World Cup 2007 April 5, 2007

Bring on the calypso

Anybody who was awestruck by the West Indian teams of the 1970s and 1980s and captivated by the allure of calypso cricket will be bitterly disappointed

Anybody who was awestruck by the West Indian teams of the 1970s and 1980s and captivated by the allure of calypso cricket will be bitterly disappointed. I remember the first time Sky showed a live Test series from the Caribbean, England were routed but the atmosphere that shone out of my television screen brightened many cold, dark evenings.

When the World Cup was awarded to the West Indies everybody expected to be touched by that same warmth, either in person or via HD, LCD, or cathode ray. Instead, the World Cup has served up a soulless experience, worsened by the death of Bob Woolmer, the elimination of India, Pakistan, and possibly West Indies, and a ticketing policy that has removed the atmosphere from the tournament. A conspiracy theorist might blame the ICC for all three of these calamities--for various reasons from match-fixing to bad planning--but that presumably would be unfair?

As a fan of West Indian cricket I want this World Cup to succeed. It still can. Belatedly, more imaginative ticketing policies are being implemented. This may be too little too late but let's hope not. There are still plenty of big matches to look forward to, and yesterday's thriller between England and Sri Lanka might be the turning point as teams become more desperate to secure points. Finally, West Indies can still qualify for the semi-finals, and I hope they do. Cricket needs to be strong in all four corners of the globe for it to grow as a sport, and anybody who loves cricket must want the West Indian team and their supporters to be a major force again.

And what's all this wishful thinking got to do with Pak Spin? Well, apart from a thrilling tournament being good for cricket and West Indian cricket in particular, I want those international losers from Pakistan (and India) to regret and curse every moment of their absence from this World Cup. I want them to view the levels of professionalism on display and understand what they need to do. I want them to be desperately hungry for success next time--so hungry that it hurts, just like it hurts their fans to see them out of the tournament.

For the sake of South Asia, bring on the pain, bring on the calypso.

Kamran Abbasi is an editor, writer and broadcaster. He tweets here

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