March 31, 2020
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Marley's Maidens

A World Cup diary from the windward isle...

Marley's Maidens
Marley's Maidens
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When the lights in the Trelawny Stadium went off before the end of the opening ceremony of the ICC World Cup, many took it for a glitch. But it turned out that the stadium had been darkened to make way for a series of music videos by reggae legend Bob Marley. Performing on the podium were his famed backup singers, the I-Threes (above, from left, Judy Mowatt, Rita Marley and Marcia Griffiths), who sang Three Little Birds, Buffalo Soldier and One Love, ending with ‘Don’t worry about a thing, ’cause every little thing gonna be all right.’ Finally, the feeling of the World Cup’s coming to the West Indies sunk in.

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Pitch Report

What to expect at the World Cup?
It’s still early days and all Cup venues have not yet hosted their first games. But the indication, after the first few games, is that the pitches are on the slower side, but with a bit more bounce than many anticipated.

Batsmen will need to:

  • Adjust to the pace and bounce of pitches
  • Time shots really well
  • Openers must win battles against new ball
Medium-fast bowlers will need to
  • Expect the ball not to swing after the first few overs
  • Fall back on variety, especially slower deliveries
Spinners will need to
  • Give batsmen no width
  • Not drop the ball short

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" They use frisbees, they play football, rugby... I haven’t understood the role of various specialists who crowd the dressing rooms ."Big Bird’ Joel Garner, West Indian fast bowling legend, on today’s coaching methods

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9.55
Scotland pace bowler Dougie Brown’s economy rate in the match against Australia at Basseterre in St Kitts on March 14. It is the second-highest in a World Cup spell of at least eight overs. Sri Lankan fast bowler Ashantha de Mel has the dubious record of conceding 9.70 runs an over in 10 overs against the West Indies in Karachi in 1987.

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Cricket, Ce Qui?
The rest of the West Indies and the cricket world are kicking up a fuss over the World Cup, but not the sleepy little island of St Lucia (population: less than 2,00,000). The economy depends on bananas and tourism. Inevitably, the New Zealand team appears to feel at home. On the other hand, England may be struggling to come to terms with a lack of interest in the game in the island’s capital, Castries. Those in the know of things suggest that St Lucia’s laidback attitude can be explained by the fact that it was French settlers who first influenced island life, way before England’s gentlemen pioneered the game.

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Always Sir Viv
And you thought it happens only in India! Sir Vivian Richards missed the opening ceremony of the World Cup because, hold your breath, the organisers forgot to send him an invitation. It must take some memory lapse to forget a legend with 8,540 Test and 6,721 ODI runs. What did he have to say? "Shall we talk about how this Australian team has slipped?" he shrugged. "Or, about how much it would mean to West Indies cricket if our team wins?" However, he was present at events held in Kingston honouring the classes of 1975 and 1979 that won the first two editions of the World Cup. At a wonderfully nostalgic do on the eve of the opening game, former players such as Clive Lloyd, Andy Roberts, Rohan Kanhai, Michael Holding, and Joel Garner were present. The highlight was bottles of The First Legends rum, blended by the world’s first female master blender, Joy Spence, being presented to each world-beater. If that went off without a hitch for Richards, something else didn’t. The special blazer that the WICB presented the heroes was too small for him. "I guess they thought I was still the same as when we won the World Cup," he said.

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