Bracegirdle's Blog: Rihannagate,
Greenidge And Our Special Night Out
Comment and Analysis | 19th March 2012
Whilst the UK Government is fully occupied with such gloomy issues as debt, strikes and the homeless, it’s a little different out here.
The big talking point seems to be whether Rihanna should be paid to promote her homeland. Browsing through this morning’s copy of The Barbados Advocate, to catch up on the cricket news and the local weather forecast (hazy and cloudy, giving way to bright sunshine and a high of 29 degrees C, in case you are interested!) it seems the international mega-star is allegedly getting mega-bucks for something that she has always done for free.
Opposition MP and Shadow Minister for Tourism, Ronald Toppin feels that an influx of extra holiday-makers haven’t arrived on the island since the songstress became a ‘semi-official ambassador’ for her country.
I wouldn’t profess to know anything about the issue, except that I thought the ‘Umbrella-ella-ella’ singer did an amazing job of selling Barbados to me, when she appeared on the Jonathan Ross Show last week. She was literally gushing about the island – and whether or not Mr Toppin has a point, ‘Ri-Ri’ should perhaps be given a little longer to see if there’s an upturn in the island’s tourism figures.
None of this seemed of interest to the rest of the party as Notts trained again at the Franklyn Stephenson Cricket Academy. I have to say, the boys are being worked hard – I’m still getting over the jet-lag yet the players have already run and swam miles, netted, practiced in the middle and had a full match against Warwickshire in the hot sunshine.
I can categorically confirm that the ‘H’ word isn’t being used by any of the camp – this is certainly not being treated as a ‘Holiday’ by anyone, ahead of the forthcoming county championship season.
If anyone is having a break, then it’s me – I found my way down to the local beach today. As the advert goes, “It does what it says on the tin” - it was glorious! Turquoise blue waves gently rolling onto the white, sandy beach.
This really is a very special part of the world and their love of cricket is beyond belief – although the Indian sub-continent might object to that statement.
Today, Barbados won a 4-day first class match against the Leeward Islands and the West Indies defeated Australia in an ODI – life was very sweet indeed in this part of the Caribbean.
This evening, the first official function of the tour took place in downtown Holetown – our local tourist spot. All six teams that are presently on the island turned up with their back-up entourage and supporters groups in tow.
To get the feel of how much the locals appreciate our presence you really had to hear the heartfelt speeches. Our travel company, Barbados Cricket association, Ministers for the local area, a spokesman for the hotel and tourist industry and the MP for Barbados Tourism all gave their full support and thanks to the six counties for coming out here for their pre-season training camps.
Six counties out of eighteen – that’s not a bad ratio really, is it?
My evening was going along swimmingly, meeting up with several familiar faces from the media world and from the other counties out here. Former Notts stalwart Ryan Sidebottom enthusiastically shook my hand, as did Derbyshire coach AJ Harris. I was then introduced to a seriously good opening Test batsman – one of the best the world has ever seen.
Fifteen minutes chatting away with Gordon Greenidge about the good old days of West Indian cricket – his opening stands with Roy Fredericks and Desmond Haynees, and his time at Hampshire – as well as a brief stint coaching at Trent Bridge.
Life doesn’t get much better than that for a cricket devotee like me, does it? At this point in the evening I was standing close to the lift doors.
The next person to come out of the lift was one of my all-time great heroes – I’ll tell you all about that tomorrow – if I’ve calmed down any by then!