6 Things We Must Do To Rescue Test Cricket

By Zaheer E. Clarke

Published May 30, 2016

Save Test Cricket

FANS FLOCK: Domestic T20 Leagues around the world have brought families through the gate and are rated highly on TV. Photo: Will Russell/Getty Images

Test cricket has been the mecca format of cricket since 1877, almost 140 years. However, with the emergence of One Day Internationals (ODI) – 45 years ago – and lately the onslaught of Twenty20 (T20) cricket – in the past 11 years – many believe that Test cricket’s death is imminent. We heard the same conversation shortly after 1971 when ODIs came on the scene. The argument has now reached new fortes with T20’s dominance and appeal among diehard and casual cricket fans.

The antagonists all point to the dwindling crowds attending Test matches in the Caribbean and in other countries as to the reason why Test cricket will take its final breath. However, the overgrown grounds in England and Australia during the summers are no surprise and hints to Test cricket’s fever pitch appeal. West Indies once had that same draw wherever in the world they toured, but the downward dive of the West Indian team’s performance has coincided with the plunge in spectatorship around the world and in the Caribbean.

Some have called for Test cricket to quickly and quietly rest in peace. Others have suggested changes that will garner greater crowds, interest and revenue. Some of these recommendations range from the sensible to the senile. Nonetheless, let’s have a look at a few of the interesting and practicable proposals. Continue reading

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Tribute: Remembering Tony Cozier, my hero and distant mentor

by Zaheer E. Clarke

Published Monday, May 16, 2016

Zaheer E. Clarke pays tribute to Tony Cozier and describes the important role Cozier’s work played in his ascension as an award-winning writer and commentator on sports and West Indies cricket.

A young Tony Cozier and other West Indian Journalists arrive in England for a British government-sponsored tour
(photo credit: Caribbean Beat)

Last Wednesday when news of Tony Cozier’s passing reverberated around the world, I was in a seminar imparting my knowledge to the next generation. These kids who will be off to university in a few months saw me as one of their heroes. For eight months or so, I’d given of myself to their development and today would be my final gift to them. As I gave, one of my own heroes and the one who bestowed so much to me and others through his spoken and written words, Tony Cozier, slipped away quietly without my knowledge.

Every Sunday morning, I’d awake to read the Tonys – Tony Becca and Tony Cozier – before preparing my mind for the day and week ahead. Oftentimes, I’d catch Becca’s article in the wee hours of the morning before the world awakes and disrupts my peace and quiet with its crazed rush after dawn. Later in the morning, most times, during the middle of Sunday’s chaos, I’d drift away for about 20 minutes to sit, read and excogitate Cozier’s latest masterpiece. Continue reading

The Unlikely Journey From Certain Death to Champions

by Zaheer E. Clarke

Published Monday, May 9, 2016.

Andrea Bocelli takes off his top to reveal a Leicester City shirt to the delight of Leicester fans. Reuters / Darren Staples

Andrea Bocelli takes off his top to reveal a Leicester City shirt to the delight of Leicester fans.
Reuters / Darren Staples

What a story it has been this season in the English Premier League (EPL)? Leicester, the cellar dwellers for most of last season, are champions of England, after a draw last week Monday between London rivals, second-place Tottenham and defending champions Chelsea. Since then, it is fair to assume that no Leicester City fans have slept since their team won the EPL title. Their unencumbered joy can be seen in the streets as they continue to celebrate their rise from certain death to EPL champions.

Two days ago, before Leicester’s clash with Everton, Andrea Bocelli, one of the world’s most renowned tenors, was led to the centre of the King Power Stadium by Leicester’s manager, Italian Claudio Ranieri. Andrea stood before the microphone, with the fans waving their flags and towels in the blue and white of Leicester. As Andrea began to bellow the popular opera aria, “Nessun Dorma” (None Shall Sleep), Ranieri motioned to the crowd to settle down.

As Andrea sang, he removed his hooded jacket to unveil his Leicester City football jersey beneath. The fans of Leicester, the new champions of England, joined Andrea in a joyous chorus. Such irony, I declared, 4600 miles away,  as my body was overcome with emotions and covered in goose bumps. Continue reading

Has Orville Powell Lost His Marbles?

By Zaheer E. Clarke

Written April 27, 2016

Published May 2, 2016

Orville-Powell-1_w400

Orville Powell, President of the Montego Bay United (MBU) Football Club, had many fans worried about the participation of his team in the 2016 Red Stripe Premier League Finals.

Herbert Morrison old boy and President/CEO of the Montego Bay United Football Club, Orville Powell, sent shock waves throughout Jamaica football circles, when he threatened last week to withdraw his team, Montego Bay United, from yesterday’s Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL) final.

This threat, as iterated by Powell, has to do with a shift from the norms of the last two editions of the RSPL finals, which were played during TV’s prime time, 7-10 p.m.. The 2014 final and the 2015 final were both played at the National Stadium in Kingston with TV coverage of each beginning at 8:30 p.m. This year the organizers, the Professional Footballers’ Association of Jamaica (PFAJ), shifted the final to the Catherine Hall Sports Complex, Montego Bay United’s backyard, and scheduled the game for yesterday at 4 p.m.. Continue reading