March 29, 2000

Keep going, Kapil tells Walsh

First they were to inspire him (to break Kapil Dev's world record) and now calls are pouring in for congratulatory messages. Tuesday night was no exception either.

Walsh seemed to be tired after receiving several phone calls at his Wyndham Hotel in Kingston. He may have shared a few bottles of champagne (four were sent by Kapil Dev, currently the Indian coach) with his colleagues. Kapil, in a tele-conference from Sharjah seems to have advised Walsh to take a few more wickets so as to keep his record intact for another few years at least. His reference was obviously towards Wasim Akram (Pakistan - 383), Curtly Ambrose (WI - 377) and Shane Warne (Australia - 363 Test wickets). All these players are actively playing Test cricket. However, with Akram and Ambrose at the fag end of their careers, it seems that Warne will be the only real contender.

All Sports Promotions (ASP) Limited, a sports promotion company, has decided to produce a special TV programme on Walsh's life during this year, it is reliably learnt. ASP has also announced the year 2000 to be celebrated as ``Courtney Walsh Appreciation Year'', honouring the outstanding West Indies pacer for his great achievement of capturing the highest wickets in Test cricket. The West Indies' regional sports promotion and management company will co-ordinate a series of events throughout the year to honour the 37-year-old Jamaican fast bowler.

Several testimonial dinner functions are being planned and testimonial matches are slated to be held in Canada, the Cayman Islands, Bermuda, India, Florida and New York and plans are being made for events in his homeland Jamaica. A special set of phone cards celebrating him as a Caribbean hero, will be issued later in the year across the country.

The West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) are making a contribution of one dollar from each ticket sold for the Test to his appreciation fund. However, the attendance for the Test was very thin. ``This is a tangible expression of appreciation of Walsh's outstanding service to West Indian cricket,'' noted a press release from the WICB.