Gros Islet (St.Lucia) : It seems that the International Cricket Council (ICC) didn’t learn from the mistakes of the disappointing 2007 World Cup. This time ICC’s mega buck deal with Indian broadcaster ESPN Star Sports has assured that the World Twenty20 is out of bounds for the locals on television.
Many locals cannot watch their own team compete in a global tournament they are hosting because the local broadcaster, chosen to show live matches, is barely available to residents.
Instead, the dwindling number of cricket fans here have switched on the good old radio to follow the West Indies.
The Sydney Morning Herald reported that the ICC could have got a readily available station for coverage for peanuts to building a hype for the tournament. But the local channel that is broadcasting matches free-to-air is not even available in the fancy breachfront resorts.
Even the demand for tickets have gone down, and taxi drivers, shop keepers and men on the streets generally show interest in this tournament only if given a free ticket.
This is despite the fact that Darren Sammy is the only St Lucian in the Windies side. He produced one of the all-time great individual shows – 30 runs off 17 balls, 3-8 off three overs, and four catches – to lead the hosts to victory over Ireland in their first match Friday night.
The island was completely oblivious to Sammy’s star performance as many flocked to see a famed preacher giving a sermon, while others let loose at the infamous Gros Islet street party.
And with a jazz festival also happening, it is almost impossible to believe that a cricket world cup was being held in the tiny island if not for the recent influx of some uniform-clad subcontinent supporters.
Even the participating teams are having problems.
“Our computer analyst was distraught when it wasn’t on TV because he was going to be coding all the matches,” Australia’s assistant coach Matthew Mott was quoted as saying by the daily.
“It took us all by surprise, I’m not quite sure what that’s all about, it is disappointing.
“I know in the IPL the best thing was if you had a day off you could go out and have dinner, come back and watch the other games, fall asleep in your bed. It built the tournament up, it’s a shame we can’t get to watch those other games.”