The power of the game

The Guyana leg of RBL CPL 2023 began on Wednesday at the Guyana National Stadium at Providence with the first of the home games for the local Guyana Amazon Warriors, even as Cricket Carnival events have already started. Fans, both here and from overseas, will once again savour the opportunities to experience and embrace all that has come to make up CPL.
Dubbed the biggest party in sport as cricket is played louder, CPL epitomises the positive evolution of world cricket, and further emphasizes the vibrancy of the game which characterizes 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 home 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 have branded with their own flare of effervescence through a fusion of colour, music and rapturous involvement.
As interest in cricket 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, 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 sanitized of partisanship as Guyanese rally around their stars. Of course, naturally, there has been disappointment over the Warriors not yet claiming the title. However, that has never prevented the overwhelming support local fans have given the team, with Guyana probably having the highest fan turn out for the tournament over the years.
Fans rally when the team seems to be on the ropes, and never hold back in their unbridled celebration of the joys of a Warriors’ victory. With a sea of colours from the waving flags of the Warriors and that of the country, accompanied by the blaring rhythmic music, often drowned out by the collective deafening screams of fans, the positive influence of cricket through the CPL is pellucid. The power of the game to effect the bypassing of differences and for rallying in unison for a common cause is never in doubt.
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.
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.