Ah did never like de set o' la couray dat Trinidad and Tobago success does bring. All de "fans" does come out o' wherever only when t'ing goin' good. When was de World Cup in Germany, ah did prefer to sit down in mih house wid a tall cup o' juice, loll off in mih Morris chair, takin' in de t'ing wid nobody aroun' to arkse mih nuttin'. Ah had de bes' seat in de house wid nobody red headdress in mih face, all de replay and close-ups and camera angles at mih disposal. Besides, it ent have nothing worse than when yuh concentratin' on de game an' some drunk jus'-come in de sports bar cyah find nobody but you to explain to dem what offside mean!
Last night wasn't no different. Dis time, de 20-20 final ketch mih on mih couch in mih unmentionables flickin' back an' forth between Miss Trinidad & Tobago and de Jamaica innings. But mih remote start to stick on TV6 when ah see Dave Mohammed bowl out Gayle at number five fuh a measely six runs! As de innings continue to unravel and de Jamaicans continue to be undone by We-Boys, ah tell mihself dem gyul an' dem could wait, oui...
91 runs! Dey couldn't even bat out dey 20 overs! Three whole over and two ball to spare!
Long as hell commercial break before We-Boys come back out to bat, an' ah could tell yuh ah feel it for Ramdin when he out. But small t'ing! He still make more dan half de Jamaica side could muster wid his eleven, wid ah six and ah four in de mix to boot!
But den Simmons an' Perkins settle een together and like dey tell deyself dey wasn't makin' de mistake dem Bajan boys make in de semis. Mohammed an' Emrit set de pace wid de bowlin'. Time fuh de batsmen to shine. Make de small score fast an' done de story. It ent have no waitin' an' takin' time in dat.
And is a batting exhibition from ball one against less dan stellar bowlin'! Fours an' sixes in a rage! All kinda fancy shot! Divin' forward an' over de shoulder... t'ing dat looking like ah West Indian immigrant's fanciful embellishment of Sobers at work against England in de 1950's.
At de end of it, Perkins raise his fifty. And Lendl do Uncle Phil damn proud, sloggin' a massive six to close the innings.
26 overs of play out of 40 to demolish the Jamaicans in Antigua!
Man of the Match for spin bowling. Play of the Match for Bravo on a run out. Two hundred thousand for de Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board. A cool million and championship rings for We-Boys...
And as ah watchin' de prizegiving, ah feelin' ah lil' pang. Ah shoulda be dey in Antigua in Stanford Grounds under lights.
Ah watch de fact dat de grounds was full of Trinbagonians and Jamaicans, and ah tellin' mihself ah never see nothing so, not before Sir Allen Stanford put money behind a West Indian institution - The Fete Match.
Bring the elder legends with the stories of glory days. Let people come and play who you would not have even thought of as cricketers. Limited overs with tight fielding, precision bowling and punishing batting... Complete cricket in a neat package, playable by and acceptable to all. And in these days when West Indies cricket is bereft of joy, the Stanford Tournament is a festival and a showcase of overlooked talent.
Whether the man has ulterior motives or he just has a love for the game as an adopted Caribbean citizen, Stanford is to be roundly thanked and commended. In two short years, he has done more for public passion over Caribbean cricket than the West Indian Boards has been able to muster. You can see it in the players. You can see it in the crowds. You can see it in him...
And for the first time in many a year, I felt like I should have been there...
Congratulations to Trinidad and Tobago, to Captain Daren Ganga and his team, on full success the second time around! May the boys tighten up where it is necessary, and may there be even greater success in future. May the West Indies selectors cease to overlook incisive spin bowling! May the future of the one-day and test batting attack be found in Trinidad and Tobago as our young batsmen grow from strength to strength.
Congrats to Sir Allen Stanford and his team on a second successful tournament. May he and the Antiguan Government host many, many more.
May the West Indies Cricket Board open their eyes and realize that there is far more of a talent pool available to them (including spin bowling!) than their current crop of recycled underachievers... but let me not get ahead of myself now. Perhaps some things are too much to ask.
A few things you might not have known about Sir Allen Stanford:
- He was born on the island of St. Croix in 1950
- He's the chairman, CEO and sole shareholder of the Stanford Financial Group, managing over US$43 billion in 136 countries on six continents
- His personal net worth is estimated to be in excess of US$2 billion
- He is committed to a variety of causes, including St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, the Pan American Development Foundation (PADF), and Inter-American Economic Council (IAEC), a group established by the Organization of American States which addresses economic development in the Western Hemisphere.
- He has contributed in Antigua more than US$1.2 million to the construction of a modern public library, $25 million to the Secondary School of Excellence fund for youth, and made $10 million available in a revolving loan fund for small business entrepreneurs.
- He has created and funded the Stanford 20/20 cricket tournament in the West Indies, for which he built his own ground in Antigua.
- Stanford was awarded a knighthood by Antigua and Barbuda in 2006, when he was appointed Knight Commander of the Most Distinguished Order of the Nation (Antigua and Barbuda)