Florida Cricket: A Disappointing Failure

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ONDRIVE With Sham Samaroo

No amount of flashy ads, colourful press releases, or pumped-up articles can remake Florida into a cricket success story.

After six disastrous years, each year worse than the one before, one might safely say that the Florida cricket experiment has been a monumental disaster. Despite a somewhat promising start in 2012, the CPL games in Florida last summer were, to be quite honest, a sorry excuse for cricket. A number of fans who bought tickets for both days of last summer’s weekend double-header chose, instead, to go to the beach on Sunday. If the cricket was bad, the atmosphere was worst – there was no vibe to the city. One Toronto fan said he had more fun watching paint dry on a cold day. ONDRIVE has covered every major tournament in Florida starting with that T20 series back in 2012 between West Indies and New Zealand. It is very difficult to disagree with the fans.

At the press conference in 2016 (and again in 2017), ONDRIVE voiced the opinion that Florida was unsuitable as the hub for cricket in America. The issue has less to do with the CPL, per se, (the CPL has great potential), and more with suitability (or lack thereof) of the location. Don’t get me wrong. Lauderdale is a very beautiful city, but in terms of cricket, it is as dead as that two-time loser, Hillary, chances of becoming president. Of course, the ideal location would be the New York-New Jersey area. But, as ONDRIVE noted in a previous article, there is a major problem. New York does not have a single facility capable of hosting international games. And for that we must thank that now defunct, worthless, and organizationally corrupt New York Cricket Region (NYCR). For the last 25 years and more, the NYCR did absolutely nothing worthwhile – zero, nada, zilch – to advance international cricket in the region. Starboy says that most of these nincompoops, the NYCR administrators, were too busy engaged in petty turf wars, “frenism” (I scratch your back, you scratch mine), and fights over “who- is-the–big man”, to have done anything worthwhile for the region.

But now that the NYCR is no longer in existence (thank God for that), do not believe for a moment that the corrupting practices within the New York region will stop. Case in point: This past week there was a runoff election for the presidency between Dr. Atul Rai and Sushil Nadkarni. Naturally, in keeping with true democratic principles, the candidates would want to speak to the respective leagues.

Here in New York, there are two such leagues, the Commonwealth league and the Metropolitan League. Repeated attempts to reach the representatives of these leagues were unsuccessful. It is unclear who was responsible for casting the vote for the Metropolitan League (it is believed to be the VP).

Regardless, the most important question remains this: Entrusted with the responsibility of casting the vote, wouldn’t you want to hear from both candidates before making your decision? Isn’t that the right, the proper, the democratic thing? Most importantly, isn’t that the best way to truly represent your constituency, and the game of cricket? The answers of course are: YES, YES, and YES. Unless, of course, we are talking about a banana republic: what was it Barack Obama called them? – a shit show. And Donald Trump – a shit hole. But whether it is Barack’s shit show or Trump’s shit hole, corruption by any other name smells just as stink. And it is this very same putrid corruption that seems to impregnate and contaminate the NY cricket leagues. Take warning: You can run, but you can’t hide. None of this, mind you, is to cast any doubts on the election itself. From all reports so far, the election, for the first time in the history of US cricket was conducted in a fair and transparent way.

Meanwhile, next weekend, the CPL returns to Florida on August 17. Unless you are glutton for punishment, don’t waste money or time on this annual disaster. South Florida seems disinterested, perhaps even unconcerned about the cricket. Floridians might love their cricket, but not in sufficient numbers to generate the kind of interest, passion, and excitement that is expected when a sporting event comes to town. Starboy calls it “a feeling man” – and that feeling, regrettably, has never been felt in Lauderdale.

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The views expressed in this column are solely those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the views of the THE WEST INDIAN.

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