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Avoiding cabin fever vital

Martin Gough | 16:02 UK time, Sunday, 8 April 2007

Martin GoughGuyana - Of all the analysis following world number one South Africa’s shock defeat to Bangladesh on Saturday, my favourite was from Reuters journalist Telford Vice.

“South Africa have hated spending the last two weeks in Guyana,” he told me. “They got off the plane, didn't see a McDonalds golden arch anywhere and decided it was a miserable place.”

That rings a bell somewhere.

This is not a holiday resort, as much of the rest of the Caribbean is, but those who take the trouble to find out more about Georgetown or explore Guyana’s interior have been rewarded, and I include myself in that.

Just like playing spin - as South Africa did so poorly on Saturday – you shouldn’t try to take Guyana on in an aggressive manner. You have to sit back and learn its intricacies, then go with the flow.

South Africa were in town for 13 nights but remained rooted in their hotel looking glum, cabin fever taking effect as it did with Nicholson in The Shining. All work and no play makes Jacques a dull boy.

Meanwhile, other teams have taken days off to travel up the Essequibo River or visit Kaieteur Falls, as my fellow blogger Andrew White of Ireland did this week.

Some would argue it makes no difference to their cricket. South Africa’s performance helps make a different case.

John BracewellOne of Guyana’s biggest fans in the cricketing fraternity is New Zealand coach John Bracewell, who toured here as a 26-year-old Test off-spinner in 1985.

“Returning to the West Indies after 20 years was something I’ve really looked forward to. Returning to the Pegasus Hotel was nice, the flatness of the Bourda [former Test ground] wicket hasn’t changed,” he said with a smile.

“I’ve found it a really enjoyable place. There’s a fascinating culture, history, architecture. The greenery suits me – I’m not really a beach bunny so going without swim and surf hasn’t bothered me.”

The Kiwi team of two decades ago had a chance to see the sights but that is a rarity in the modern game, where tight schedules mean teams are rarely in the same city for more than a couple of days.

The extended nature of this World Cup, though, has seen New Zealand in Guyana for six days before their game against Ireland, and they have another five-day break Grenada before their last Super 8 match against Australia.

“Our guys are really adaptable because that’s the nature of touring now. My biggest concern is that when they get days off they don’t know what to do with them,” said Bracewell.

“Because of the hustle and bustle of travel and play, they don’t know how to chill out and go out and see the world.”

It is not the fault of the players that they are focussed on games of cricket but the extended management teams that now accompany them must play a part in helping them to see the bigger picture.

Hopefully Bracewell’s enthusiasm for this corner of the Caribbean has rubbed off on his charges.

Comments  Post your comment

  • 1.
  • At 05:18 PM on 08 Apr 2007,
  • Harvey Brant wrote:

Jon Bracewell is absolutely spot-on with his comments about avoiding so-called 'cabin fever' when on tour being the responsibility of team management. England players and management always seem to be whining on about this mysterious affliction whenever we tour.

Strangely, this complaint never seems to affect the supporters who follow the England team on tour. The supporters always seem to find plenty to see and do, whether we're touring Pakistan or Australia. There is absolutely no reason why the players and management shouldn't do likewise.

I've never been to Guyana myself, but fans I've spoken to who've been in the past loved the place.

  • 2.
  • At 06:00 PM on 08 Apr 2007,
  • Mohamed (Breado) wrote:

My God Marty, you are one of us now. On behalf off all Guyanese - WE TOLD YOU SO! You know in Guyana we don't serve humble pie, instead we have Kool Aid - (ok bad joke). Now we have to make you an honorary citizen.

In SA's defence, the tournament is a bit too long (WI also played 3 matches in 6 days then they are off for 10 days). T. Vice is right though. Everybody seems to go with the flow. The rain fell on everyone, not just SA. They just don't seem to travel well. They were also complaining about practice pitches in T&T. I did see then visiting an AIDS centre in G/Town but like you said, they just need to get out more. Perhaps, they need a better travel agent.

Anyway.. seems like England may have a decent total to defend.

Best wishes for your last days in Guyana. We hope to see more of you in the future - we'll leave the lights on for you.


  • 3.
  • At 07:04 PM on 08 Apr 2007,
  • David wrote:

Breado, instead of humble pie, we should be offering Marty some cassava pone.

I remember the NZ Tour in '85. Martin Crowe made a well played century.

This has been a great learning experience for both hosts and guests in Guyana. As hosts, I hope we take to heart the observations/critique of visitors. While we have a unique culture, we have to find ways to improve within our resource constraints.

Marty, Enjoy your remaining time in Guyana. Hope you visit our shores again. Breado promised to leave the light on for you.

  • 4.
  • At 07:53 PM on 08 Apr 2007,
  • Michael Sedgwick wrote:

As a cricketing Brit Living in the US I'm disappointed that you can't make it possible to get the audio commentary here. The spasmodic nature of the "Live Text" makes it very frustrating!! Appreciate that, but sound would be much more betterer!!!

Thanks, Michael

Having just read the interviews re
SA's SMITH! Dare I say with an attitude like his ... no wonder the match turned out so GRIM for Graeme! If there's a moral to the story: It's "never UNDER-estimate the little GUYS"
David, I suspect that Sir Martin would love your delectable PONE.
After, he's had the traditional Brit ...roast lamb with mint sauce & mashed potatoes/yorkshire pudding with a heavenly gravy! Happy Easter All!
Best regards,

18 runs in total from 4 front line batsmen.How can you expect to beat Australia now?

  • 7.
  • At 10:38 PM on 08 Apr 2007,
  • dave wrote:

Martin, does humble and pie come to mind right now? Good win by the Aussies, they're really looking unstoppable right now!

  • 8.
  • At 05:22 AM on 09 Apr 2007,
  • Merlene wrote:

Excuses, excuses, excuses. C'mon SA couldn't ya find somethin' betta?
Hey Martin, congrats on finally making pushing past page one in the Guyanese good book! It's (was) a rodeo and/(or) regatta weekend. Ur missin out!

  • 9.
  • At 07:01 AM on 09 Apr 2007,
  • Jeremy Fox, South Africa wrote:

I'm a South African and passionate about my place of birth,however it would be a travesty of cricketing justice should our team fluke a world cup win this year.The players are moody and look miserable,they're not carrying themselves with any characture or stature that is worthy of the tag world champions.I sense there is some in fighting in their camp.Sadly they don't appear to have the ability to think on their feet and improvise when the situation requires it.Too one dimensional and predictable.Aus look like the only real deal,with NZ smart outsiders.

  • 10.
  • At 12:44 PM on 09 Apr 2007,
  • Janath Peiris wrote:

I was very disappointed to see how England bat yesterday. I am not a fan of English cricket but was thrilled when Pietersen & Bell were batting. According to my observations, Pietersen's inning was very selfish one, when he got out he did not have the curtsey to give the strike to Nixon, he just didn't run, that was very disgusting. Plus when he was batting with Bopara, didn't run hard enough to make those 2s into 3s. When Bopara was struggling to rotate the strike, he should have come and give some advice to the youngster. Simply I didn't like his attitude.
As far as I know he is considered to be one of English cricketing heroes, just compare his inning with Ashrofol's the other day, how unselfish he was. They played much better cricket against Sri Lanka the other day. I think with this sort of attitude England has long way to go before winning the World Cup.

Greetings & thank you Sir Martin, on this your final day in Guyana's WC assignment. You've done a superb job as a sports journalist. Trust your sojourn in our simple land ... met your needs. I believe, The artful game of cricket favors [those] team players, who've come prepared with an open mind/right attitude/ smarts. Justifies my theory ... when the [underdogs] gets an opportunity to prove their winning ability! As with young Slinga Malinga's remarkable 4 bowlers. And of course, B'Desh incredible victory highlighted the games! In any event, good vibrations goes out to ALL ... the splendid WC cricketers who participated! Nevermind, the regrets for some. There's always tomorrow, eh! Best wishes and be well.
Best regards,

  • 12.
  • At 08:04 PM on 09 Apr 2007,
  • Jack wrote:

Marin, I find it highly doubtful that any professional cricket team (no matter how rubbish you think they are) would be bothered whether a place has a McDonald's or not, I think Telford Vice is just coming out with journalistic nonsence there that is based on little or no fact at all! I'd be surprised to hear even of England eating at McDs despite their heavy drinking!

Conversely, South Africans don't care much for Maccy Ds, if anything the South African team was disheartened by the absence of a Nando's chicken sign!

  • 13.
  • At 08:28 AM on 10 Apr 2007,
  • ralph brooker wrote:

England's Ashes victory of 2005 (which topped off an incredible run of success for that side, catapulting us to second placed Test side) was the worst outcome for English cricket in many, many generations. And the best for Australia.

If only we'd failed to regain them; drawn the series, given Australia a 'bloody nose' and a dogfight. But, unfortunately we won: an outcome as disastrous to English cricket as the futile loss of Wilfred Owen, on the eve of peace, was to English letters.

It's as if English cricket no longer has a purpose. Healthy careers terminated in September 2005. The cost of this pathological, almost Jardine-esque focus on beating Australia is that nothing has meaning anymore for the key players of that side. And this existential dilemma infects the newer players, just as the success of that side haunts the newer players.

Too many senior Englishmen have responded to the plaintiff call of bugles from far off shires..

  • 14.
  • At 01:58 PM on 10 Apr 2007,
  • Lloyda Nicholas wrote:

After your knee jerk reaction to my lovely country totally pissed me off, I am happy to see that you are begginning to come around, even if marginally so judging from this blog.

Be sure to return and experience the flavour, the passion, the magic, then maybe you can remove the proverbial foot from your mouth.

Be sure to check out the Pakaraima and Kanuku Mountains, the pristine rainforest, the magnificent waterfalls, the majestic Savannahs and swim in a black water creak, or row a canoe up the mighty Essequibo...

No we are not a sun and sand destination, we are so much more...

  • 15.
  • At 10:45 PM on 16 Apr 2007,
  • jack zodiac wrote:

what a shambles, south africa going drunk for the tourney lenght. a disgrace to themselves and country. they need a good shellacking against england and then banned from cricket period, we dont need assholes. these jackasses should be deported to siberia to cool off, but then again there is always smirnoff's for them. tomorrow they will crash to new depths.

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