ICL: Indian Cricket League

Dravid & Co. on Caribbean Island of Trust


DravidThe First Trust Corporation Bank seems to have disappeared from this tiny east Caribbean island. Bankers can’t remember it, phone directories don’t have a clue, there’s no sign it ever existed. Well, it’s been almost 18 years since St Kitts last made headlines in India.

That was when a section of the then Rajiv Gandhi government joined hands with Chandraswami and his sidekick K N Agarwal alias Mamaji, hoping to pull a fast one on VP Singh who had walked out of the ministry.

That, of course, is history, with all the leading players having virtually faded out of the Indian mindscape. But today, this 28-square mile island of small, winding roads, colonial bungalows, tiny peaks and crashing waves is set to make news back home again.

Minutes after Rahul Dravid and Brian Lara walk back to the pavilion after the toss at the Warner Park here on Tuesday, St Kitts will officially host its first ever international cricket match.

With the World Cup looming, and islands across the Caribbean beginning to dress up, St Kitts obviously doesn’t want to be left behind. Named after Sir Thomas Warner, the British Governor of 1642, the stadium, painted in classic West Indian shades of green and yellow, can seat 8,000 people, has two lovely grass mounds, English-style ‘beer’ tents and a re-laid arena.

“The pitch I knew was bouncy, but I don’t know about now,” says Colin Croft, the master pacer. Even skipper Rahul Dravid shied away from taking a call on the surface. But St Kitts Cricket Association vice-president Steve Saunders says, “It’s a brand, new pitch. And from what we have seen of a few local games, it is a typical West Indian wicket, hard and bouncy.

Team India, meanwhile, seem to have recovered from that dramatic one-run loss at Kingston. “The coach and the captain had a pep talk with the team immediately after the match. They told them that it was a game of cricket, after all, and asked them focus on this match,” says Ranjib Biswal, national selector, now with the team as manager.

However, some team members, especially the younger ones, are learnt to have been devastated by the narrow loss, something they are not really used to considering India’s fantastic run over the last season.

There’s no word yet on whether they would be tinkering with the XI, but Sreesanth has completely recovered from a niggle in the ankle and stands a good chance of replacing Munaf Patel, who was not quite up there in the first two games.

The West Indies, on the other side, are on a high and opted the day after that Kingston thriller to go with the same XI to St Kitts, prompting radio talk show hosts here to offer six-packs to all those who can get this one right: “Who will win this one?”

Probably, Brian Charles Lara can give a clue. For, it was at the Warner Park that he served his visiting card to world cricket with a 182 for the West Indies junior team against India - again, 18 years ago.

Source:India Sports

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This entry was posted on Tuesday, May 23rd, 2006 and is filed under General.

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