January 29, 2014
For the sound of leather on willow, and an unbeatable match-day atmosphere, be sure to watch a game of cricket on the cricketing treasure island of Barbados. Take a look at our definitive cricket lover’s guide to Barbados.
One minute the ground is empty and quiet, apart from a groundsman’s thrumming mower. Next, it’s a crowded throng of drumming, singing, clapping, chanting cricket fans. The mood is raucous, the volume ear-splitting. A big-screen is pumping out cricketing anthems as baton-twirling cheerleaders dance amongst uniformed marching bands. The din wanes, momentarily, for the first over of the day: the sound of leather (ball) against willow (bat) exerting its power to hush the melee – if only or a second.
Set on the glittering waters of the Caribbean Sea on the outskirts of Bridgetown, the national capital, the Kensington Oval is the island’s cricketing Mecca. On this hallowed turf, Brian Lara sealed a rousing Test victory against Australia – considered the West Indies’ best ever by many cricketing diehards. Next door, the Legends of Barbados Cricket Museum pays homage to 50 of the best bowlers, batsmen and allrounders ever to play for Barbados. A statue of Sir Garfield Sobers overlooks the scene, capturing the great man’s trademark drive-through batting stroke in all its effortless glory.
Fans unable to snap up tickets for an international Test Match, Twenty20 game or One-Dayer gather at Sober’s feet to cheer on their home team courtesy of a transistor radio. Good cricket, however, isn’t hard to find in Barbados, from an exciting local First Division match, or a friendly game on the beach to an afternoon of fiercely fought overs on open pasture or a village green.
Cricket, in all its forms, bridges societal classes and unites Barbados’s diverse population regardless of their cultural differences, as Sobers – and the other three Bajan cricketing knights, Sir Frank Worrell, Sir Clyde Walcott and Sir Everton Weekes – so positively proved. Almost as famous as the cricketers themselves is local calypsonian and cricket fan Mac Fingall who now leads the cheering at the Oval with his small band of musicians – look our for him moving from stand to stand as he whips the crowd into a frenzy!
Header photo: Cricket batsman © Ahmad Faizal Yahya/ThinkstockiStock
Have you been to a cricket match in Barbados? What did you think of the atmosphere? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.