On Target
August 9, 2013

CPL – Not all glitz and glamour

Showtime is once again in full effect as the inaugural Caribbean Premier League (CPL) – the Carnival version of the hit and miss entertainment package of T/20 cricket blasts off.{{more}}

And, many persons get the nightly filling of that synthetic food, which is genetically modified, simply to whet the taste buds of cricket fans.

So, the Caribbean has joined the rest of the world in presenting its own version of fast food cricket, planned to serve up with some delight what is really not palatable for the stomach.

Every night one can be assured of the gyrations, the trappings and the pyrothenics.

We, however, are forgetting that when we ‘wine’, only the waist is being developed.

Hence, we are selling the Caribbean as the wining capital and a free-spirited people whose forte is “party”.

But the CPL is here with us, and either we partake of it or lump it.

At this juncture, the glitz and the glamour of the CPL dim the real issues confronting cricket in the region.

Almost immediately after losing 3-1 to Pakistan in five One-Day International matches and 2-0 in the T-20 internationals, came the bright lights of the CPL which have obscured the vision of the casual West Indian supporter, as we were outwitted in all departments.

But those whose 20/20 sights are operating at its optimum, will recognize that amidst the fun and frolicking of the CPL, the regional game is still at its lowest ebb.

Despite being crowned as World T/20 champions, the West Indies is not near perfection at that format, in fact, there is no need for such, as it is a lottery.

What is most disturbing though, is the poor state of cricket brains which have hardly been put in gear.

To put it into proper perspective, there has been little thought processes governing the cricket which is being beamed to us.

While, we jump and wave and free-up, the insularity goes deeper and deeper in the marrow of the sport, like gangrene, even though the franchise format of the CPL by accident was set out to do otherwise.

The CPL does not address the problems of Leewards cricket, in which that territorial arm of the West Indies setup, is the whipping boy. And, this occurs at all levels.

The CPL has put on the blinkers, and recognizes that the Leewards is not producing players who can force their way into the regional side, even though it does not take a big effort to do so.

We have turned our heads the other way and failed to remember that the Leewards has not come on board with women’s cricket, while the Windwards, as individual territories, and the large islands have.

But we are not concerned about that; it is all about the moment.

While the other formats of the sport are left to ruin, the CPL is not short on corporate support, as four of the six franchises have hauled in sponsorship.

Also, the CPL is replete with incentives.

For example, the prize money for the total of the 21 preliminary matches adds up to US$525,000 (US$25,000 per match), with a winning purse worth US$250,000.

Also, the Man of the Match award of US$1,000 per match across the full 24 matches; additionally player awards add up to US$800,000.

Too, the Super Six award given to the player hitting the most sixes in a match – US$500 per match – 24 matches, which is US$12,000 in total.

Likewise, US $100 per match is presented to the Limacol Cool Fan who shows support for team and Limacol brand, and most recently, there is the “Show Us How You Celebrate,” where fans can take photos of themselves and win an attractive prizes.

Here we are once again being duped into thinking that T-20 cricket, with its side shows and gift baskets, will excavate us from the standings on the world stage.

So, we are content to be called the calypso cricketers, showmen, and now we have been christened the “Carnival” version.

As one calypsonian put it some years ago: “We are living in a state of permanent Carnival”.

And, indeed our cricket is doing just that.