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Sight Screen

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Lloyd on losing

In the mid-'90s -- 1994, if I remember right; I was with the Sunday Observer at the time -- Clive Lloyd was in Mumbai, as part of a cricket series featuring past greats from Australia, West Indies, South Africa, India et al, being played at the CCI.
Was a great time for cricket fans -- Lloyd, Kallicharan, Roberts, Holding, Graeme Pollock, Barry Richards, Garth LeRoux... never mind the list, the who's who of the cricketing pantheon turned up. And in the more relaxed atmosphere of a veterans' series at the CCI, they were all approachable -- and would talk to you for as long as you wanted them to.
Some of those conversations remain vivid memories. Like the one with Barry Richards, where he spoke of technique, and the mind, and of how to plan big innings and one-day chases, and much more. That particular conversation also produced a funny moment -- Graeme Pollock was within earshot, and after one technical question too many from me, he kind of leaned over and went, son, why complicate things with all this thought? Cricket is simple -- see ball, hit ball, hard as you can.
Another conversation I remember vividly was with Lloyd -- Supercat, that day, seemed in the mood to discourse, and his preferred subject was West Indies cricket. The game in his native land, he felt, was on a slippery slope (remember, this was well before the Windies really hit the skids).
He argued that cricket administration in his country wasn't doing enough to retain interest and to bring in younger audiences; that the lack of proper coaching academies and d0mestic infrastructure would hurt the game; that given the cricket board's apathy, youngsters were being lost to games like basketball and baseball. And for these problems, he suggested solutions -- all sensible, some radical.
In retrospect, I didn't make too much of it at the time -- I mean, who in 1994 or thereabouts would have predicted the extent of the Windies decline?
That conversation came to mind just now, when I saw this story -- Lloyd, again, on what is wrong with the game in the Carribbean.
Find myself wishing someone would listen to the man -- had, in fact, listened to him a good ten years ago.

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