The sterile, lifeless World Cup

Or, rather, the lifeless Antigua Recreation Ground. A passionate, albeit depressing piece from Mike Selvey:

It has gone now. Rather than plough strong investment into upgrading the ARG sympathetically, to preserve cricket’s integrity here, Chinese money, grabbed eagerly, has produced the new stadium out of town. Of its kind it is a fine facility and a fitting monument to the greatest batsman of the modern era. But what of the other heroes? It has a north end and a south end, as bland as that. Where is the character? Where is the recognition of Antigua’s cricket heritage immortalised in calypso: Richie Richardson (“Who is dat man flashin’ blade in de han’?”), Ambrose (“He mek de batsman shiver when he run up to deliver”) and Andy Roberts? The stands named after Richardson and Roberts still look down on the field set up for net practice.

This still should be their epitaph. Instead Antigua has a white elephant that will see, if it is lucky, one Test match a year and little else. There is talk of enticing baseball teams down from the States. That is the legacy that the World Cup could leave on the island. Baseball. I shut my eyes once more, feel the vibes and want to weep.

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