It has been exactly a week since the finals of the 6th T20 Caribbean Premier League (CPL) tournament was played at the Brian Lara Stadium in Trinidad, where our Guyana Amazon Warriors (GAW) unfortunately lost to the Trinbago Knight Riders. That it was to a team they had defeated twice during the season – the last occasion guaranteeing them a place in the finals – was hard enough for our Guyanese fans; but that it was also the fourth time they lost in the finals, was heartbreaking.
From the launch of the CPL in 2013, when the GAW local franchise was acquired by a local business entrepreneur – an event still unique in the league – it became clear that cricket was more than just a game to us in Guyana. It represents the seminal event that brings together our diverse peoples as one and made Providence the most energetic cricket stadium in the world, as the fans expressed their support for their team in the most creative and vociferous manner possible.
The CPL games at Providence Stadium have now become a fixture on the calendars of a wide swathe of Guyanese from all strata and all regions of our country. The professionalism in which the games have been organised and executed have redounded to the capacity-building facility of our Private Sector, working in tandem with State agencies, such as the Police. The Government itself has recognised the value of the CPL games through its support via several Ministries such as tourism. The lead sponsor for the last season by Exxon, the first by that multinational corporation with operations in most of the cricket-playing nations, is another endorsement of the GAW. For all these reasons, we cannot simply dismiss the impact of the GAW’s loss in the CPL finals as “just another game”.
But in doing so we cannot also merely fixate on just that last game: we must consider the pride the Warriors aroused in all its fans during this season and in the seasons before. The fact that the GAW appeared in four of the six finals tells a story in itself: that the worse it did in four of those seasons was number two. Indeed, that was true for FIVE seasons, but we were ousted in one of the “eliminators”. This was an extraordinary performance to sustain over six years, since each of the other teams would have been exhorted to better their performances, and this must be acknowledged and appreciated.
What makes this consistency – the best in the League – even more amazing is that it was done without any of the more T20 flamboyant figures that some believe are essential for success in modern cricket. A measure of this success therefore must be due to the managers and coaches of the team who play such an invaluable role in motivating players to rise to their full potential and even more importantly, to play as a team. The GAW has also acted as a crucible for blooding and developing new and young Guyanese cricketers, from their sponsorship of U19 players to participate in their local camp to signing them up when they show promise. Beaton, Paul, Hetmyer and Rutherford are only some names from the latter group.
It has been said that one of the definitions of “insanity” is to do the same thing over and over again but expect a different result. But to their credit, the management of the GAW has been willing to make changes after every season in an effort to better the performance of the team. Meaning, to win in the finals, which is certainly the goal in any sporting tournament, they have changed players, coaches and staff – not reactively but rather in a considered, deliberate fashion, to correct identified shortcomings.
It is expected that the same will be done after this season to facilitate the GAW reaching the pinnacle of achievement in the years to come. The loyal Guyanese fans deserve no less.