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Sir Viv Richards blames ground restrictions
John Mehaffey
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April 06, 2007 18:12 IST
Former West Indies captain Sir Vivian Richards blamed the restrictions on musical instruments and banners allowed into World Cup grounds for the lack of the traditional carnival atmosphere.

Local cricket fans in Antigua have preferred to follow the games on television with most of the support at the new Sir Vivian Richards Stadium coming from travelling fans supporting Australia, England and New Zealand.

These same fans have expressed their disappointment at the lack of atmosphere in the stadium which at best has been barely half full for the Super Eights.

Speaking at a news conference Richards, one of Antigua's most distinguished sons, agreed attendances at the stadium had been disappointing.

"I am a Caribbean person who said from the first day that we had a match in Antigua that we are an exciting and vibrant people," Richards said on Thursday. "The fact is that something seems to be missing.

"I certainly believe that we have had too many restrictions. We are a rather unique people. We are different to the way you live in Europe, or maybe in South Africa or in Australia.

"We are different in terms of our living style, our vibrant way of life, and I just thought someone held them by the throat and said 'No. I don't want you to shout any more'."

Richards, who was a vital member of the West Indies side that won the World Cup in 1975 and 1979, also expressed disappointment at the performances of the current team at the tournament.

Brian Lara's men won their three first-round matches but have since lost all three Super Eights fixtures and now face an uphill battle to qualify for the semi-finals.

"I'm feeling the same way that I know a whole lot of Caribbean people are at this particular stage," he said.

"We are a little bit dumbfounded that here we have a team that hasn't really shown much interest as such in knowing what they are representing. I haven't written them off, I'm just very, very disappointed."

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