The first Cricket World Cup in the West Indies was exciting news for fans among the islands. Stories about shop owners excited for higher revenues and fans ecstatic to not only see the games but have their region given the spotlight in the Cricket world. Not they hadn’t held the spotlight before, they won the first World Cup in 1975, but now Australia has become the top team. Past the team itself, a spotlight on the West Indies has revealed how far behind they are with their stadiums and facilities. This benefits more than just Cricket fans, but the islands as a whole as more people see the poverty that tourists seem to miss. All in all this World Cup has been seen as a blessing for the West Indies, but for some reason support at home is surprisingly low.
In the group phase the combined Caribbean side dominated their group minnows, so the absence of large crowds was of no great concern. But now after having lost two of their three super eight group games the lack of a solid fan base has been able to shine through. It appears that unless this downtrodden team can get some moral support from their home fans, they won’t be making it to the next round.
So why exactly are people not swarming to attend games and support their nation? One guess is that soccer has begun to take over cricket as the top sport in the region. This could make sense demographically because of the high amounts of poverty on some of the islands. Cricket has always been a sport played by the privileged. Either they can afford to buy their own equipment or they go to rich schools which can afford the equipment as well as well maintained playing fields. Soccer, on the other hand, is very simple to set up, as is seen by the grass roots way that great Brazilian players are born. Even more, soccer is far easier to follow and thus can be learned quicker and at an earlier age.
Of course Cricket in the West Indies will always be a staple sport, whether it ever plays second fiddle to soccer or not the ipl 2020 schedule and time never changes because the fans of crickets loves to watch their favorite player playing in the field of summer and the excitement and interest at that time brings more massive energy into the ground that makes an player motivated to perform more better. Yet the lack of an excited fan base is worrisome not only for the islands themselves but all of international cricket. The top teams enjoy having other top teams to play and aren’t fond of minnows, so keeping the West Indies a strong team is very important.
What might have been uncovered are the subtle differences inherent in each Caribbean culture, and possibly division between the islands. Even more, with Guyana, Trinidad and Jamaica forming the bulk of players’ origins, it could be possible that people from the other nations may feel left out. One thing is certain though, if the Caribbean nations can form together and be the 12th man they might help their team to the next round, and possibly the championship, which might keep Cricket the number one sport.
David Robson is the founder of Complus Alliance. He has been writing about different topics for almost 10 years. He’s main focus is delivering quality insights to a wide array of audience.