Thu | Dec 1, 2022

Sabina Park – caught by rain, bowled by covers

Published:Friday | August 12, 2022 | 12:06 AM
West Indies head coach Phil Simmons kicks a water bottle as he wraps up the team’s final training session at Sabina Park.
West Indies head coach Phil Simmons kicks a water bottle as he wraps up the team’s final training session at Sabina Park.

THE EDITOR, Madam:

I am currently sitting (Wednesday, August 10) in the stands at my cricket Mecca, Sabina Park. I came here to watch the first of three West Indies versus New Zealand T20 International to be played here over five days. West Indies won the toss and asked New Zealand to take first strike. The match started on time, and play progressed to New Zealand reaching 94 for two after 11.2 overs. Play was then interrupted by a sharp shower. As the rains came down, groundsmen smartly dressed in uniform ran on to cover the wicket – careful, it seems, to avoid covering the bowlers run-up at both ends.

Rain interrupting play is not unusual; a friend once told me that the most sure-fire way of breaking a drought in Kingston is to schedule a cricket match at Sabina Park. In this case, the shower – perhaps being kind to a population starved of international cricket for too long – rained on the parade for only about 20 minutes. Yet an hour and a half later, play has not restarted!

As a Jamaican, I was totally embarrassed by what I experienced at Sabina Park today. First, the process of taking off the covers was the most inept I have witnessed. It was excruciatingly slow and laboured, yet it ended with a hapless ground writing an inverse CLR James script and dumping all the water collected on the covers on the boundary.

So spectators had to wait for areas inadvertently irrigated to be dried by sun. And remember no covers on the bowlers run-up? Sawdust had to be brought out to help there, after what must have been another elongated decision-making process.

This was an international match broadcast and streamed around the world. Today, television screens brought into sharp focus how much behind the rest of the world West Indies and Jamaica’s cricket management remains obstinately stuck. Today’s ‘pilgrimage’ left me and many Jamaicans in shame.

PATRICK DALLAS