West Indies v England, 2nd Test, Port-of-Spain, 2nd day March 20, 2004

Backbench rebellion

Freddie Auld surveys the press box at the Queen's Park Oval

At least Corey Collymore can find a seat, even if the West Indian press corps can't © Getty Images

"Local media eat humble pie," roared one of the headlines in today's copy of Newsday. It seems that the West Indian pressmen were fed up at being sent to the back of the class yesterday while the English journos bagged the best seats at the front.

"The West Indies are losing the battle off the field as well during the current English cricket tour of the Caribbean," ran the article. "The Trinidad & Tobago contingent were made to feel like second-class citizens, in their own country to boot." And it didn't end there. The writer complained that they were "crammed like sardines in a Brunswick tin", and "forced to stare at the backs of the foreign newsmen, mainly from England and Australia." Australia? I have to say I haven't noticed too many Aussies about, unless they got confused by Tony Greig's multi-nationalities.

To be fair, they weren't just having a pop at the English media, of which some were apparently seen "giggling like sassy schoolgirls", but also blaming the West Indian and Trinidadian boards. According to the article, they should be prepared for a "brace of barrage and criticism" for not planning ahead for the English invasion.

Admittedly it is quite a squeeze on the second floor of the Gerry Gomez Centre, otherwise known as the press box. Situated in between the Learie Constantine and Cyril Duffrey Stands, it has a perfect stump-to-stump view of the Queen's Park pitch with the pavilion straight ahead. Four rows deep, scattered with overheating laptops, busy phone lines and scribbling pens, the first three rows are indeed mostly filled with the English contingent, with the disgruntled locals crammed in the back row.

Two TV monitors at either side of the room provide those vital replays of wickets and appeals, accompanied by oohs and aahs, as was the case this morning when Marcus Trescothick got away with one down the leg side. That didn't please the back-benchers much either. But it wasn't just the print posse taking up the space. The small BBC Radio squad was tucked into the left-hand corner, while the photographers were busy sending off their latest action snaps.

Everything on the top floor is much more civilised. There are five different rooms reserved for the Sky Sports pundits and their crew of cameras, the TalkSport radio team, and the third umpire. For this Test, that's Eddie Nicholls, and he has his own little hideaway, complete with his own personal TV set and, of course, the all important green and red buttons.

And in the media centre it's like a Who's Who of former England captains. At the last count there were eight: Tony Greig, Geoffrey Boycott, Bob Willis, Ian Botham, David Gower, Mike Gatting, Chris Cowdrey and Michael Atherton. No wonder the locals were feeling a bit outnumbered.

Freddie Auld, Wisden Cricinfo's assistant editor, will be following England's fortunes in Jamaica and Trinidad.