Former stars praise crowd culture in the Caribbeans

Updated: 19 June 2011 16:53 IST

Indian cricketers, who will be part of the upcoming Test series in the West Indies, will have enough opportunities to experience the spectators' unique sense of humour just like previous touring teams.

Former stars praise crowd culture in the Caribbeans
©

Mumbai:

Indian cricketers, who will be part of the upcoming Test series in the West Indies, will have enough opportunities to experience the spectators' unique sense of humour just like previous touring teams.

The news of India swing bowler Praveen Kumar being involved in an argument with a spectator at Port of Spain, Trinidad recently came as a surprise to cricketers who have toured the Caribbean.

Though Praveen Kumar is known to have a temper and his physical altercation with a doctor was reported in 2008, it would be unfair to say whether he overreacted by pushing the spectator aside after he had something to say to the cricketer.

However, past tourists say spectators in the West Indies don't mean to be harsh. In fact, their sense of humour is greatly appreciated.

Swing bowler Balwinder Singh Sandhu, who toured the West Indies for the 1982-83 series, recalled: "Our team had the teenagers Maninder Singh and Laxman Sivaramakrishnan. Some fans told Sunil Gavaskar, 'hey little master, you have brought kids with you, maan!' They are very direct. They would say, 'don't hook Mikey (Holding) maan, he'll knock you out and Viv (Richards) will slap you.'

"When I top-scored with 68 in the first innings of the Kingston Test, a Jamaican offered me a sip of his beer and when I obliged, he was on top of the world.

"They adore their players, but also like it when you perform against them. Heaven help you if you don't show bravado while facing their quick bowlers. You will be pelted with taunts like, 'you scared maan, you chicken maan.' "

Anshuman Gaekwad made two Test tours to the West Indies (1975-76 and 1982-83) and his experiences were more than pleasant. "What happened with Praveen Kumar is unfortunate because West Indian spectators do not mean to be rude. One must not react too soon to them and once you realise that they mean no harm, you will laugh too," said Gaekwad, who was struck on the ear by Holding during the Kingston Test of 1975-76. He had to retire hurt on 81 and spent two days in hospital.

That catch
On his most unforgettable experience with a spectator in the Caribbean, Gaekwad said: "I was fielding at deep square leg and caught West Indies captain Clive Lloyd in the Port of Spain Test which we won in 1976.

"One chap was so delighted that he put his arm around me and offered me a drink. I also remember how disappointed the West Indians were when Vishy (Gundappa Vishwanath) did not make the team in  1982-83."

Macko
Wicketkeeper Kiran More's first tour to the West Indies was in 1982-83 when he was Syed Kirmani's understudy. More recalled: "When I went there in 1983, they used to say, 'watch out for Macko (Malcolm Marshall) maan' and in 1989, the people at the airport said, 'watch out for Patto (Patrick Patterson) maan. He'll kill you.' But all these are cricketing comments. They are never personal that's why I am surprised Praveen Kumar had a problem."

Pace bowler Abey Kuruvilla remembered the time when he stood on the boundary line during the 1996-97 and being offered booze.  'Have this, you will bowl faster,' they used to say. And they are never short of advice.

They would inform me the weaknesses of certain batsmen and urge me to exploit those shortcomings.

Kuruvilla's five wickets in West Indies' second innings opened up a good chance for Sachin Tendulkar's team to win the Barbados Test, but India were bowled out for 81.

Topics : Cricket Ravi Rampaul MS Dhoni India in West Indies, 2011 Praveen Kumar Gary Kirsten Bangladesh
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