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We've witnessed the 2 point something million dollar glitz and glamour of the Cricket World Cup Opening Ceremony. We've analysed the life out of all the pre-tournament warm up games. We've heard of players scurrying out of hotels on account of suspicious fires/smoke. We have even had to endure a delinquent captain shoot his mouth off like a child in a playground fight.
The questions remains, are we likely to get any real, meaningful action anytime soon?
We/the teams might be seriously struggling if this report is anything to go by. In what can only serve as a very apt lesson in diplomacy and manners for Ricky Ponting, Bob Woolmer only had this to offer when quizzed as to why the practice facilities at Sabina Park for today's opening World Cup match were not ready to be utilised:
"If you're asking why it's happened you're talking to the wrong man."
We have known administrators from the subcontinent as kings of the last minute preparations. It is not uncommon to find the final coat of paint being applied to cover up under-prepared structures, even as the fans stream into their stadiums. Hell, sometimes even the red carpet is literally rolled out right in front of the first celebrity that makes his/her way to partake of the corporate hospitality.
However, West Indian administrators have taken "last minute preparations" to a whole new level. Sure, new stadiums take a while to build and make inhabitable. The amount of effort that is applied in readying a new stadium is nothing short of extraordinary. But, they have had since 1998 to appropriately plan and execute.
This World Cup is undeserving of such shabby organisation and time management. The teams involved should not have to make last minute dashes to new practice venues, a day before their match.
One can only assume that this chaos is not the result of a lack of funds or time, but of laziness and indiscipline. The West Indian people deserve to be portrayed in a better light by their administrators. The tourists that pay exorbitant sums to watch this tournament deserve better returns on their invested fortunes. For all the promises of an organised and well executed spectacle, we are on track to see the total opposite. I do sincerely hope, however, that I am proven mightily wrong.
On the subject of promises, Andy Roberts has been talking up the pitches the matches will be played on throughout the competition. He seems to believe that they will be "sporting" and offer lots of bounce and carry, after the first couple of matches. One would think he would know what he is talking about. He is, after all, the "Pitch Consultant" for the World Cup.
Again, I hope we do see sporting pitches. I am not holding my breath, though. For all the new pitches that I have played on, or watched being played on, none are sporting; very few offer consistent bounce; and rarely do they improve during the course of a tournament, even if it is two months long.
We sure are in for a hell of a tournament, folks. Hold on to your seats.
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