CRICKET: CWI insulting Caribbean cricket fans and followers’ intelligence – commentary

—  with its report on a “successful” England T20 Series

By Tony (McWatt) and Reds Perreira

According to the February 4 Report issued on Cricket West Indies’ (CWI) website:

“CWI, in a wide-ranging collaboration with the Government of Barbados, the Ministry of Health and Wellness, the Barbados Cricket Association (BCA) and Kensington Oval Management Inc., (KOMI), safely hosted the Betway T20I Series with thousands of fully vaccinated local and travelling fans within the stadium carefully managed to 50% of its capacity!”

The report further states: “The Betway T20I Series signalled a successful return of spectators in large numbers to watch cricket, with Barbados hosting an average of 4,300 fans attending each of the matches. With capacity restricted to a maximum of just under 5,500 fans to allow for the safe hosting of the event with distancing between groups of fans!”

“An aggregate of just over 22,500 persons attended the five matches. As the excitement built, home fans returned in greater numbers to watch the West Indies making up over 51% of all fans for the fifth and final Betway T20I. The longstanding appeal of watching England away games in the Caribbean led to an average of 2,500 travelling England fans attending each game!”

The CWI powers that be, who issued and signed off on that report, must now hold Caribbean cricket fans in the lowest possible regard, in terms of their individual and collective intelligence. For starters, the report is blatantly inaccurate in its suggestion that Kensington Oval’s current spectator seating capacity is only 11,000. That figure follows from CWI’s indication that the total amount of fans allowed in to watch any of the five matches played was 5,500 at “50% of the capacity!”

According to CWI’s very own website: Kensington Oval’s listed capacity is actually a whopping 28,000! 17,000 more than the report’s  11,000 total. What is also now blatantly obvious is that in their haste to make the actual figures look as attractive as possible, whoever actually wrote the report neglected to double-check Kensington Oval’s listed capacity!

Indeed, if memory serves us correctly, the capacity of the old Kensington Oval, prior to its 2007 ICC ODI World Cup inspired refurbishment, used to be 14,000. Based on CWI’s report, however, the 2007 transformation of Kensington Oval into its current existence as a world-class, state-of-the-art facility also somehow resulted in a consequential reduction of its seating capacity to thousands of seats less than there were before!

That serves to emphasize just how insulting CWI’s suggested 11,000 seat capacity is to our intelligence! Having engaged in the most blatant inaccuracy, the report delves even deeper in its relentless assault on our intelligence with its suggestion that the series was, from an attendance standpoint, worthy of being deemed as “successful!”   In that regard success, must have an entirely different meaning to the report’s author than it does to us. 5,500 fans per game over a five-match series, equates to 27,500 persons in terms of the total possible attendance. Yet CWI has indicated by its own admission that the total attendance for all five matches was only 22,500.

That’s a full 5,000 spectators less than the 27,500 five-match total that would have been possible under CWI’s drummed up, 50% limits of 5,500 per match. How can that now be labeled as a success in even the lowest acceptable form of the word?

In terms of the local Bajan or Caribbean attendance perspective, the actualities based on CWI’s provided numbers are even worse. According to the report, an average of 2,500 travelling English fans attended each match. Over the five matches the total average English fan attendance would, therefore, have been 12,500. As a percentage of the reported actual total attendance of 22,500, that equates to approximately 55%.

That in turn means that over the five matches played at Barbados’ Kensington Oval, long regarded as the Mecca of West Indies cricket, the total local attendance was only 45% of the reduced capacity. And this after the ticket prices for local, Barbadian fans attending the matches had been reduced by 50%. By whose interpretation other than those now obviously in office at CWI’s Factory Road, Antigua, Headquarters, could that ever be deemed as “successful?”

The reality is that in its overly attempt to cash in on the attractiveness of the West Indies – England T20 Series, CWI established completely outlandish ticket prices ranging from US$40 -US$200 per match. Prices which being as they were, totally inconsiderate of the severity of the ongoing devastating effects of COVID on both Barbados’ overall national economy, as well as the financial welfare of its citizens, were summarily rejected by thousands of local cricket fans!

This West Indies – England T20 series report is just the latest example of CWI’s obvious disdain for the levels of intelligence among Caribbean cricket fans and followers. It immediately follows such fans having endured, during an extended period of almost six months, reoccurring, embarrassing, images of West Indies players appearing on globally televised international matches in team shirts bearing a former sponsor’s logo covered by masking tape.

“Tapegate,” as it has been appropriately dubbed by us, was first brought to CWI Vice President Dr Kishore Shallow’s attention as far back as last December. It has since then been explained, by Dr. Shallow, as an unfortunate yet completely understandable consequence of COVID related shipping delays.

Despite Dr. Shallow’s publicly issued promises that the matter would be addressed, Tapegate was still alive and present during the recently concluded T20 Series against England. No less than two West Indies players appeared in taped over team shirts during the entire Series.

Against such a backdrop of the Kensington Oval capacity numbers, disingenuous descriptions of less than allowable full house match attendances as successful, and the continuation of the wholly embarrassing and unsavory images of masking tape covered team shirts, it was impossible for us to comment on the other aforementioned topics which should rightfully have gained our attention. For that we would now, humbly apologize to our readers. In doing so we must also, however, make note of the fact that we have not in any way mentioned the other brewing West Indies team personnel interactions fiasco that has resulted in a meeting between CWI and the Players Union WIPA being scheduled.

Maybe the time has now come for the “C” in CWI to be representative of the Trinidadian word “Comess,” which means utter confusion!

About The Writers:

Guyana-born, Toronto-based, Tony McWatt is the Publisher of both the WI Wickets and Wickets monthly online cricket magazines that are respectively targeted towards Caribbean and Canadian readers. He is also the only son of the former Guyana and West Indies wicket-keeper batsman the late Clifford “Baby Boy” McWatt.

Guyana-born Reds Perreira has served as a world-recognized West Indies Cricket Commentator for well over fifty years. Reds made his broadcasting debut during the 1971 West Indies-India Test Series and has commentated on 152 matches since then!



         Official Press Release from the Guyana Cricket Board.

                    Guyana Harpy Eagles Depart Guyana

Keen on Regaining Region 4-Day Championship Honors

The Guyana Harpy Eagles departed on Sunday February 6, 2022 to Trinidad to open their campaign to regain the Cricket West Indies (CWI) regional 4-Day championship honors. The Guyana Harpy Eagles will play Windward Volcanoes from February 9-12, 2022 at the Queen’s Park Oval. The senior national players are keen to get on to the field after a prolonged absence of Regional 4-Day Tournament due to COVID-19 pandemic.

The GCB’s President Bissoondyal Singh remarked, that based on reports the players have been able to utilize their time away from regional tournaments to improve their capabilities of performing consistently well at the regional and international levels. The GCB has invested immensely in the preparation of the players and will continue to advance meaningful relations in ensuring sustainable funding and player professional conduct. President Singh went on to state that he trusts all members of the Guyana Harpy Eagles will excel in the five-round West Indies Championship 2022 and that the GCB looks forward to the national team winning the tournament.

The Guyana Harpy Eagles squad is:

Leon Johnson (Captain), Keemo Paul (Vice Captain), Chandrapaul Hemraj, Tagenarine Chanderpaul, Vishaul Singh, Askhaya Persaud, Anthony Bramble, Tevin Imlach, Veerasammy Permaul, Gudakesh Motie,  Nial Smith, Clinton Pestano, Shimron Hetmyer, Keon Joseph and Antony Adams.

The Management Staff is: Manager Albert Smith, Head Coach Esuan Crandon, Assistant Coach Manager Ryan Hercules and Physiotherapist Angelica Holder.

This is an Official Press Release from the Guyana Cricket Board.

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