Today I stumbled on the trailer of a new movie named, Fire of Babylon. It was indeed a pleasant surprise to see that it was about cricket and more than anything else it was a movie about West Indian Cricket! I badly want to watch the movie now!
The video clip bought some nostalgic memories to me. When I was a kid I got an interest about cricket by listening, reading and watching about West Indian cricket. I loved to see the West Indian team play and I was a die hard fan of the brand of cricket they played. All people around me those days used to support either, Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan or Australia, I was the lone man who supported the West Indian cricket and I was at the but end of jokes and theories. They used to tell me that I like that team since my color is similar to theirs so I had an emotional attachment with them, but then I took that as a complement!
In my earliest memories of cricket, I am talking about an era in which I haven't seen a computer, cricinfo was not existent, a TV was a luxury, wisden was the richest source of cricketing data, I used to sit and listen on Mr. Alexander's receiver and then I learnt from father how to tune SW on the radio to listen to commentaries of the West Indian matches so that I can listen at home itself. During those days we didn't have a TV at home and at the shop also we didnt't have the relevant channels, so to get a glimpse of the test matches I used to go to the Muthalib's shop and watch it. To read about them I used to go and dig all the wisden almanacs at the British council and to keep me updated on a monthly basis I used to borrow the cricketer magazine.
More you got to know about the team the more I started to like them, they enjoyed the game, always had a huge smile at the end of it, they played with such flair and flamboyance incomparable at that time. Although I hate to call it like this I think what I used to watch was the sun setting period of Careabean cricket. I would do anything to watch an innings played by Lara, Haynes, Viv Richards ( I only watched recordings of his playing at the British council ) or the bowling of Walsh, Ambrose and fielding by the likes of Kieth Atherton!
Out of all the favorite who stood out is Lara. For me he was the best batsman the world has seen, he played in the same era in which cricket saw some of the greatest spinners ever, Murali, Warne, Kumble but he conquered them all and at most test matches he treated them with disdain and literally they were left to plead for mercy from him. When people called the Aussie team an all conquering team he took up the responsibility to demolish them single handed in more than one occasions. His style of batting with that extravagant bat lift was a treat to watch, simply the most stylish batsmen ever! Look at this video below, it shows the 15 year old Lara batting and anybody who had seen him bat in a test match will accept the style has been the same even after 20 years. Watch him break the 400 barrier in the other video!
What really worries me today is the quality of cricket the current team plays, which for me is an absolute insult they could do to the legendary West Indian brand of cricket. I wish that era was longer!