Waiting for Tuesday

Morning. I’m writing this from the boat in Barbados just a few moments before the start of the Aussie-Sri Lanka contest, a possible dress rehearsal for the final.

Boats in Barbados

Word among the Australians here is that their team will carry on steam rolling the opposition, as long as Hayden and Gilchrist continue to boss the opening exchanges. There is also a train of thought though that a Sri Lankan win might be just what the Aussies need to guard against complacency, probably their greatest threat to another WC win. So, perversely perhaps, if the Aussies do win today, here’s hoping they win at a canter.

We arrived on Saturday to the good news that Craig McMillan’s all round heroics had sunk the South Africans. Just what was needed to make tomorrow’s clash a belter. Despite a string of average performances, I can’t see anything other than an England win and I’ll repeat my prediction of a Strauss ton. The locals are rooting for us too, as are the Aussies on the boat, albeit for different reasons. Out of the remaining teams in the tournament, the Boks are the only one who still give them the willies. This baggage dates back to the 438 run chase and an insecurity that no total is too big if Herschelle Gibbs is in the mood.

Finally, just a quick word on Barbados. It’s just beautiful. While the Windies have failed to deliver on the pitch, the benefits to the island are plain to see with widespread infrastructure development including new roads, houses and businesses. Whether this is true for the rest of the Caribbean, I can’t be sure, but even in the four years when I last visited Barbados, the improvements are all too obvious. I can also report that the medical services here are excellent after one of our party fell off the aft deck and sliced his finger by gripping too hard on his punch glass. No doubt a common injury in these parts. And apart from a close shave with a Japanese catamaran, it has been a case of lie back, relax and wait for Tuesday.

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

Ambush marketing, West Indian style

On similar lines to my previous post comes a cracking post from Adam Mountford, a BBC producer. He had earlier reported that many Bajans were put off visiting the grounds due to the stringent rules imposed on them, so he tracked down Chris de Caires, chairman of the Barbados organising committee.

De Caires told me he wanted to make sure that people knew they were visiting the Kensington Oval in Barbados, not the Kennington Oval in London. But he also told me one story which proves that the need to keep corporate interests happy is still on his mind.

The ICC will go to great lengths to stop “ambush marketing” – the practice whereby companies would hijack the World Cup to promote products which are rivals to the official sponsors of the event. Before the warm-up matches at the 3Ws Oval he had to go round all the toilets putting tape over any brand names on the bathroom furniture. Unfortunately one of the cleaning staff had obviously missed the brief about the dangers of ambush marketing.

She happened to be cleaning one night when she noticed lots of tape in the toilets and decided to remove it all so the toilets were properly cleaned.

Perhaps she has the right idea.

Reminds me of a funny situation in Nairobi last month at the Gymkhana. A guest was invited to hand out the Man-of-the-Match awards at a particular game, but he had to make a short speech beforehand. “What do I say? What does one do at these events?” he asked an ICC representative who told him he needs to mention the sponsors. All of them. And with the lack of funds made available to Kenya, there were two or three. It sounded so forced I couldn’t help chuckle at the banality and falseness of it all.