It should have put the calypso back into Caribbean cricket. After all, the game’s biggest one-day tournament was brought to places that know how to throw a party. Instead, they are depressed — from Jamaica to Guyana and from Antigua to St. Kitts. They are fed up with everything — from big business interests squashing the spontaneous fun, to the lousy performance of the West Indies team, to the mysterious death of Bob Woolmer.
The World Cup, which still has more than three weeks to go, is being played out in grounds where the concrete is still drying, which are often three-quarters empty and in cities where the populations say they have been promised economic returns in return for sponsoring major building works for stadia and infrastructure. And critics have pointed the finger at the game’s administrators.
“The ICC is ... about making money, having rules, and siding with narrow commercial interests, even at the expense of basic human decency, let alone local colour. The game’s bosses have wrecked their own party with their greed,” wrote former Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack editor Tim de Lisle.
Locals have also been annoyed by rules that mean they cannot walk to the grounds, and have to take taxis
and buses. Once in, impromptu party stands that blare out dance music in between overs have been banned and replaced with organised and sanitised versions.
Former pace bowler Curtley Ambrose said he felt the ICC had removed local flavour from the tournament. “To be hosting the World Cup should be something special. We are a small nation and we should feel proud. In terms of a West Indian flavour, we are used to the music and cooking under the stands.” The performance of West Indies has added to the general depression, with just over half the tickets being sold for the hosts’ big game against Australia last week.