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Joking with sports

Ezra Stuart

Joking with sports

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SOMETIMES I just wish I had followed my school and cricket teammate Trevor “Dynomite” Eastmond and had become a comedian instead of a sports journalist.
That way no one would take me seriously when I comment on Barbados or West Indies cricket and sports in general. You see, Government and many administrators, with their unfulfilled promises, really make plenty of sport with sports.
Imagine, less than two months before the prestigious London Olympics, our medal hopeful Ryan Brathwaite, and that’s no joke, our Berlin hero, who won gold in 110-metre hurdles at the World Championships in 2009, will have to run on a substandard, deteriorating track with erroneous measurement and with potholes, like most of our roads.
It may also be the perfect time for him to pay a visit to the Lazaretto to see the progress being made on the proposed Ryan Brathwaite track so that next year, should Government again defer the laying of a new track at the dilapidated National Stadium with its mucky cycling track, dry and uneven playing field and poor lighting, he and other promising athletes would have a modern facility at which to train and compete.
More laughable
Isn’t it ironic that the International Cricket Council (ICC) abhors Government interference in the administration of full members (boards), associates and affiliates, but its cricket committee chairman Clive Lloyd heads the Government-appointed Interim Management Committee, which has taken over the running of the sport in his native Guyana, even locking the West Indies Cricket Board-recognized Guyana Cricket Board out of its office?
What is even more laughable is that the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB), a full ICC member, opted not to stage any cricket matches under its auspices in that South American territory, whose cricketers have been representing the West Indies for decades.
Who really cares when at month end the New Zealand’s visit to the Caribbean will start in Florida, where the West Indies will host the Black Caps in two Twenty20 matches, much to the delight of the Americans?
All good things definitely come to those who wait, and it is always better to be late than never. But I really wonder if, had the Queen had died before her last birthday, Reverend Wesley Hall, one of the most iconic and internationally recognized sons of Bajan soil, would have been belatedly knighted for his cricketing excellence, his incomparable eloquence and statesmanship.
We should also thank Sir Vivian Richards for his new formula to get present-day West Indian cricketers like wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin to make runs.
Our selectors, after taking a joke a bit too far for the recent three-Test England series by choosing only two opening batsmen – and unproven ones to boot – thereby guaranteeing selection regardless of performance to players who had shown absolutely no form in the preceding home series against Australia, must be commended for picking a pack of T20 power hitters for the ODI series.
First, it was the two young pacers Shanon Gabriel and Kemar Roach, followed by Darren Bravo to prematurely return home from England on C.J. Clark’s long injury list.
But former captain Chris Gayle must be choking himself with laughter that he didn’t add insult to his injury, which sidelined him for the first ODI after his injury-free and run-filled IPL stint.
It is now left to be seen whether his new pledged commitment to play in all formats will see him sign a WICB contract.
But maybe the WICB, with a massage therapist now on board, should hire Denis Waight as an injury consultant.  
Locally, I would turn a blind eye to the fact that we are into the fourth series of nine in the rebranded LIME Elite Division and have seen three series in the Sagicor Super Cup, and the BCA is yet to put a new selection panel in place.
I also feel that I would again be threatened with eviction from certain premises or be castigated for constructive comments if I dare mention the names of those playing fields which are not cut every weekend, especially when it is known that the visiting team is batting. But I would be a fool to believe that there aren’t four square pegs in round holes when flimsy excuses can be made that the lawn mower has broken down or isn’t working.
Also, it is really unacceptable that some clubs throw a piece of black cloth over an existing sight screen or some concoction for matches in the Super Cup, the country’s showpiece knockout competition.
But such is accepted as umpires and match referees still allow play and probably jot down notes in their match reports.
I may even have to resurrect the late Vere Millar as there are far too many bowlers, mostly off-spinners, with suspect bent-elbowed actions, who should be playing darts or throwing the javelin but are now supposedly benefiting from the ICC’s allowable 15 degrees.
Like me, you may wonder why with all the momentum from his record 95 and impressive bowling and two scalps in the rain-ruined final Test, Tino Best wasn’t selected for the first ODI in English conditions, which he seems to have mastered, unlike some of the others.
Dwayne Smith had to wait two years to play One-Day cricket again, so maybe calypsonian “Smokey” Burke should include Best on his waiting list.