Wednesday, April 24, 2024

BC’s B’dos – Torture20 cricket

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LAST MONDAY, in sympathy with Bajan children who last Tuesday sat the 11-Plus, a three-hour test taken at age 11 [and in some cases ten] that decides their remaining threescore years, I began my own 51-Plus exam, doing the maths section of a practice test. Instead of doing the English as planned today, though, I want to touch something that will be irremediable this time next week: that self-inflicted torture at Kensington Oval disguised as the ICC World Twenty20 Super Eights.Now it’s not the cricket itself I’m talking about, though I don’t blame anyone for jumping to that confusion. T-20 cricket is to Test cricket what crank is to champagne. One pardner summed it up in saying: “I never thought I’d live to see international cricket played by the same rules as Upper 2A versus Lower 2B during break.” It’s instantly exhilarating and even more quickly forgotten. You bend over to tie your shoelace and miss an almighty six or spectacular run-out? Don’t worry, there’ll be another one along in two or three balls, like the No. 11 bus or political gaffes. This form of cricket trades under many names – T/20, Twenty/20, 20twenty, 20/20, T20, Twenty20 – because it needs a lot of aliases; because once you recognise it when you see it coming, you won’t watch it. Far worse, though, than what we must call the cricket in a family newspaper is the cacophonous din West Indians are passing off as “atmosphere”. It’s not so much an insult to as a denial of our intelligence. When we hosted the 2007 World Cup, the International Cricket Council peremptorily banned the drums of the natives; and we made damn sure all those life-threatening conch shells and terrorist-infiltrated steelbands were detained at the parking lot. And everyone complained how dull and un-Caribbean our World Cup was.And it seems we intend to claw back now all the 2007 World Cup noise we lost. It’s not a fete in there at Kensington; it’s madness. It’s not atmosphere, it’s an assault on the senses. I’ve been in quieter sheeting iron factories. You leave the cricket feeling you’ve been beaten inside and out, even if your team won. T20 being crap cricket is not sufficient reason to allow non-stop music; particularly when it’s not particularly musical. I love a traditional Bajan tuk band – a four-piece outfit consisting of bass drum, snare drum, tin whistle and a man in a green monkey suit who wants to get into the cricket free – but the one in the Three Ws stand was not so much creating a communal vibe as obliterating all resistance. If you didn’t scream and blow your plastic imitation conch shell noisemaker, you were unpatriotic; but it was all fake. You can’t impose a communal spirit from the bottom any more than you can dictate it from the top. West Indian cricket is bad enough now without West Indian support also collapsing. Chris and company prove, at every opportunity, they can limbo below our readily lowered expectations and their last dreadful score. We should not accept the reduction of ourselves to a bunch of empty vessels for others to beat. Our approach to this competition should not be to “Make Some Noise!” but to keep deathly quiet and make some fire-trucking runs.lBC Pires will be reported to the House Un-West Indian Affairs Committee.

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