Red Ball Cricket And Empty Stands

Mon, Mar 4, '19



Having not watched any live regional cricket for the past two or three seasons, I wandered into Sabina Park last Thursday afternoon to have a look at the four-day game between the Jamaica Scorpions and the Leeward Island Hurricanes.

Fortunately for me, regional cricket’s all-time leading wicket-taker Nikita Miller was in his element on the day, snarling another impressive seven first-innings wickets to add to his already impressive career aggregate, in a game that the Scorpions eventually lost.

Miller’s exploits aside, the thing that struck me most of all was how empty Sabina Park was in the middle of a regional four-day game. Outside of a few media practitioners, who, by virtue of covering regional cricket on a regular basis, seemed indifferent to the hollow emptiness inside the park, there were also members of the maintenance staff, as well as some very bored security personnel. From my vantage point, I did not see even one individual, who appeared to be a mere spectator watching the cricket.

This is elite domestic cricket with senior West Indies representatives in both teams, yet not even the proverbial man and his dog were interested enough to journey to the park, sit, and watch a game involving the home team, Jamaica. The reality is, though, that the poor attendance for this level of cricket across the region is a mere index of what is happening generally in the longer formats of the game all across the world.