It’s difficult to hang around with the brother of the world’s greatest athlete and not talk about him. But Sadiki Bolt is cool with it. He knows he is a better cricketer than Usain. That’s how it is in the Bolt family --- one’s a sprinter, the other a cricketer.
“We grew up separate. Usain was in Trelawny, some three and-a-half-hours from here, and I grew up in Kingston. We used to meet during summer and Christmas vacations at our grandmother’s. That used to be a lot of fun,” said Sadiki, who is Usain’s half-brother, while preparing for nets at the Melbourne Oval, home to the likes of Michael Holding and Courtney Walsh.
Cricket runs through the Bolt family, thanks to father Wellesley. “It’s a family trait you know. Father loved cricket. We were accustomed to watching cricket. I used to go to church on Saturday and but before that I was glued to TV all morning. So it’s in the family. We were active players too. During vacations, we used to play on the streets. I loved Brian Lara. I also like Rahul Dravid a lot,” said Sadiki.
Usain was on the faster side of things. A natural athlete, it was but expected he would idolise fast bowlers. “I was the batsman and he used to bowl pace. He loved Wasim Akram. He always talks about him,” said Sadiki, who plays local cricket in the hope of being selected for first-class cricket.
“Cricket relaxes me. It’s a given for me. I have been playing cricket since primary school. There’s no second guessing that,” said Sadiki, who was in the Jamaica Tallawahs camp earlier this year. Not being picked after scoring a century ‘deterred him’ some time back but he is more focused than ever to make the cut.
He derives the confidence from the competitive spirit bred in the brothers while playing cricket in their childhood. To him, there’s no doubt Usain will win his third gold in the Rio Olympics. “We like to compete, we like to win. So definitely he will win,” he said.
The conversation was more about cricket than Usain’s chances in Rio. The world’s fastest man is also a keen follower of cricket. “We talk about playing against each other, the greats of the game. We sometimes sit and watch T20, Chris (Gayle) and Marlon (Samuels) bat. If somebody plays a good shot, even if we are not watching together, Usain calls me and says ‘Sadi you watched that shot? That’s class’,” said Sadiki.
It’s hard to imagine the sprinter who starts celebrating even before winning handsomely to turn into a nervous fan during cricket. Usain’s done that too, during the World T20 final earlier this year. When West Indies needed 19 in the last over from Ben Stokes, Usain couldn’t bear the tension. “He was saying ‘boy this doesn’t look good’ when it boiled down to 20 runs in 6 balls. I told him ‘brother just relax now’. It was a good batting wicket. Marlon was there. So I knew we would win,” said Sadiki.
Living apart, the brothers only saw each other once or twice while growing up. After school though, they have been talking more since Usain lives in Kingston now. “We see each other more now since we got big. We do stuff together. We live separate but we still link up, play dominos, party together. It’s the same for us,” said Sadiki.