THE AL GILKES COLUMN: My money on India to lift Cup
IT TOOK A HAILSTORM to rain on the West Indies team’s parade through the ICC T20 World Cup 2014 and wash away all chances, no matter how slight, of them meeting and possibly, no matter how slight, beating India in today’s final in Bangladesh.
Nevertheless, I have been in an acute state of excitement and nerves as I anxiously awaited this morning to come so I sit in front my TV with a cup of coffee and enjoy what I anticipated would be the mother of all such finals.
The records show that apart from the 1996 World Cup, Sri Lanka has never won an ICC World Cup. Yet, they have reached finals three times – once in ICC World Cup and twice in T20 World Cup.
On the other hand, if India win today it will be the second time MS Dhoni has received the trophy. When the team reached the semis last week under his captaincy, their success rate also reached 100 per cent in the ICC tournaments, namely 50-over World Cup, T20 World Cup and Champions Trophy.
In T20 internationals, these two finalists have already faced each other five times with India beating Sri Lanka in three and Sri Lanka returning the favour in two.
So on whose bats and balls have you put your money where your mouths are? Let me stick my head out and state that although I tend to fancy Sri Lanka, with the on-field nerve-wracking conditions of this final, I am betting on India to better soak up the pressure, stamp their authority on the match and deliver a third cup into MS Dhoni’s gloves.
Meanwhile, in the wake of last week’s column in which I expressed concern over the modern-day absence of white Bajans from the field of popular local sports, especially cricket, football and basketball, it also dawned on me while watching last week’s semi-final matches in Bangladesh that there also exists a similar absence of the otherwise very visible Bajan Asian population as well.
With countries like India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and our own Trinidad and Tobago and Guyana producing some of the world’s best cricketers, is there some problem that prevents even a solitary Bajan Asian from shining on either the local or international fields of play?
In response to my concern about the non-representation by white Bajan, one reader wrote in an email: “Come on, Al. You and at least 95 per cent of the Barbadian populace know perfectly well that the reason why almost all Whites have given up playing cricket, football and the other sports you list is because of the overt racism they have had to endure over the years.
“You correctly list the sports that have significant white participants, namely polo, yachting and surfing. It does not take a rocket scientist to notice that these sports do not have [black] umpires or referees to unfair them, or large numbers of black spectators to intimidate them.”
From the other side of the fence, came: “I would like to point out that you left out a major sport which has in nearly all white Bajans and that is rallying, specifically . . . . You can check to see whether in the last 25 years any non-white has won either the club championship or Rally Barbados. And all in its power is done to make sure that that status quo is not interrupted.”
I can’t believe that all I did was to express a simple, innocent concern.