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'Nasty man' turns to writing

Former WI pacer Colin Croft, known for his aggression with the ball, has turned a journalist.

india Updated: Jun 11, 2006 16:01 IST

There is this man at the press box who moves around like every other local journalist - taking notes while watching the match, attending press conferences - only, his gigantic frame suggests he may have been into less pacific activities earlier in life.

"When a tail-ender comes into bat, get the first ball up his throat to cut all that crap," he couldn't help saying when S Sreesanth hit Fidel Edwards for successive fours on the first day of the first Test. He meant what he said, for he was dreaded for such deliveries when he was younger. He is Colin Croft.

The man known for raw and untamed aggression with the ball when West Indian fast bowlers used to terrorise the world has now turned journalist, currently freelancing for BBC World Service Sport. He has been doing this for some time now and travelled to many points on the international cricket map.

Age might have mellowed him down, for the 53-year-old comes across as a rather friendly bloke these days. Originally from Guyana, Croft has settled in Trinidad and Tobago, his children studying in the US.

But he is not game for interviews, "I am interested only in what I am paid for. Make me an offer, I'll think about it."

He doesn't mind a casual chat on what attracted him to flying aeroplanes, though.

"It's not because I like speed that I became a pilot. You can say that I hate boats. They are very slow. So when I thought of taking to one, it had to be aeroplanes," says the commercial pilot whose aviation activities have been cut short by his journalistic commitments.

Described as "genuinely nasty" by Imran Khan for the way he approached fast bowling, Croft was around in international cricket for just over four years (1977-82) before the tour of the then banned South Africa in 1982 ended his career for West Indies.

He took 185 wickets in 27 Tests, which is a phenomenal strike rate considering that he bowled alongside the likes of Michael Holding, Andy Roberts and Joel Garner in the days when these predatory fast bowlers used to share the wickets. His figures of eight for 29 against Pakistan in Port of Spain are still the best for a West Indian quick.

So what attracted him to journalism? Is money the driving force or does he like the job? "What do you do it for?" he counters.

"I do it because of both. I am not rich but I am happy," Croft adds, headphones hanging around his neck, heading for the post match press conference.

First Published: Jun 05, 2006 11:11 IST