It was the mid-year of Franklin Rose and Singh Sidhu’s snail-paced 201 at Port of Spain. It was the mid-year during which an Indian batting line-up which bragged the preferences Mohammad and Sachem Tendulkar neglected to pursue down 120 on an allover turf in Barbados, putting the West Indies on the right half of the one by and large outcome in a series where the wide range of various matches finished in draws.
It was the late spring of 1997, the year when I experienced passionate feelings for Test cricket in the Caribbean.
I affectionately recollect the Test-leg of India’s visit through the West Indies in 1997 for various reasons. It was the principal series I would observe live on paid link organization – something of an extravagance back then – on the little convenient variety TV brought back by my grandparents, who had quite recently gotten back to Chennai following five years. It was named ‘The Calypso Series’, and the match-days started at 7:30 PM (Indian Standard Time), an entire hour before supper, and an hour or so after I had finished my school schoolwork. It was the initial five-Test series I would look as a youthful cricket fan, and toward the finish of it I was considerably more snared to Test cricket than I was before it.
The series likewise acquainted me with the eccentric brightness of Geoffrey Blacklist as a reporter. His Yorkshire complement sounded colorful to my eleven-year-old ears, and the manner in which he dug his vehicle key into the wicket each day during pitch report to show the amount it had broken was captivating. In the editorial box, Blacklist was joined by (among others) the expressive Imprint Nicholas and the late Tony Cozier, who had previously been an outstanding Caribbean voice in cricketing circles for a long time, and whose keen perusing of the game I grew up to appreciate and respect.
Since the 1997 series
I have come to associate cricket in the Caribbean with different things I have come to be aware and love about the West Indies and West Indian cricketers: the flawless sunlit sea shores, pieces of which used to be displayed during drinks breaks and between overs; the extraordinary rum, which turned into my number one beverage not long after I held a glass interestingly; the music which frequently interspersed Test match-days, regardless of whether the host group was on top; the quill delicate voice of Michael Holding, who is among my #1 present-day observers; the energy and nonconformist with which West Indies batsmen batted; and the speed and heart with which the West Indies quick’s bowled.
My adoration for Test cricket in the Caribbean is also fuelled by my recollections of the adventures of a few fine Indian cricketers against the West Indies. Growing up, I heard shining stories of how extraordinary Sunil had been against the powerful quick bowling assaults that the West Indies had handled during his time – thirteen of his 34 Test hundreds of years came against them, seven in their own lawn – and how who wouldn’t wear a cap regardless of being hit on the head on numerous occasions in Test cricket, wouldn’t make a regressive stride against them.
Years after the fact
I would watch being hit on his jaw by a Dillon bouncer at Georgetown, however soldiering on to make an unbeaten 144 to save a Test match. As a matter of fact, when I consider my #1 Indian cricketer ever, batting in the West Indies, I recall this daring exertion, close by his game dominating protective master classes on a Kingston minefield in 2006.
As stories of boldness on a cricket field go, Anil Kemble’s spell with a swathed jaw in the Antigua Trial of 2002, during which he had Brian Lara LBW, is right up there with the best. By and by, that solitary spell shouldn’t upstage the way that Kemble did well in the West Indies by and large, his overall commitments, for example, having been as critical to India’s series-securing triumph as commander David’s half-hundreds of years in the Kingston Trial of 2006.