Williams delivers a speech in London in 1961 © Getty Images
Growing up, I really admired anyone who struggled and made it through. The first prime minister of Trinidad and Tobago, Eric Williams, who led us to independence in 1962, was a man of that sort.
In my teen years he was someone we all respected. Everything about him - the way he looked, the way he talked, all his characteristic traits - made me look up to him. It was my dream to be respected the way he was.
We have a country that is divided in terms of race, but Williams cut across all lines: he commanded respect from his peers and from the opposition as well. He was a scholar, a politician, and an astute leader who was well respected - a man who could make people not only from Trindad and Tobago but from all over the Caribbean follow his example.
Following people like him has always rubbed off on me. You look at what men like that achieved and how they did it, and it makes you want to try and do the same. Great people always talk about hard work, dedication, commitment, respect - and at the end of the day you can see the rewards they reap from having those qualities.
I never had the opportunity to meet Williams. I cried the day he died in 1981. He was like our very own Martin Luther King.

As told to Nagraj Gollapudi. This article was first published in the print version of Cricinfo Magazine