No. 9

Queen's Park stands up for Simmo

An old-timer steps into the ring again, and is greeted with due respect

Fazeer Mohammed

February 15, 2009

Text size: A | A


Not pictured: 24,000 cheering fans applauding Simpson to the wicket © PA Photos
Enlarge
 

Port-of-Spain, 3 March 1978

Bob Simpson just had to be a glutton for punishment. Why else would a 42-year-old choose to come out of retirement to lead a weakened, makeshift Australian side to the Caribbean to face arguably the most formidable cricketing force the game has ever known?

Unlike its Australian counterpart, the West Indies Cricket Board of Control had not alienated the defectors to Kerry Packer's World Series Cricket, so the likes of Andy Roberts, Colin Croft and Joel Garner were waiting impatiently for the chance to unleash fire and brimstone on the hopelessly outgunned visitors on the opening day of the series, at the Queen's Park Oval.

Even though rain had been pouring down from early in the morning, the ground was already up to capacity by the time Clive Lloyd and Simpson went out belatedly for the toss.

When the coin came up in the home team's favour, the collective roar that went up in the stands was like that in a Coliseum anticipating a slaughter.

Yet in the midst of the carnage that followed (Peter Toohey was struck between the eyes by a Roberts bouncer), there was a moving tribute to Simpson's courage when 24,000 fans stood as one to applaud the Australian captain all the way to the wicket, and then again on the return journey after Garner trapped him leg-before for a duck.

There was to be no heroic rearguard, and the tourists were routed for 90 on the way to being demolished by an innings inside three days. But as much as they revelled in the home team's overwhelming dominance, the celebrating masses were still knowledgeable and sporting enough to honour an ageing defender of the baggy green.

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

RSS Feeds: Fazeer Mohammed

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

FeedbackTop
Email Feedback Print
Share
E-mail
Feedback
Print
Fazeer MohammedClose
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: Clive Lloyd | Bob Simpson
Series/Tournaments: The Frank Worrell Trophy
Teams: Australia
Other links: 50 Magic Moments

    Four in four, and stands by Nos. 10 and 11

Ask Steven: Also, most balls faced in a T20, highest limited-overs score at Lord's, and long lives after Test debut

    England seem to have forgotten about personality

Mark Nicholas: They have to see a glass that is half-full, and play the game as if it is just that, a game; and an opportunity

    'Wouldn't mind being reborn as Imran'

My Favourite Cricketer: Sanjay Manjrekar on his first sighting of Imran Khan's magnetic personality

'Smith always backed himself to win a Test for SA'

Modern Masters: Graeme Smith's fourth-innings stats are a testament of his tremendous mental strength

Are Test batsmen maturing quicker these days?

Michael Jeh: Does Rahane, Robson, Ballance and Stokes making hundreds in their first five Tests point to a larger trend?

News | Features Last 7 days

India out-reversed on dry pitch

England consigned India to two reverse-swing-induced collapses whereas India bowlers mainly relied on the new ball's movement and uneven bounce by hitting the deck hard

Bigger concerns for England than Lord's pitch

While the pitch took most of the blame at Trent Bridge, at Lord's England will need to get more controlling overs from their spinners. The reality is there is no quick fix

Ridiculed Ishant ridicules England

Ishant Sharma has often been the butt of jokes, and sometimes deservedly so. Today, however, the joke was on England

Another battle, another defeat on Planet Al

Alastair Cook has got used to feeling of the axe hanging over him. Only his team-mates can save England now

'The more fielders think for themselves, the better for the team'

Paul Collingwood talks about how fielding has evolved over time, manning backward point, the amazing AB de Villiers, and his fielding dream team

News | Features Last 7 days