NO one can doubt the success of the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) Twenty20 cricket competition which ended Saturday night with victory for the Jamaica Tallawahs over the Guyana Amazon Warriors.
It was T20 cricket of a fine quality and standard and must be viewed as a watershed in Caribbean sport.
Cricket fans were treated to stellar performances in all areas of the game, particularly in the department of fielding, which, it can be argued, has been the main beneficiary of the advent of T20 cricket.
Title sponsor Limacol, from which the region has heard little in recent years in terms of its marketing and promotions thrust, catapulted itself into the halls of glory by its very association with the event. We are almost certain that Limacol's principals are cock a hoop with the decision to associate the company with the CPL.
Just as the company's tag line refers to 'the freshness of a breeze in a bottle', we are hopeful that, for the sake of the continued prosperity of Caribbean cricket, specifically the T20 format, that freshness will transcend into brighter days for everyone involved.
One of the areas of success that can never be lost on us was the strong public support that the event received. Large numbers of people attended the matches and, from the very way that they expressed themselves, seemed to have enjoyed every bit of the time that they spent in the stands and corporate boxes.
Here in Jamaica, our foremost international cricket ground, Sabina Park, had never before attracted a capacity crowd since it was renovated for the start of the 2007 Cricket World Cup.
The hosting of matches there on Thursday, August 15; Saturday, August 17; and Sunday, August 18 not only filled the venue, but injected a fresh ray of hope that cricket's ailing support base will get the fillip that it needs to return to the days of the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s when the popularity of the West Indies, and some of the nations that made up the fantastic teams of those times, was at its highest.
The organisers were on the ball with the pricing of tickets for admission and the other incentives that were offered, in particular to civil servants. Maybe the West Indies Cricket Board could learn from this move, that it makes no sense to charge fees of $3,000 per day to watch a Test match. Rather, lowering the price to see such a match would naturally attract more patrons, and ultimately serve as a tonic for resuscitating the waning fortunes of Test cricket.
The $500 charge to attend CPL T20 matches was more than reasonable, considering the two-for-one package that was offered to some patrons.
The only sour note for Jamaica must have been the lack of floodlights under which cricket could have been played during the night. Sabina Park was the only venue without lights, but we are told that moves are advanced to bring the facility, named after a slave woman, up to par with the other venues in the region.
We await that upgrade, but urge the authorities to move with alacrity, otherwise Jamaica could find itself at the rear end of regional cricket development.
Congratulations to the Jamaica Tallawahs.