Friday, April 27, 2007

WORLD CUP DIARY: A 99mph morning walk

Chose not to write from St Lucia anymore because while it was really picture perfect and everything there, there really wasn't much to write about. I mean, how much can you describe beautiful locales and stuff? Plus, didn't really get much time to wander about.

But had a champion experience this morning, which I thought I would post about. If I was still working for a newspaper, I would have been able to write a proper diary on it, but anyway.... Woke up early, around 7.30, and as is my habit, I went for a walk on the beach. One round down who do I see calling out to me, but Colin Croft! Most former West Indian cricketers are good fun. They are friendly. Chatty. Ask them for an interview, and they would almost always turn you down or ask you for a lot of money. Crofty, of course, is an established television and radio commentator, and has only chosen to refuse interviews to me down the years.

But I guess he knows me, at least by face, and thus ensued easily my most exciting and interesting morning walk ever. The sea was thundering away to our side as we went up and down the beach a number of times; me intent on my exercise as well as doing the constructive thing of having a proper conversation with Crofty. Crofty, well, just walking. And I guess, humoring me. But whatever he got out of the entire exercise, I got a lot of very interesting perspectives on Indian and West Indian cricket, on the International Cricket Council, on former West Indian internationals, on the 1979 Fastest Bowler Competition organised by Channel Nine, on cricket commentators, on Jeff Thompson, on Brian Lara...

I'm not sure how much of it Crofty would have said if it had to be on record, but it certainly was one of the most frank cricket conversations I have had the privilege of having with a former cricketer of such standing. In fact, an indicator of what Crofty had to say can be got from the fact that I am feeling iffy about putting it all down here.

And at the same time, he listened. He wasn't just interested in talking. He wanted to know about the BCCI, about Indian cricket, about why it's difficult to get Indian cricket out of its current mess, why the ICC has moved to Dubai...whether there is any point in his moving to Dubai to work!!! It was great fun.

I would have expected him to walk slower than he did. He didn't. So my basic purpose of waking up at 7.30 was also fulfilled. And then, after over half an hour of walking and talking with me, it was a 'see you in Barbados then' and a splash and he was off for a swim before starting the day.