinal, so the final on May 19, will pit Chelsea against Bayern Munich instead of the much more glamourous contest between the two best teams on the planet. It is passing strange that in two days the two most famous footballers in the world, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, each missed a vital penalty which caused their teams to be kicked out the most prestigious competition and two days before, the #1 tennis player Novak Djokovic played like a “chongo” to lose to Rafa Nadal 6-3 6-1 at Monte Carlo, Nadal winning the title for the eighth successive year—an amazing sequence. Being number one or the most famous has some downsides along the way including the reality that they are human.
Impressions of Australia tour
The Australian tour to the Caribbean is now over and what are my chief impressions having watched 90 per cent of play on television? (a) Both teams were not of a high standard. (b) Much of the cricket made interesting and at times gripping viewing. (c) Apart from Shiv Chanderpaul and perhaps Darren Bravo, the top order batsmen of both teams were hardly a huge success. (d) Chanderpaul deserves his achievement of 10,000 Test runs in his 140 Tests, and his 26 centuries and 59 Test fifties reflect everything that is good about batting, especially patience and playing every ball on its merit. He fully deserved his selection as Man of the Series. (e) Darren Sammy played some swash-buckling innings full of excellent strokes, but why does he not bowl more? In the final Test, strike bowler Kemar Roach bowled over 100 overs while Sammy as the medium pacer bowled around 75.
Surely the roles should have been reversed. (f) Matthew Wade’s Third Test century was a brilliant innings for Australia and Brad Haddin may have lost his place as #1 wicketkeeper (g) Shane Shillingford fully deserved his ten-wicket match haul, and his batting at the end with Sammy showed some promise. The difference in quality between the two off spinners Shillingford and Australia’s Nathan Lyon on a pitch offering so much spin, was stark and even part-timer Michael Clarke showed up Lyon. (h) The most interesting point in the tour was the captaincy of Michael Clarke, whose brain was always ticking, who rotated his bowlers on an ongoing basis and who took risks not very common with traditional Test captains and which invariably paid dividends. Certainly his declaration in the first Test and his decision to bowl himself in the third Test were major contributions to the two Aussie victories. (i) Carlton Baugh did not have a good series. (j) Full marks go to the people of Dominica for their excellent support of Test cricket and they were well rewarded with the success of Shane Shillingford, a native son.
Denesh back where he belongs
The West Indies team for England has been announced and a few players are fortunate to keep their places. I am pleased to see Denesh Ramdin back where he belongs and also that Kieran Powell has been given the opportunity to experience English conditions. He has class and needs to be encouraged for the future. It is interesting that 19-year-old Kraigg Brathwaite has been left out, having played in all three Tests against the Aussies. He had a rough time with three ducks and again I question the wisdom of putting a teenager into such a pressure situation. I think of the great Neil Harvey scoring a Test century against England in 1948 as an 18-year-old and Adrian Barath scored a century on Test debut when he was 19/20 but in the past 70 years, how many other teens have done likewise? I remember how concerned I was when 18-year-old Daren Ganga had to face Alan Donald and Shaun Pollock in South Africa, and was critical of 18-year-old Ravi Rampaul’s selection on his first tour suggesting the body of a fast bowler at that age was not ready for such a task and that he would probably break down which he did soon after. I mentioned the South African Cuan McCarthy as the only 18-year-old fast bowler I could think of at the time, who toured at that age. Surely history can teach us something or at least give us a clue!