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West Indian Cricket - Do the Kids Know About It

West Indian Cricket - Do the Kids Know About It

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Published by hk7142

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Published by: hk7142 on Jun 30, 2012
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05/02/2014

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West Indies Cricket: Do the Kids Know About it?
Since its introduction into the world cricketing scene, twice World Cup winners, the WestIndies (Windies) cricket team has always presented a unique appeal to all those involved in thesport. That appeal has been on a steady and well documented decline since the end of the 1990swhich has seen them currently ranked as the 8
th
best team of the 10 Test playing nations. Theteam no longer dominates as it used to in the 1970s, 1980s and first half of the 1990s, andsometimes even struggles to beat lower ranked international teams. Great players had come andgone in the past, but there was always a steady stream of world-class athletes to thrill thecapacity-filled cricket grounds all over the world. Lately, that does not seem to be the case. Oncethe exciting standard bearers of a multicultural society of many nations, the Windies of todayseem more like a hodge-podge of average individuals with, at best, one or two truly aboveaverage athletes, representing the hopes of an entire region.It was a disheartening situation for cricket in general, when India hosted the Windies to acrowd of 1,000 spectators at the 90,000 capacity ground, Eden Gardens on November 14
th
,2011
1
. Far from being an isolated event, attendance figures have been on the decline even athome in the Caribbean. Television broadcasts of Test Matches and some One Day Internationalsroutinely portray large swathes of empty sections of the stadia. While this might be symptomaticof the problems facing world cricket in general, there is no doubt that the Windies brand nolonger grabs the imagination of the average cricket fan, young or old, home or abroad.There have been many theories with regards to the decline of the West Indies cricket both onand off the field. One possibility is the local national associations becoming more nationalistic intheir approach to developing the sport. Some of the larger member nations are seen as havingmore power and thus seem to influence certain decisions to the detriment of the smaller nations.Others have pointed to the economics of the games and particularly to sponsorships. It is nosecret that both the West Indian Cricket Board (WICB) and their cricket players enjoy thebenefits of corporate sponsorship. However, in recent times, the WICB and the West IndianPlayers Association have repeatedly clashed over non-payments of monies and sanctions againstplayers who represent rival corporate sponsors.Yet another theory that has been bandied about states that the interest in cricket by thedemographic aged 18-34 years old, has taken a backseat to other sports such as Football,Athletics and Basketball. This is of particular interest to the WICB because they have identifiedthis demographic as the target customer segment for its One Day International and Twenty20offerings
2
. The competition in this consumer segment is fierce. On offer for the football fan, isthe latest and greatest in European tournaments and leagues such as the English Premiership,Spanish La Liga a
nd UEFA’s very own Champions League. Local national footballers have alsocaptured the general population’s imagination with their heroics in foreign leagues and
subsequent participation at the FIFA World Cup Finals tournaments.Athletics and Basketball also represent a credible threat to the interests of the WICB.Nowadays, athletics have become premium sporting events that have been bolstered by theinvolvement of world-class Caribbean athletes such as World Record holder, Usain Bolt, AsafaPowell and Tri
nidad’s Richard Thompson. These athletes are seen or heard routinely on
commercials, on television, billboards and other outlets endorsing various products and

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