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Col (Retd) Rafi Nasim
April 3, 2000
After a two test series between Zimbabwe and the West Indies won by the hosts, Caribbeans is the center stage for a Tri-nation One-Day Tournament called the "Cable and Wireless Trophy-2000." Besides the hosts, Pakistan and Zimbabwe are the other participants, The three teams are required to play two matches each against one another while the champions will emerge after winning the best of three finals. The first final is scheduled at Barbados on April 19 followed by the second and third staged at Trinidad on April 22nd and 23rd.
The championship having started on April 1st, two matches have been played between Zimbabwe and the West Indies at Kingston (Jamaica), the hosts winning both convincingly. In the first match the West Indies defeated Zimbabwe by 87 runs. A sparkling century (103) by Sherwin Campbell and an all round performance by Jimmy Adams, 60 runs off 84 balls and 3 wickets for 19 runs from seven overs were the highlights of the game. In the second match Zimbabwe was defeated by 41 runs. Wavell Hinds thrilled the crowd with a fighting inning of 116 runs.
After winning the Coca-Cola Cup at Sharjah, the Pakistan team has joined the other competitors and will be playing its first match against Zimbabwe at Antigua on April 5.
As the West Indies become last of the major cricket playing nations to introduce this form of limited over competition, they expect it to be a big attraction for the cricket lovers. Though the hosts have already gained the advantage of winning two matches against Zimbabwe its competition against the reputedly "Un-predictable" Pakistan team fresh from a historical triumph at Sharjah, will be of overwhelming interest.
Though it has taken West Indies a few years to get off the mark behind minor nations like Kenya and Bangladesh, the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) is hoping to stage more of this type of tournaments in the Caribbean. They consider the present contest as an experimental one. Despite the inherent difficulties of getting international teams to fit into its cricket season, the WICB is fully conscious of the popularity and usefulness of such competitions. The level of crowd support for matches not involving West Indies will, however, indicate the popularity of the Tri-nation tournament. Since the Pakistan team has always been a crowd puller in the West Indies, the competition is bound to draw the Caribbean people's approval as well as appreciation.
The West Indies having been designated as the hosts for the 2007 World Cup, the WICB will be using this series and hopefully, other like it in the future to test the region's preparedness for the global event. The experience will be useful in eliminating as many of the foul-ups, bleeps and blunders that can occur during such a big event.
Zimbabwe having tremendously improved its standards of the game is almost out of the "minnows group." It gave the hosts a tough time in their historic inaugural Test Match at the Queen's Park Oval that could have been anybody's game.
In one-day cricket they are as good as any other team in the cricket world on their day. They should not be underestimated. Still, Pakistan and the West Indies are rated much higher. Their long standing in international cricket, the glory of being the former World Champions and the galaxy of stars they possess in their line-up, make them the obvious favorites for the finals.