National pride and excitement ran high as thousands of Guyanese flocked the Guyana National Stadium at Providence, East Bank Demerara to be part of the exciting Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) home match on Thursday.
It must be stated from the outset that the Hero CPL managed to also unify a very much divided Guyana as persons from all sections of society regardless of their race, creed, sexual orientation and political persuasion rallied behind the Guyana Amazon Warriors.
So high was the amount of unity and cohesiveness in previous years that it is widely believed that the tournament stood out as one of the clear examples of social cohesion.
Hosting of the CPL games here is the kind of intervention that is needed to give a much needed boost to the country’s economy.
Guyana, through the CPL, has benefited significantly from hosting the event since the inception of the tournament in 2013.
Dubbed the ‘biggest party in sport’ as cricket is played louder, CPL epitomises the positive evolution of world cricket and further emphasises the vibrancy of the game which characterises the West Indian brand.
The natural enthusiasm through the vociferousness of fans in this part of the world evident over the decades, has in many ways influenced the atmosphere in other places, notably England. The game of cricket has been known for its more subdued but overwhelming attendance punctuated with a routine courteous appreciation of the art and showmanship of the game.
That has now changed as fans have fully gotten into the game, bringing liveliness through infectious music and innovative celebrations. This change has been directly credited to T20 cricket, which, again, the West Indians would have branded with their own flare of effervescence through a fusion of colour, music and rapturous involvement.
As interest in cricket would have waned in the past due to various factors, T20, through the CPL, has not only catapulted that interest, but transgressed the traditional fan base to overwhelmingly capture women and children. Among the many successes of T20 cricket, the ability to continuously and increasingly bring out women and children to the games is one of the biggest achievements.
This is what was needed for the sport, especially here in the Caribbean as CPL has now become a much-anticipated family event. The names and prowess of the plethora of stars of the various teams easily roll off the tongues of women and children as interest and expectation grow rapidly. One of the many factors driving this within the CPL is the many fan-based promotions by the various sponsors.
This has ensured that fans are not only directly involved in the process of creating the pulsating environment for which the tournament has become known for, but allows them opportunities to be the recipient of something tangible aside from the abundance of paraphernalia. This is where CPL has to be commended for making fans a priority in the process of building and sustaining interest.
That interest cuts across societal divides as evident in the support for the Guyana Amazon Warriors. The Providence stadium, since the inception of the CPL, has become known as a place sanitised of partisanship as Guyanese rally around their stars.
The Providence stadium, which has proven its worth over the years, has once again burst into life as cricket superstars from across the globe battle for supremacy. Guyana is once again in the international spotlight as millions join the global live broadcast from the East Bank corridor.
The benefits of such international exposure are priceless as are those that redound to the local economy from the hosting of CPL games.
Cricket has always been seen as a unifying force across the region. Here at home, CPL and the exciting exploits of the Guyana Amazon Warriors have created a formidable platform for the furtherance of that process.