A trip down memory lane with the WI greats

Mid Day

Mid Day

Author 2019-10-06 07:35:21

Caribbean cricketers have enchanted and enticed me from my childhood during my life-long romance with cricket. The first Test match I watched — in November of 1948 — at the Feroz Shah Kotla involved the West Indies, then led by John Goddard while India were captained by Lala Amarnath.

During my recent Caribbean 'cruise', it was heartening to find Weekes readily agreeing to meet me at his Christ Church residence while recuperating from a heart ailment. He was mentally alert, remembering how accomplished Vijay Hazare and Polly Umrigar were as batsmen; Dattu Phadkar, a good fast bowler and high-quality spinner Subhash Gupte.

At the golf club

My meeting with Sobers was scheduled at the Sandy Lane Golf Club in Bridgetown. His sharp memory was commendable for a man who is 83 years of age.

He didn't appear too happy with the state of Caribbean cricket. "It was a pride to play for your country. Personal records did not matter to us. The team blazer and cap were so precious. Our players are now busy playing in professional leagues and not available for the West Indies team. Our cricket needs a total reorganisation," he remarked.

Hall insisted I meet him at his Cane Garden, St James residence. He was happy to see the Indian team armed with so many good fast bowlers.

While Jasprit Bumrah impressed him the most, he eulogised Kohli, both for his batting and aggressive captaincy.

Meanwhile, Cricket West Indies (CWI) has done well to honour well-known commentator Joseph 'Reds' Perreira for his contribution to cricket coverage in the electronic and print media for 60 years.

Apt honour for Reds


Ricky Skerritt, President of Cricket West Indies, presented a memento to the iconic commentator during the lunch session of the second Test between India and West Indies at Sabina Park, Kingston. While accepting his honour Reds was graceful to remember two deceased colleagues — Tony Cozier and Tony Becca.

Along with Cozier, Reds dominated the panorama of cricket commentary in the Caribbean. A voice, clear and loud has boomed through radios across the world through 450 international matches that included five cricket World Cups and Olympic Games.

Reds spent his formative years in the small, unknown and neglected Guyanese village of Pomeroon, located on the banks of Essequibo river.

Reds conquered a stammering problem by rigorous deep breathing exercises and self-confidence. He started with imaginary commentary. So, out of the ashes emerged the phoenix now known as Reds Perreira.

Prof Ravi Chaturvedi, 81, is a long-time WI cricket fan, who has done radio commentary in the Caribbean as well as India and Australia.

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