Saturday, March 17, 2007

WORLD CUP DIARY: Viv and the Useful Elevator

The highlight of the day was easily the rather bizarre conversation I had with Viv Richards in the hotel elevator. He is staying in the same hotel as I am, and I keep bumping into him. We’ve had some interesting conversations, though strictly off the record, because of his numerous tie-ups.

His voice is probably as fantastic as his batting was. It booms. It’s a like a lion’s general growl. And when he laughs, which he does a lot of (I would like to think he does it a lot when chatting with me, because I haven’t seen any of the other journos have that effect on him), it really sets the room (or elevator) shaking.

This evening, Viv was returning from the departmental store in the lobby with a pile of bottles in his hands, and while we were trying to get into the elevator, the doors closed. I reached for the button, while Viv made for the door, caught hold of them midway, refused to let go as the doors fought a valiant battle with him, and…well, Viv couldn’t beat the doors, and with the other elevator also reaching ground floor, we gave up battle.

The incident, of course, was the cue for a lot of pointless but fun banter inside the lift – and Herschelle Gibbs’ six sixes provided the perfect peg for a little chat, which ended with him making little or no sense.

Otherwise, it was a rather relaxed day, which ended on a semi-high because of a cocktail party arranged by the Pakistan team. None of the cricketers drank obviously, and neither did we (just a couple of drinks actually), but a good deal of fun was had because of an Irish band that was also invited over. These are four chappies who have made the trip courtesy Digicel – competitors of Cable & Wireless, one of the sponsors of the tournament. They played some strange-looking traditional Irish instruments – a flute, a drum-like percussion thing, a guitar and a mandolin-like string gadget. Talented chaps. Good music happened and came back to the hotel with a good feeling in the head.

PS: Food post tomorrow.