Windies accused of partying late night before SA tie

Published: Friday, April 13, 2007, 5:00 [IST]
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St George's (Grenada):With host West Indies virtually eliminated from the World Cup, there is a firestorm of criticism going on from all circles with reports making rumours that the whole Caribbean side was in a party mood during the ongoing mega event.

Media reports say that members of the Caribbean team had partied till late into the night ahead of their Super Eiight tie against South Africa on Tuesday, which was a 'must win' game for them to keep their chances of making it to the semis alive in the tournament.

There were also reports of infighting in the side over payments, and now former off-spinner Lance Gibbs has added more fuel to the fire saying the team lacked ''self belief, focus and pride''.

''The lack of pride displayed by Brian Lara's team, particularly in the ongoing second phase of the tournament was appalling,'' Gibbs said, adding, ''where is the pride in representing the Caribbean.

They (the team) must know about pride as, apart from cricket, we are separate nations. Cricket is a cohesive force and these players have a responsibility to unite the Caribbean, which they are failing to do.''

Expressing the need to build up a strong team, Gibbs recalled the menacing West Indian side which existed in the 70's under the captaicy of Clive Lloyd.

''A strong West Indies team is what world cricket needs, just like the team which was under Clive Lloyd. They ruled the world and became an inspiration for other teams.''

Meanwhile, despite fierce criticism of almost every aspect of the the Caribbean World Cup, ICC chief executive Malcolm Speed has defended the pricing of tickets for the mega event, saying, ''this is a world sporting event between major teams. Those prices were fixed by the local organising committees. Our only input was to say we'd like more tickets at the bottom end of the range and they've generally agreed.''

However, the fact is that steep ticket rates, high-priced food and drink in the stands and stingent rules had robbed the event of its Caribbean flavour and kept the crowds away.

Even with the West Indies playing, no stadium recorded a full house, an unthinkable happening almost anywhere in the world, and certainly in the sub-continent.


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