On Target
March 19, 2010
Cricket reflections and Football support

St. Vincent and the Grenadines was in regional Cricket spotlight last week with the staging of three One Day Internationals between the West Indies and Zimbabwe.{{more}}

To put the matches in context, it was a battle of the featherweights, but the heavier of the two, the West Indies, weighed in heavier, as they finished with all three wins here, and an overall 4-1 series win.

Yes, the West Indies won, a rarity in recent times, but it puts them basically, nowhere, as the opposition is below them.

Again, there was nothing to shout about from a West Indian perspective, except Darren Sammy’s bowling in match one, last week Wednesday, Dwayne Bravo’s four wicket haul on Friday, and Chris Gayle’s usual belligerence on Sunday, which earned him Man of the Match, and subsequently, Man of the Series.

Otherwise, it was an ordinary, if not below their already under achievements, granted they are among the weakest in the world. But a win is a win.

The fact that the West Indies had to struggle to make 142 and 162 on Friday and Sunday, respectively, while losing six wickets on both occasions, simply shows up the weakness of the team’s batting.

In the first match here last week Wednesday, the West Indies won by 141 runs, and the Sunday before won also by four wickets, with 13 balls to spare.

Kudos, though, must be given to Lauren Baptiste, the Operations Superintendent of the National Sports Council and the ground staff.

Although Baptiste did not get it totally right, his scientific approach towards preparations of pitches is a far cry from the hit and miss that we have been accustomed to.

The Arnos Vale pitch was more suited the West Indies seam attack, which was a diversion from what we saw in the previous venues, the Queen’s Park Oval in Trinidad and Tobago and Providence Stadium in Guyana, which saw the Zimbabweans slow bowlers revel in the conditions.

But does this give the regional team a false sense of security going into the more competitive ICC World Twenty championships to be hosted here in the Caribbean and the pending visit to the region by the South Africans?

But anything that boosts the West Indians who are woefully short on talent and confidence must be accepted with glee and with both hands.

The support shown by Vincentians for the last match on Sunday was overwhelming and must have backfired on the regional Cricket authorities, who have degenerated the Arnos Vale venue and by extension Vincentians to second class status. Think again.

Indeed Vincentians rose to the occasion and came out in their droves. But was it more of a rare occasion for social mass gathering than a real love for Cricket and a love for West Indies Cricket and its cricketers?

Whatever the case, this country came out smelling good all round.

It is in that same breath that Vincentians should throw their support behind local Football Club Avenues United in its quest to advance in the Caribbean Zone of the CONCACAF .

Avenues will face off with three other regional clubs: Joe Public of Trinidad and Tobago, Devonshire Cougars of Bermuda, and Leo Victor of Suriname from this Friday here at the Victoria Park.

Avenues must be seen as representing St. Vincent and the Grenadines, hence, the national support is paramount as they venture out in unfamiliar territory.

It augurs well for the image of the Paul’s Avenue that for once the spotlight is one of national representation rather than degradation.

Vincentians are, therefore, urged to flock to the park and rally behind Avenues this Friday, Sunday, and next Tuesday, as every bit of support counts.

That support should also extend to the other local entrant, System 3, which is set to travel to Puerto Rico this weekend to face Defence Force of Guyana and Bayamon FC of Puerto Rico next week .

Certainly, the two local clubs must see this as an occasion to represent St. Vincent and the Grenadines and make good of the opportunities that are afforded them.

This column is still calling for the complete removal of the Mound at the Sion Hill Playing Field.