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`ICC has killed cricket in West Indies`

St Peter`s, Antigua, Mar 31: ``It is no show, it is no cricket and it is no World Cup`` is what the players, local people and journalists are saying about the ongoing World Cup.

``ICC has killed cricket,`` said W Richard, a sports coach based here.

``Cricket here means party time but look what the ICC has done.

They don`t just let local people come, the way they have priced the tickets ... it is the game only for the rich and even they have not turned up,`` he added.

``There are so many restrictions, you can`t take anything in and you are hosting the World Cup in the West Indies and want people to be in the stadium without Rum and Drum. This is just not cceptable,`` opined an avid cricket fan M Duncan, who runs a taxi service.

And according to veteran cricket writer Tony Becca, it is the International Cricket Council (ICC) that is responsible for the poor involvement of the local people in the showpiece event.

Becca, who has been writing on and covering the Caribbean for the last 35 years, was of the view that ``the World Cup was not promoted as a West Indian World Cup but as a World Cup for the world.`` ``They (the ICC and organisers) want tourists from other parts of the World to come but ignored local population,``Becca said.

``I have covered many World Cups and what I saw was that the majority of the crowd has been local.

``The ICC thought the World Cup as a golden goose and chased the local people out assuming that large numbers would come from abroad and they would not need local support.

``Without musical instruments and conch shells, without Rum and Drum, no sports especially cricket can survive in the Caribbean. The cacophony of noise, the dance, the Calypso music is life and soul of cricket here,`` Becca added.

``It is West Indian tradition to have entertainment outside the boundary line particularly dancing. But ICC has all but eliminated that and it is deeply saddening,`` the veteran writer continued.

He said, ``When we bid for the World Cup in 1997 we sold it as a Caribbean-style event, but now this is not.`` Meanwhile, disturbed by the virtual boycott of the matches by the locals, the West Indies Players` Association (WIPA) has urged the Caribbean public to turn out and support the home team.

``I would like to ask Caribbean people to come out and support this wonderful event which we are hosting for the first time,`` said WIPA president Dinanath Ramnarine.

``It has been a massive undertaking and the West Indians should be proud of how well it is going and want to play their part and be involved.

``The West Indies have some key matches coming up in Guyana, Grenada and Barbados and I would like to see a full house at all those games as we had (for the first round games) in Jamaica,`` he said.

``The crowd will be a vital 12th man for our team,``Ramnarine added.

Bureau Report