Rubbish is rubbish, not cricket

Guyana does rubbish better than most places on earth. Being largely at, or even below sea level, the country is crisscrossed with drainage ditches and canals and every single one of them, certainly in and around Georgetown, is a festering health hazard.

There are more plastic bottles and other non-degradable forms of rubbish on the beaches than anywhere else I have ever visited. This might not be so bad, or at least it might be manageable if the plastic detritus wasn’t mixed with so many festering dead dogs and other bits of unmentionable rotting stuff.

It’s real rubbish.

So to hear and read comments from former cricketers about the quality of the T20 international between Zimbabwe and the West Indies in Trinidad on Sunday was interesting. They said it was ‘poor’ – some said it was rubbish. One former England player said it was the worst game of international cricket he’d ever seen.

If only it had been played between England and, say, Australia. Or India – or anyone for that matter. I strongly suspect that some attention might have been paid to the tactics, planning and determined spirit which went into the performance of the victors.

Zimbabwe were 0-3 after three overs on a dreadful pitch – dreadful for batting, that is. But they never gave up despite what many teams would have regarded as an insurmountable stumble and dragged themselves to a total of 105.

The plan had always been to bat first and score around 140 before unleashing a battery of spinners including two of the best one-day exponents of the slow stuff in the game in captain Prosper Utseya and Ray Price who is, lest you hadn’t noticed, the number two ranked ODI bowler.

They opened the bowling with both of them before introducing leg spinner Graeme Cremer. They hustled through their overs, fielded with unrelenting bristle and strangled the home side before they had even worked out what was happening. You can call the West Indian batting whatever names you like, but the fact remains that Zimbabwe restricted the home team to 79-7 in 20 overs and it was neither a fluke nor an accident. It was a gripping contest which proved, yet again, that flat tracks and boundary smashing don’t always make for the best entertainment. In fact, it can be dull.

The rubbish was to be found the following day when the tourists landed at their next destination. And in what some experts blithely mouthed off about without stopping to think let alone give credit where it was due.

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