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Stands quiet as cricket kicks off in earnest

Cricket in the Caribbean means party time, and the people here take pride in their boisterous and fun-loving ways, coming from an island where the carnival early in the year brings everything else to a standstill. N Ananthanarayanan writes.

cricket Updated: Jun 07, 2011 01:36 IST
N Ananthanarayanan

Cricket in the Caribbean means party time, and the people here take pride in their boisterous and fun-loving ways, coming from an island where the carnival early in the year brings everything else to a standstill.

But the one-day series between India and the West Indies began in near silence. The 9am start in Trinidad, on a working day, cannot bring the fans to the ground. And it came as no surprise that the stands were quite empty when the match kicked off.

No takers
A woman selling vuvuzelas on the street, behind an unusually quiet and empty Trini Posse Stand, found few takers before the start. This section is the focal point of partying during matches organised by the Queen's Park Cricket Club - established 120 years ago and is the fifth oldest club in the Caribbean.

Some wondered why the first two ODIs had been scheduled on weekdays, after a full house turned up for the T20 clash on Saturday.

Although spectators trooped in as the morning wore on, it pained the die-hard romantic and the voice of Caribbean cricket commentary for decades - Joseph "Reds" Perreira.

"It's a working day and you can't expect people to come in so early," said the 72-year-old, who emerged from rural Guyana and overcame a stammer to realise his dream of becoming a commentator.

‘who’s there?’

"And tell me, who is new in this team," he asks. "In 1971, there was Gavaska! The fans have already seen all the great India players in action."

Fans have their unique way of watching the game from the stands, often screaming instructions to the players in the middle, showing how closely many of them follow the game.

Cricket on television also holds back many from coming to the stadium. "England are playing Sri Lanka and there is a lot of country cricket that is shown on television. Why would they come," asks "Reds", who has just penned his autobiography 'Living My Dreams', which captures the game through the exciting decades of West Indies cricket.