No. 6

Roberts and Murray stand tall

Two West Indians in England set a school back home alight

Fazeer Mohammed

January 25, 2009

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Birmingham, 11 June 1975

It was an afternoon when the numbers in math class just weren't adding up, simply because all of us were too preoccupied with counting down the runs required by the last-wicket pair of Deryck Murray and Andy Roberts to defeat Pakistan in a critical World Cup match in faraway Birmingham.

The teachers had long since abandoned the noble task of shaping young minds, and their personal transistor radios were blaring so loudly down the hallway that we could hear every anxious moment, every desperate Pakistani appeal, every West Indian cheer at a scrambled run, as the experienced and level-headed Murray - a real hero for us in Trinidad and Tobago - along with the newcomer Roberts (it was just his second ODI) worked their way steadily towards a target of 267 from what seemed a hopeless position of 203 for 9.

With just a handful of runs needed, all discipline and classroom decorum went out the window. Huddled around those precious radios, the crackling commentary from what seemed a world away had us all hypnotised. Anyone daring to voice his doubt at the miracle being achieved was banished from sight. All hands, whether sweaty or trembling, had to be on deck for this one, even from across the Atlantic.

And then it happened: Roberts tapping Wasim Raja to midwicket for the winning run with two balls to spare, triggering an explosion of youthful celebration throughout the school that had the old lady next door wondering if the building was on fire. It was, but only with the passion of cricket-crazy schoolboys experiencing the joy of an amazing West Indian victory.

Fazeer Mohammed is a writer and broadcaster in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad. This article was first published in the print version of Cricinfo Magazine

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Fazeer Mohammed Fazeer Mohammed's claim to cricketing fame is that he once played in the same 2nd XI at the Queen's Park Cricket Club in Trinidad with Brian Lara. It was only a brief association, as one was on the way up and the other refusing to come to terms with the depressing reality that his limited ability would take him no further in the game. It certainly has been for the good of the game that Lara never allowed such severely critical assessments to stunt his development. In allowing his fellow countryman to blaze a trail on the field, Mohammed has opted to follow West Indies cricket from the media centre since 1988 as a journalist, and since 1992 as a radio commentator.
Related Links
Players/Officials: Deryck Murray | Sir Andy Roberts
Series/Tournaments: Prudential World Cup
Teams: West Indies
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