“Rally, rally round the Guyana Amazon Warriors

I have to take time off from my ruminations on “medicining” to talk this week about cricket. We must have our priorities in order, don’t we? And I’m a certified cricket tragic – just can’t get enough of the game.

Cricket’s always been one of the things that has brought us together as a Caribbean people – never mind it’s the source of some of the fiercest arguments you can imagine. You know the most passionate arguments are with families!! Now the West Indies in the ODI final against the Aussies and (more to the point) with the CPL starting next week, I’m sure the “words around cricket” will be flying faster and more furiously than ever before.

We Caribbean people, after all are acknowledged across the globe for “knowing their cricket”. We have a reputation to maintain!!! And with CPL, we now have our own individual country’s teams!!

One thing I really like about this CPL tournament (apart from the fact that we have our own team and we’re getting games in Guyana without begging anybody) is that many young, local cricketers are getting a chance to play. This opportunity will both give them a chance to experience what it’s like playing against International players and also a chance to shine and be recognised.

When the CPL was launched, I noted with the other tournaments like the IPL, CLT20, and Australia’s Big Bash, there were so many new players who impressed us and eventually made it onto their national teams.

I prayed, “Hopefully the same will happen for the West Indies – we’ll discover some new talent to revive the current team.” Well…look how our under-19 team did in the World Cup! Three Amazon Warriors incubated players!!

Guyanese have always supported the West Indies more than most, because we identify with the West Indies – we’re West Indians. We mightn’t strictly be a part of the West Indies geographically – we’re smack on top of the AMAZON.

But culturally and historically, we’re more West Indian that some of the islands. We’re cut from the same cloth, we all survived colonialism, we used cricket as our way of beating the rulers at their own game. So we’ll support the West Indies – they’re our team. But with them sometimes snubbing our Guyanese players, it’s difficult not to feel a bit miffed.

But with the CPL, we’re rooting for something else entirely. We’re rooting for our country. The Guyana Amazon Warriors are OUR TEAM!!! It’s Guyana versus Trinidad, or Guyana vs Barbados – not West Indies against the rest of the world. It’s a powerful thing, this nationalistic feeling. It’s a whole new adrenaline rush when it’s your country’s team that wins. It’s your country’s flag that you’re waving; your country’s colours that the players are wearing; it’s you, the Guyanese people who are being represented. All within the Caribbean family of course!!

In Guyana, we don’t have trouble having sold-out matches, we’re always starved for more cricket. I’m sure this set of matches in the CPL will be the same. It’s a wonderful opportunity for families or friends to hang out together to enjoy a sport that has brought together so many generations of sports enthusiasts. They scoffed at the new slam-bam format in the beginning – but now that T20 has brought is so many new fans, no one’s scoffing any more.

The local games begin on next week’s Thursday night; may the best team (Guyana Amazon Warriors) win. I may just sneak away from my books to be there!

Enjoy the view.