West Indies cricket March 8, 2007

Men of the people

Siddhartha Vaidyanathan is amazed at how approachable the average West Indian cricketer is
66



Half-brothers Fidel Edwards and Pedro Collins with their mum outside their home in Boscobelle, Barbados © Siddhartha Vaidyanathan

Siddhartha Vaidyanathan

Most islands in the West Indies require you to shell out a departure tax, a fee of around US $30, usually paid after checking in for your flight. Waiting in a queue at St Kitts airport, at the end of the third India v West Indies Test in 2006, I had the grand fortune of being sandwiched between Clive Lloyd and Gordon Greenidge, as colossal a pair as any in cricket legend. For a brief while, I felt like Sir Viv Richards, another giant who was usually slotted between these two in the West Indian batting line-up of the late 1970s.

I observed Lloyd arguing with the lady at the counter, explaining why he had to pay a reduced tax (I assumed that citizens of the Caribbean islands had to pay less). What was totally unexpected, though, was to see the lady, a stout and serious official, countering Lloyd point for point - "Mr Lloyd, the rules have changed", "Mr Lloyd, we cannot make exceptions" - and not relenting till she had received the exact amount. The bickering went on for close to 10 minutes, and unlike what usually occurred on the cricket field, Lloyd was forced to give in. Imagine Kapil Dev in a similar situation at Delhi airport, or Imran Khan at Lahore. They would never have been in the same queue as the rest, let alone need to argue with airport staff. In January this year, an assistant sub-inspector in Jharkhand was transferred for fining Mahendra Singh Dhoni for having used tinted glass in his car windows. So it was a shock to see Clive Hubert Lloyd - double World Cup-winning captain, brutally effective batsman, archetypal ambassador, et al - debating without much avail. The incident summed up West Indians' attitudes towards their cricketers: respect, but no devotion. It was a trait noticeable through the two-month tour.

In terms of cricketing greats per square mile, it's difficult to look beyond the Caribbean islands. As of April 2006, Barbados, just 166 square miles in area, had produced 86 international cricketers; Nevis, a speck in comparison (36 square miles), has managed five. Arithmetic tells you that you're likely to run into an international cricketer at every street corner, yet West Indian cricketers can walk the roads without being mobbed or being approached for autographs, and sometimes - this is the staggering part - without even being noticed.

As a consequence, West Indian sportsmen are probably among the most approachable in the world. In Antigua, Richie Richardson, one of the most destructive batsmen to have come out of this region, not only readily obliged when I requested a chat, but also made sure he gave me a ride to my pre-match press conference afterwards. Greenidge, arguably the greatest opener in history, couldn't speak on record since he was - and is - a national selector, but he invited a couple of us to his palatial house in Barbados, turning what would otherwise have been a routine evening into an unforgettable one. Even Asafa Powell, the fastest man on the planet, spared a good half-hour after an evening practice session.

"The reason for the absence of stardom may be rooted in the defining characteristic of the West Indian appreciation of cricket - the game is always placed ahead of the individual, and fans revel in the nuances of the sport rather than the aura of the sportsman"

Winston Benjamin, a fast bowler who played 21 Tests and 85 one-dayers in the 1980s and nineties, not only volunteered to take me on a guided tour of Antigua, but also introduced me to his best friend (his pony, Princess) and spoke about the finer aspects of colt breeding. "Winston has no work these days," he said, referring to himself in the third person, "so I might as well show you around this beautiful country."

The approachability extends to the general public as well. Taxi drivers stationed outside Cuddyz, Courtney Walsh's restobar in Kingston, will tell you his itinerary: "He gone for the Twenty20 thing; will return on Mother's Day."

At the end of the first Test, a seasoned spectator berated Ramnaresh Sarwan outside the Antigua Recreation Ground - "Never take your hand off your handle, and I mean never." - and got a reaction that was apologetic.

At St Lucia several cricketers hopped out of their hotel to grab a drink at a local bar, and socialised freely. Brian Lara was among them, and he spent time with a group of fans, discussing cricket, World Cup soccer, and local cuisine. Ever spotted Sachin Tendulkar at Café Mondegar in Mumbai? Ever imagined such a prospect?

It's not uncommon to hear of former West Indian cricketers who've fallen on hard times. Devoid of celebrity status, and with unemployment soaring, some turn frustrated and wasteful, and lose their way - to such an extent that it's impossible to find their whereabouts. One of them, Patrick Patterson, that brute of a fast bowler from the eighties, is untraceable in Jamaica. His friends refer to him as someone "who's mentally unstable after losing all his money".

Unlike in India, the cricket coverage in the media is fairly rudimentary. Former cricketers don't swarm television studios, and it's only the occasional appearance on radio or in print that keeps them in the public eye. The current lot must occasionally feel like nobodies. An incident from the last day of my stay was a case in point.

As the Indian players were being mobbed for interviews and photo-shoots the day after their tense win in the final Test at Kingston, Pedro Collins walked into the team hotel and tried to locate his bat manufacturer, going completely unmolested as he did so. And while Rahul Dravid and Co. were hassled by Indian fans for autographs, Ian Bradshaw and Denesh Ramdin - one of the stars of the previous day - went almost unnoticed as they shopped in the New Kingston area.

The reason for this absence of stardom may be rooted in the defining characteristic of the West Indian appreciation of cricket - the game is always placed ahead of the individual, and fans revel in the nuances of the sport rather than the aura of the sportsman. Nowhere in the world will you find a more passionate set of supporters who're so distanced from the players. And it is possibly this detached outlook that makes them more evolved as fans than most.

Nishi Narayanan is a staff writer at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Shaun Michael on March 17, 2007, 15:49 GMT

    Beautifully observed! Needless to say, I am one of those proud West Indian, highly evolved and all, fan. I love cricket, but cricketers are people and we need to treat them like people, not little gods.

  • sana on March 12, 2007, 12:23 GMT

    Sid at it's best

  • Aditya on March 11, 2007, 21:04 GMT

    Look, when have we as Indians ever really embraced a "culture of the many"? If you think about it, even nationalism is an imported concept. The traditional Indian mindset has always been one of the individual trumping the whole. While that is not a great thing for sport, it allows for a certain individualism that is absent from the Western mindset. It is reflected in our classical music, which emphasizes melody and rhythm more than Western classical harmony. They have empires, national greatness, constitutions and the rule of law, while we believe in communities, individual moderation and the rule by cosmic law. We may wish to deny it, but we Indians have a mindset that has endured for generations and will never change, no matter how "Westernized" we become.

  • Ashish on March 9, 2007, 12:10 GMT

    A very good article summing up social status of cricketers in West Indies. A must read for every fan of "Team India".

  • Sumit Raghani on March 9, 2007, 12:02 GMT

    Excellent Article. It clearly reflects the difference in cricket fans in India and the West Indies. It also shows that a Caribbean fan is far more intelligent than, say an Indian fan - where an Indian fan would give more importance to individual performances and put players on a Holy pedestal, a Caribbean fan would be more interested in the minute details of the game.

    The approachability of the players in the Caribbean is very refereshing for a common man like me who in India would not be able to meet any Indian player on the international circuit

  • Ridwan on March 9, 2007, 6:57 GMT

    Excellent - one of the best articles I've ever read and gave tremendous insight. Excellent work!

  • ccjohnson on March 9, 2007, 6:53 GMT

    good article. low population the possible reason together with fact that the areas are too small for the cricketers to remain isolated for long.

  • Ron on March 9, 2007, 4:59 GMT

    This article may have been designed to compare how fans from two "countries" treat/idolize their sportsmen. Your comments about Windies fans are fairly accuarte. However, our "familiarity" with our greats has probably contributed to unintended awful consequences for our greats after they leave the game. Young West Inidan atheletes while watching this "indifference" treatment of our great cricketers will choose another sport. This may be one possible reason for the so called "decline" of West Indian cricket long before the 1990s as the "replacements" started looking for greener pastures. So while humility and being humble are all dear to us, all sectors of West Indian society should do a better job in looking after our players. The Patterson example is in my mine, one too many when I think of the many times our heroes left it all on the field with some even playing through injury in the red hot sun.

  • Kumar on March 9, 2007, 4:15 GMT

    IMO ---In WI & I hope in other countries like Eng & SA -- people respect & appreciate cricket FIRST & then the cricketers. In India, its the other way around. They are crazy about some Indian cricketers FIRST & they appreciate cricket later.

    You should see when India plays some other country in India. A 4 0r 6 is NOT appreciated by Indian crowd, when the opposition hits it. That tells the story...

  • Shubhendu Singh on March 9, 2007, 3:51 GMT

    Excellent article,the most good article i read in my life so far.

  • Shaun Michael on March 17, 2007, 15:49 GMT

    Beautifully observed! Needless to say, I am one of those proud West Indian, highly evolved and all, fan. I love cricket, but cricketers are people and we need to treat them like people, not little gods.

  • sana on March 12, 2007, 12:23 GMT

    Sid at it's best

  • Aditya on March 11, 2007, 21:04 GMT

    Look, when have we as Indians ever really embraced a "culture of the many"? If you think about it, even nationalism is an imported concept. The traditional Indian mindset has always been one of the individual trumping the whole. While that is not a great thing for sport, it allows for a certain individualism that is absent from the Western mindset. It is reflected in our classical music, which emphasizes melody and rhythm more than Western classical harmony. They have empires, national greatness, constitutions and the rule of law, while we believe in communities, individual moderation and the rule by cosmic law. We may wish to deny it, but we Indians have a mindset that has endured for generations and will never change, no matter how "Westernized" we become.

  • Ashish on March 9, 2007, 12:10 GMT

    A very good article summing up social status of cricketers in West Indies. A must read for every fan of "Team India".

  • Sumit Raghani on March 9, 2007, 12:02 GMT

    Excellent Article. It clearly reflects the difference in cricket fans in India and the West Indies. It also shows that a Caribbean fan is far more intelligent than, say an Indian fan - where an Indian fan would give more importance to individual performances and put players on a Holy pedestal, a Caribbean fan would be more interested in the minute details of the game.

    The approachability of the players in the Caribbean is very refereshing for a common man like me who in India would not be able to meet any Indian player on the international circuit

  • Ridwan on March 9, 2007, 6:57 GMT

    Excellent - one of the best articles I've ever read and gave tremendous insight. Excellent work!

  • ccjohnson on March 9, 2007, 6:53 GMT

    good article. low population the possible reason together with fact that the areas are too small for the cricketers to remain isolated for long.

  • Ron on March 9, 2007, 4:59 GMT

    This article may have been designed to compare how fans from two "countries" treat/idolize their sportsmen. Your comments about Windies fans are fairly accuarte. However, our "familiarity" with our greats has probably contributed to unintended awful consequences for our greats after they leave the game. Young West Inidan atheletes while watching this "indifference" treatment of our great cricketers will choose another sport. This may be one possible reason for the so called "decline" of West Indian cricket long before the 1990s as the "replacements" started looking for greener pastures. So while humility and being humble are all dear to us, all sectors of West Indian society should do a better job in looking after our players. The Patterson example is in my mine, one too many when I think of the many times our heroes left it all on the field with some even playing through injury in the red hot sun.

  • Kumar on March 9, 2007, 4:15 GMT

    IMO ---In WI & I hope in other countries like Eng & SA -- people respect & appreciate cricket FIRST & then the cricketers. In India, its the other way around. They are crazy about some Indian cricketers FIRST & they appreciate cricket later.

    You should see when India plays some other country in India. A 4 0r 6 is NOT appreciated by Indian crowd, when the opposition hits it. That tells the story...

  • Shubhendu Singh on March 9, 2007, 3:51 GMT

    Excellent article,the most good article i read in my life so far.

  • Joti on March 9, 2007, 3:38 GMT

    Enjoyed the articles, and agree with your observations. During a visit to Trinidad about 10 years ago, I was at a club with friends one evening while a Red Stipe Cup match was on during the day. Half way through the evening, a friend asked me to come inside with him, and before I knew it, he was introducing me to Brian Lara who was hanging out inside enjoying the evening. Lara was then at the top of his game, but was quite unassuming and laid back, and unselfconsious among the crowd in his hometown. made me realize that cricketers are lso human beings rather than gods. As a fan who grew up in India though, it is difficult to not be in awe of the stars!

  • Vimal on March 9, 2007, 3:19 GMT

    It's a wonderful article and provides a fine perspective on the Caribbean cricket. Sidhartha must be praised profusely for this.

  • Sriram Dayanand on March 9, 2007, 3:13 GMT

    Looks like Clive Lloyd can never get the duty waived on his Ferrari out in the islands, mon !

    Makes you want to take a bat (called Biggest Bertha or something like that) and whack those officious celebrity-immune officials who want to interfere with the exalted existence of these God's gift to mankind ! The nerve...

    p.s: as I said earlier, superb piece of writing.

  • Dr Sunil R Vaze on March 9, 2007, 3:10 GMT

    Excellent; Siddharth always writes very lucidly.

  • Sriram Dayanand on March 9, 2007, 2:55 GMT

    Superb article. And you are definitely on the money here, Siddharth. God, we could do with a tiny dollop of this at least in India.

  • Brian on March 9, 2007, 1:08 GMT

    Wow. I reckon you got it right. Caribbean people love their cricket, often feel hard done for by umpiring "mistakes", treasure our players but remain mindful of their human frailties. And I think it was Robin Smith who once remarked that he'd rather face the Windies than Aus because the Windies let the cricket do the talking - not much of the sledging that to me makes the game ugly. Great article - keep up the good stuff.

  • Ajay on March 9, 2007, 0:40 GMT

    Very well articulated. I could pretty much feel the same feelings that you must have gone through as a cricket fan while having those experiences. Growing up in Chennai, I had always prided myself & my city for probably being the least partisan of the Indian crowds and appreciating good cricket more than anything else. But that pales in comparison to how much the Caribbeans seem to love their Cricket. I wonder why Indians are such an emotional lot when it comes to our cricketers. Is it probably the dearth of quality of international repute in other sporting fields and therefore the undivided passion and the fanaticism that goes with it ?

  • Arleen Hinds on March 9, 2007, 0:30 GMT

    We do respect our players and hold them in high esteem but we cannnot make them think that they are bigger than the game. They are too many greats for all of them to get special concessions after leaving the game. We are too small as islands to finance all of our former sportsmen.

  • Ramamurthy Balaubramaniam on March 8, 2007, 23:38 GMT

    A thought well expressed and based on pure indisputable facts.The article hopefully will be picked up by one of those TV channels in India and used to mellow down the lack of quality in pre-world cup feverish discussions.Congratulations to Siddhartha Viadyanath on a out of box effort.Keep going! regards.bala

  • Rajeev on March 8, 2007, 23:24 GMT

    I liked the article very much. There was a part when comparison was made with Indian/Pakistan cricketers. In subcontinent, cricketers are teared above cricket, movie actors are known for their style rather than acting etc. I fail to understand why is it different in WestIndies.

  • Unni on March 8, 2007, 23:05 GMT

    Great article Sid.

    However its not the Indian players' fault that they are being mobbed. Its us Indians who would celebrate a Tendulkar ton more even if India lost.

  • H K on March 8, 2007, 22:49 GMT

    Great article. Very happy to read such an article which is different than the routing cricket articles.

  • Manish Vyas on March 8, 2007, 22:38 GMT

    Excellent article. I loved the the Ramnaresh Sarwan experience. Intellectually honest response. Imagine how would a established cricketer in India would have reacted.

  • thea of brisbane on March 8, 2007, 22:20 GMT

    Good article, well written and interesting.Without any fuss and subtle denegration it informs us of how in one country a cricketer becomes national worship property and in another how a cricketer stays one of the people. Perhaps thats why these knowledgable cricket lovers can throw up so many "greats" from such a diminished land and population pool.I love cricket! I dont "love" Ponting or Warne.

  • Sujit Tatke on March 8, 2007, 22:14 GMT

    I had teh chance to meet a few WI greats liek Richie Richardson, Sarwan and a few others when they visited Miami a few years ago. What struck me most was their easy laidback nature.Their personalities were pretty much like their cricket, relaxed and enjoyable

  • Krish on March 8, 2007, 22:00 GMT

    Nice article, however calling Richie Richardson 'one of the most destructive batsmen to have come out of this region' is way over the top.

  • Sri Nathella on March 8, 2007, 19:53 GMT

    Nice read. One point though, in India it is not hero worship that is the main issue. The bigger issue is the lack of respect for law, where individuals are always above the law - as evidenced from your Dhoni anecdote. Of course that was not the main point of your article. Good work.

  • JK on March 8, 2007, 19:46 GMT

    It was really sad to learn that Patrick Patterson, the fastest bowler of the late eighties, is not doing too well. The same fate has befallen many Indian sportsmen and even some former cricketers. It is time we, as sports fans, adopt a more balanced view and not supply fuel to the mass marketing machine which makes demi gods out of human beings. The vast disparity between the have's and the have not's in India is all too apparent even in the sporting realm.

  • Somnath DasGupta on March 8, 2007, 19:46 GMT

    A great article from Siddharth ! It should be an eyeopener for Indian fans who still make demigods out of our average cricketers. The country and the game come before individuals and personality. This heroworship is part of a larger malaise afflicting the Indian society which is still rooted to its feudal system. Further, india hasn't had prominence in any other sport on a larger scale on a sustained basis which has been shrewdly exploited by the cricket bodies and friendly media.

  • GVS on March 8, 2007, 19:27 GMT

    Really good article giving a nice peek into life/cricket in Carribean. Should be having more of these kind

  • RG on March 8, 2007, 19:07 GMT

    Enjoyed reading the main article and all the appreciative reader responses. Just a little footnote to the Dhoni incident. I was in Ranchi at that time and the word was that this particulr sub-inspector bragged about this incident to his friends and wanted a little publicity for himself. All Dhoni wished was a little privacy for himself when he used tinted windows in his vehicle. Without that he would be mobbed everywhere creating a big law and order problem. Surely the law must be applied to everyone but sometimes one need to show some common sense. The law is there to guide us, not to lord over us.

  • TM on March 8, 2007, 18:51 GMT

    Beautifully written piece....Indian Fans and Cricketers can learn a lot from this, don't you think?

  • Adam on March 8, 2007, 18:27 GMT

    Great Article and you were on the Ball. Please track down a few ex cricketers while you are in the West Indies and do some follow up articles, especially Patrick Patterson (how sad). For all the years i have been logging unto this site, this article i rate as the best and it has caused me to reflect on who am I as a West Indian. This article is more than cricket. Keep it up Sid

  • Harish on March 8, 2007, 18:27 GMT

    Fantastic article. Very nicely written. And it's amazing how the contrast is. Cricket in India is religion. It's way beyond obsession. Should we win the World Cup, perhaps some of our fans may talk about building temples for our cricketers...!

  • paraa sakthivel on March 8, 2007, 17:52 GMT

    brilliant article.hope we ,the indian cricket fans are more level headed and respect the GAME more than the players.its not necessary that we should completely ignore them but be gentle in dealing with them when we encounter one.i feel we exaggerate in everything we do.be it exagerrating defeats ,wins,player capabilties,estimating opposition.can u imagine sunil gavaskar talking to u 5 mins after the interview is over???unbelievable but true.bring us more articles like this..it was really refreshing..would be great if you can track Patrick Patterson

  • Suresh on March 8, 2007, 17:51 GMT

    Great article, very touching. Need to mention here, Sri lankan fans too behave similar to West Indians when the players are in public.

  • TR Sarathi on March 8, 2007, 17:48 GMT

    Every Indian cricket addict fan in India should read this. It is not just India, many countries including US have similar fans with varying degrees of star-worship. I am curious to know if this is limited to only cricket or every other fields fan in WI are like that. For exmaple how are the movie stars treated in WI ...

  • alfred browne on March 8, 2007, 17:09 GMT

    Just a little note, the reason why west indians, who have become fameous is one is taught from a early age, not to be boastful, and not to give up one, where one is from, as youngester growing up, viv would return from a tour, and tell us all about it, as we oud stand under the lamp post, and listen, and at that time we did not see some cricket star, we were in the mist of one of our own.

  • subramanian g on March 8, 2007, 16:55 GMT

    so wats ur point ,eh???do u mean to say the west indians are far more mature as individuals and give the necessary private space any human needs...i cant quite conclude ur article....sorry

  • Mohamed Z. Rahaman (Breado) on March 8, 2007, 16:39 GMT

    Good Article. Perhaps it the way we are brought up in the WI and what cricket means to us. Cricket afforded us the opportunity to compete with our colonial masters on a "level playing field." And while the colonial days may be over, the passion never left. You must also realize that the West Indies nations in terms of size and population are relatively small. It's hard not to treat our cricketers like everyday citizens, especially when we either knew them growing up a yard or we know they mudda and faada. Besides, we West Indians are not a rich people financially, and we don't place our sports heroes on a pedestal, because we all know that it don't put food on the table. It is correct to say that in the West indies it is a game for the fans. As a boy part of the lure of going to Bourda was to listen to the exaggerated tales of the exploits of Messers. Hall, Sobers, Butcher or Kanhai. Finaly, everybody in the West Indies know, that for every Sobers or Gibbs, there were 5 others who were better but used to drink too much and that's why they didn't get pick. We also swear that the selectors them did not like us for whatever reason and that's why they pick Sarwan and Fidel before me. So why rass me must worship he, after all me coulda do betta batting or bowling.

  • Prashant on March 8, 2007, 16:30 GMT

    This is so true. I used to live in carribean and was in awe when I saw incidents like the author has mentioned happen. sir Gary Sobers walks on the road and people just wave their hand to say hi. Nothing more. Same with Curtley Ambrose. And coming to cricket advicies you should really be present in the stadium to experience this. Each one of the person sitting in the stadium is so much knowledgable and they literally advice fielders fielding on Boundary. I saw this happen to Alec Steward who was told how to bat against Ambrose and Walsh. The advice was totally impartial. I rarely see these things happen in India. Azar could not go to his office without being hassled and mobbed.

  • sammy on March 8, 2007, 16:12 GMT

    The scenario is a bit like Sri Lanka. The sportsmen are easily approachable.

  • Vikram on March 8, 2007, 16:11 GMT

    This is hilarious ! Just compare the number of interviews Cricinfo publishes. Then look at how many of them were Indian players and how many West Indian.

    Its nothing to do with passion for cricket rather everything to do with how much money the media makes out of it.

  • ziwaco on March 8, 2007, 16:02 GMT

    unarguably the best Artical i ever read with belong to cricket. and man i respect this west indian team and speacially the west indian to the fullest.

  • Tony Ramjeawan on March 8, 2007, 15:58 GMT

    This is a wonderful article. It demonstrated the equality between the players and the fans. Not that their talent go unforeseen but the appreciation for what they do and not who they are. You would always hear slangs like "we love we cricket" from the Caribbean people. Long live !!!

  • AS on March 8, 2007, 15:18 GMT

    Excellent article. Sidd, great observations and very well written. As you think through this you can clearly see that India is a place for "hero worship"...Its been like that for ages and continues to be. Cricket is more a religion rather than just a sport in India where people are consumed by players rather than the sport itself. Also, Cricket in India is probably the most powerful medium both financially and politically. The exposure that the sport gets is so huge that people are obsessed by the people who play it professionally.

  • Roxy on March 8, 2007, 15:16 GMT

    Great article, as a West Indian myself I never even realized that there was a difference in how we treat cricketers and how other nations do. I agree it is sad that such great players are not honored more in the West Indies. Perhaps someone needs to bring this to the attention of the cricket board because I feel since they made Cricket their career shouldn't they get a pension of some sort when they retire?

  • Robert on March 8, 2007, 15:03 GMT

    Brilliant article. I am a Jamaican, and I agree with everything in this article. We revere the sport, not the sportsman. ANd same can be said for every other genre of life. Humility is key, if your not a humble person then you will not be respected by our people. Plain and simple. Great article.

  • WindiesFan on March 8, 2007, 14:40 GMT

    Growing up in the West Indies I've had the chance to enjoyably experience what Siddartha so aptly described. On the reverse side the extreme idolisation that I've seen mainly in the Asian countries highlights for me the different place that cricket holds in the social fabric of these regions. Being based in the US now I find it similar to the behaviour toward many of the pro athletes in the US. I've read about the Indian and Pakistani stars who can't leave their homes without being mobbed but as supporters of the worldwide game our "stars" deserve more respect from us the fans.

  • morris greenidge on March 8, 2007, 14:37 GMT

    This is a well thought article but i do not think the west indian fan's attachment to the players or the fan psyche is as simplistic as your final analysis. Remember that as a very small country of only 5 million (Cricket Caribbean) the fans know the players. Grow up and go to primary and secondary school with them; have girlfriends in the same villages, sometimes in the same house; Chastise them when as children playing together, things go awry. It is difficult to "hero worship" your buddies in the above setting as would happen, say in India where you have nearly a billion people. Your players would be virtual strangers to a very large part of your population.

  • Gavin Lee on March 8, 2007, 14:33 GMT

    The region is nothing compared to other nations when it comes to stardom.Many countries only dream of producing as much recognizeable world figures through sports and entertainment as the caribbean has done. Bob Marley, Asafa Powell, Brian Lara, Sean Paul just to name a few.All the caribbean countries combined ar still not as big as India , a place where most people feel that the only two things that exist are cricket and religion. We are a passionate group of people in whatever we do but history shows that a cocky individual doesn't last long in the Caribbean in whatever he does. When a Brian Lara walks onto the field, we see him as an individual who is required to represent this proud region with pride and commitment and that is all that matters to us. Fame is secondary in the region and one loses his fame quickly here if he doesn't maintain a standard. It all boils down to difference in culture and all the mllions who will be watching the world cup will be fascinated tosee how we live in the region.The true spectacle however would be if this bunch of cricketers from the region could rise to the occasion in this world cup and show similar comittment to the greats of the past and lift the world cup in the region. Then that would be a true spectacle and then these current batch of players would experience a little bit of the stardom that other crickers across the world are faced with. In the region though they have to earn it and winning the world cup for us would be a great start. Thanks again for a very great article and I expect another one in the end of April when we win it all.

  • Shekhs Aravind on March 8, 2007, 14:09 GMT

    Excellent article Sid! I dont write comments normally, but I was forced to after I read your article. Thanks for bringing some hope and life to this great game! I believe its the media hype that exponentially multiplies the fan devotion in India or the sub continent. Like you said, the game is bigger than anyone, any start cricketer. Unfortunately, the sub continent cricketers get carried away with the stardom, and tries to rise above the game itself.... And of course, to make matters worse there is the million dollar endorsement waiting for you...making you a billboard model in every city.. To the average fan, thats another reason to worship the celebrity(more than a cricketer), and place the individual above the game. Its us, the fans who give these cricketers a chance to take the game for granted... I guess we all have a lesson from this article...and forward this around as much as possible... Thanks for sharing it with us Sid! Keep it real!

  • Angi on March 8, 2007, 13:48 GMT

    Fantastic article and really thought-provoking. I think it all depends on the mindset of India and West Indies. Indian fans are passionately obesessed with cricket ; Caribbean fans are also obsessed but in a laidback manner. I think this friendly warm atmosphere has made West Indies a great travel destination.

  • Ashik Husain, Canada on March 8, 2007, 13:29 GMT

    I think that this was a great article, You deserve credit to take some time and get down to the grass root of the normal Human Being, I am Guyanese / West Indian and it makes me very proud to know that we are a very humble bunch and people from other parts of the world recognize this.

  • Anonymous on March 8, 2007, 13:28 GMT

    love the game but not be mad about the players.

  • Anthony Best on March 8, 2007, 13:14 GMT

    A very apt description of the West Indian mindset.Cricket is the only unifying factor in an otherwise politically fragmented region. Therefore the cricket and not the cricketer is emphasised as as symbolic of an otherwise elusive attempt at unity.

  • SALIL on March 8, 2007, 12:52 GMT

    I think this mirrors life ,although not strictly "luck favours the fool" it shows that former sports personalities too have a forced humility thrust upon them.I echo the point that respect for sports people ie defference to their skill and art, and not devotion to their personna..Its something that indian fans should take to heart.

  • Narayanan on March 8, 2007, 12:12 GMT

    Fantastic one. I am a great fan of Windies. After reading this article, my respect to the team has gone in multiples of 1000's. The narration style is also superb.

  • raj on March 8, 2007, 11:50 GMT

    nice article, Sidd, very well done. it's sad to hear of patrick patterson's fall. what a thrilling, frightening bowler he was. it would be a great idea to try and track him down and wrfite an article on what has become of him. sounds as though he could use the exposure as well, maybe someone might come forward to help.

  • s on March 8, 2007, 11:37 GMT

    Any crickets would wish have they been born in India so that they can enjoy the popularity and the luxury life that Indian crickets get. Even though it's good to hear they love West Indies cricket team than their players, they should also respect their greats. It's quite pathetic when greats like Lloyd are forced to argue with the lady at the airport counter.

  • Santosh Matam on March 8, 2007, 11:33 GMT

    This was one of the finest articles by siddharth, Indian cricket fans need to take a leaf out of the book

  • rohan on March 8, 2007, 11:14 GMT

    it seems brian lara has much greater chance of being mobbed in india than in the west indies,the cult of the individual is an unfortunate attachment of indian cricket fans

  • Ralph on March 8, 2007, 11:12 GMT

    Great article, and great last sentence!

  • k on March 8, 2007, 11:00 GMT

    A good read. The contrast between the "worship-the-celebrity-at-all-costs" attitude in India is striking. This is perhaps a uniquely Indian or sub-continental phenomenon, whether it relates to politicians, film stars or cricket players. I found the vignette about the policeman who fined Dhoni and who was since transferred telling. Assuming he was just doing his job, it would have shown true class had Dhoni intervened on his behalf.

  • Pavan on March 8, 2007, 10:42 GMT

    Nice article, finally i saw one article which is little diffrent fron normaly "cricket oriented" cricket article

  • Hrishi on March 8, 2007, 10:00 GMT

    Excellent article! It is not often that we get to read such high quality articles of life beyond and after cricket. And needless to say, the Indian fans need to learn a thing or two from their Carribean counterparts.

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • Hrishi on March 8, 2007, 10:00 GMT

    Excellent article! It is not often that we get to read such high quality articles of life beyond and after cricket. And needless to say, the Indian fans need to learn a thing or two from their Carribean counterparts.

  • Pavan on March 8, 2007, 10:42 GMT

    Nice article, finally i saw one article which is little diffrent fron normaly "cricket oriented" cricket article

  • k on March 8, 2007, 11:00 GMT

    A good read. The contrast between the "worship-the-celebrity-at-all-costs" attitude in India is striking. This is perhaps a uniquely Indian or sub-continental phenomenon, whether it relates to politicians, film stars or cricket players. I found the vignette about the policeman who fined Dhoni and who was since transferred telling. Assuming he was just doing his job, it would have shown true class had Dhoni intervened on his behalf.

  • Ralph on March 8, 2007, 11:12 GMT

    Great article, and great last sentence!

  • rohan on March 8, 2007, 11:14 GMT

    it seems brian lara has much greater chance of being mobbed in india than in the west indies,the cult of the individual is an unfortunate attachment of indian cricket fans

  • Santosh Matam on March 8, 2007, 11:33 GMT

    This was one of the finest articles by siddharth, Indian cricket fans need to take a leaf out of the book

  • s on March 8, 2007, 11:37 GMT

    Any crickets would wish have they been born in India so that they can enjoy the popularity and the luxury life that Indian crickets get. Even though it's good to hear they love West Indies cricket team than their players, they should also respect their greats. It's quite pathetic when greats like Lloyd are forced to argue with the lady at the airport counter.

  • raj on March 8, 2007, 11:50 GMT

    nice article, Sidd, very well done. it's sad to hear of patrick patterson's fall. what a thrilling, frightening bowler he was. it would be a great idea to try and track him down and wrfite an article on what has become of him. sounds as though he could use the exposure as well, maybe someone might come forward to help.

  • Narayanan on March 8, 2007, 12:12 GMT

    Fantastic one. I am a great fan of Windies. After reading this article, my respect to the team has gone in multiples of 1000's. The narration style is also superb.

  • SALIL on March 8, 2007, 12:52 GMT

    I think this mirrors life ,although not strictly "luck favours the fool" it shows that former sports personalities too have a forced humility thrust upon them.I echo the point that respect for sports people ie defference to their skill and art, and not devotion to their personna..Its something that indian fans should take to heart.