Wherefore art thou, Pakistan?

In the last couple of days we’ve travelled west to Grenada, where we watched a second one-sided match in as many days. Indeed, we made it to the lovely ground here with Ireland languishing on 60 odd for 9. About an hour and ten overs later it was all over, with Mahela Jayawardene playing some memorable shots.

While the Irish have done themselves proud in this tournament, it was a shame for the organizers here that the match was never likely to be a contest. What a difference it would have made if the Pakistanis had got their act together so many weeks ago. At lunchtime, when the match had long finished, there was a heart rending scene as local boys and girls performed a well choreographed dance to highlight AIDS awareness to empty stands. It should have been appreciated by thousands of fans waiting for a tense run chase between fierce rivals. The Grenadians had done all they could to stage a party, but the guests of honour hadn’t shown.

Talking of no-shows, I couldn’t have been more wrong about England. Strauss didn’t get his ton, the Boks didn’t choke and we hardly raised a whimper in the whole tournament. Again, what should have been a marvellous sporting occasion was a total anti-climax. The Baijans, likewise, could not have done more. A friend on the boat Richard Butler was beside himself with frustration. “What is most galling,” he said, “is that England have not played any attacking cricket. They have died wondering.” To see AB de Villiers, Graeme Smith, Jayawardene and Sanath Jayasuriya giving it a lash has shown what can be done.

With luck, tomorrow’s game will be 100 overs long! No predictions this time. Just a full game will do me fine.

Ian Valentine is a freelance journalist blogging his diary of the World Cup for The Corridor

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