The Reuters global sports blog
Here’s Sports Pictures editor Greg Bos’s view: Photographer Phil Brown captured a superb action moment from the cricket match between England and the West Indies. He’s got the ball in the frame, the player with both feet off the ground and a clean dark background to make the image standout.
ORIGINAL CAPTION: West Indies’ Lendl Simmons reacts to an Amjad Khan bouncer during their cricket test match against England at Queen’s Park Oval in Port of Spain March 8, 2009. REUTERS/Philip Brown
To those uninitiated with cricket, to hear complaints about a playing surface being ‘flat’ would only further confuse them. As if the game, also hit by tragedy this week, wasn’t complex enough.
Now, a recent trend of high scores has led to criticism from some of the game’s former players, who are equally baffled by pitches that serve up nothing more than run feasts.
There was a romance about cricket in the West Indies but this England tour confirms that Caribbean cricket culture has been dealt a heavy blow by the decline of the local team,commercial interest and post-colonial inequalities.
The Kensington Oval in Bridgetown, Barbados is to West Indian cricket what Lord’s is to the English game but for this test match it is being occupied by the army of travelling supporters.
An interesting reversal in the accustomed roles of news and sports writers emerges from the newspaper coverage of Allen Stanford, the Antigua-based Texan who faces charges relating to an alleged $8 billion fraud.
Some reports on the news and business pages have described Stanford as a cricket lover. Others have deplored the role money has played in sullying the noble game, a reference to the winner-takes-all $20 million Twenty20 match between England and a West Indies XI bankrolled by Stanford last November.
In a week when Twenty20 cricket’s highest profile backer fell from grace, the drawn test between West Indies and England provided a strong reminder of the enduring quality of the long-form of the game.
The fraud charges against Allen Stanford have led the England and Wales Cricket Board to end its deal with him, meaning the Stanford-sponsored international Twenty20 events in England will never happen.
U.S. authorities charged Texas billionaire Allen Stanford and three of his companies with “massive ongoing fraud” on Tuesday as federal agents swooped in on his U.S. headquarters.
The England and West Indies cricket boards quickly suspended sponsorship negotiations with the financier following the news.
After the farcical scenes on Friday at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, where play in the West Indies v England test was abandoned after just ten balls, the authorities pulled out the stops to get the Antigua Recreation Ground fit for a hastily re-arranged test on Sunday.
While embarrassed that the unloved ‘ Sir Viv’ stadium was unable to put on a game, most locals were delighted at the chance to see international cricket back at the traditional home of Antiguan cricket.
Just when West Indies looked back on the up after the drubbing of England in the first test, cricket in the region has suffered another blow to its credibility.
The first day’s play in the second test match at Antigua was abandoned on Friday because of an ‘unfit and dangerous’ pitch, match referee Alan Hurst said.
England’s abject batting collapse against West Indies on Saturday, a 51 all out, was the third lowest total they have made in test matches and inevitably journalists search for an explanation for how Andrew Strauss’s side batted so badly.
I’m still searching and having read most of the attempts to explain, I’m not convinced that any of them, on their own, provide the answer .
Too many false dawns over the Caribbean in recent years have induced increasing pessimism among those who follow and cherish West Indies’ cricket.
Isolated flashes of brilliance, such as the record run chase to beat Australia in 2003, have been more than outweighed by a succession of heavy and, sometimes, humiliating defeats.