Recently, I went to my first ever international match in Canada. Hell, it was my first ever live match watched in a cricket 'stadium'. Don't judge me. Cricket matches weren't the best places for young girls to be at in Bangladesh when I was young. Thankfully times have changed.
I was like a maniac at this game. People around me thought I was strange because I screamed when Mark Boucher came to bat. Nasir Hossain was cheered, whistled at (I am not kidding you...) and also booed (2 drop catches...sigh) by the many, many Bangladeshis there. A lot of people, including myself, were waiting for Lara to bat. He never came. We thought he had backed out in the last minute.
Shockingly, I have just found out that Lara was there but refused to bat because he wasn't paid. Neither were any of the other players. Sanath Jayasuriya among others had to buy their own plane ticket. Mind you this game was to promote cricket in Canada.
I'm not going to lie to you, the game was a poor show of cricket. Half the players looked like they weren't interested, the rest yesteryear's superstars who had put on weight (Oh Saqlain!!). Yet we cheered at every 6 and every wicket like we were at the game of our life. It was a rare opportunity for us. Most of the stadium was empty (it holds 50,000 and there were maybe 5,000 of us) and the pitch was some sorry-ass cardboard because there was a huge baseball game taking place in that stadium the next day. The wicket were the plastic ones kids practice on, but we stayed till the end and enjoyed every moment of it.
Little did we know that the damn organizers couldn't even be bothered to fucking pay the players, so we get this opportunity on a much larger scale moving forward. Is this how you promote cricket in a country?
We didn't complain when we saw the best you had was Sunil Joshi, Stuart McGill (although he made our day when he yelled at the music person for keeping the music on while he was bowling) and some random 'Canadian' cricketer to replace Shahid Afridi. There were some Kiwi superstars there too, but let's face it, they don't draw the crowds. We were still okay with it. We cheered on Jacod Oram's horrible bowling and a bored looking Mark Boucher's many, many half attempts. YOU couldn't even make sure that these players get paid properly so they come back and actually give a shit the next time.
I thought the poor camera angles (which weren't changed because of said baseball game), the jerseys with no names on them (we spent half our time guessing who Batsman 1 and Batsman 2 were) and the atrocious pitch was bad enough. Then you do this?
If you are trying to encourage people's interest in a game at least make a decent attempt. What do you think the cricketers will tell the youngsters who want to play the game for a living?
'Do you want to be broke the rest of your life? Then this is the game for you'.
Hi Canadian cricket, the players that you so proudly brought over to show off and sell your tickets..yeah, this is kind of their living. It's their job! They don't show up to games just to get some love and cheers. Yet they did. For you. Are you ashamed of yourself yet?
I am embarrassed for Canada. I can't believe I missed a once in a lifetime opportunity of watching Brian Lara bat, because some asshole thought it would be okay to drag him all the way here just for fun. I can't believe the state of Canadian cricket. I can't believe these people are actually sitting there and thinking they did a good job because they got some stars to play for free once in a blue moon.
Get the Afghanistan Cricket Board on the phone so they can take over.