An “Evening of Nostalgia” it sure was when two celebrated former West Indies players and an icon of Caribbean journalism spoke of West Indies cricket in the glory days.
Sir Vivian Richards, Roger Harper and Tony Cozier were the guests at the latest and possibly the last `Evening of Nostalgia’ organized by the Reds Perreira Sports Foundation.
The event was held on Thursday evening at the Le Meridien Pegasus Hotel and was well attended.
The moderators, Perreira himself andTrinidadian commentator/journalist Fazeer Mohammed, handled the occasion with their customary skill.
Richards, the “Master Blaster’ totally lived up to his name blasting players, managers and cricket administrators for the state of the game in the region today.
He posited that once there was no one to instill order and discipline in a team that team will never work in unison.
A destructive batsman in his heyday, Richards mauled England in 1976 for his highest test score of 291 and he once held the world record of 1710 runs in a calendar year.
Richards reminisced about the Kerry Packer World Series Cricket where he scored five un-official centuries during the 1977-9 sojourn and declared that “World Series (Cricket) made the West Indies team a better team afterwards.”
The work of managers, fitness experts and nutritionists contributed to the era where the West Indies were well nigh invincible.
“The (cricketing) world copied our regimental attitude during the 1970’s and `80’s and today they have now begun to use that against us,” Richards stated.
Harper, a former West Indies coach, spoke of the lack of commitment from today’s players.
“Young players of today must remember the background they came from,” Harper said.
Richards agreed and said that the younger generation of players did not want to follow this edict adding that the names of (Sir Donald) Bradman and (George) Headley are still mentioned up to this day because of their commitment to the game.
On the subject of technology Richards said:“I personally do not like this technology stuff because at the end of the day cricket is still spelt the same way.”
He added that young players in the region needed to pay attention to the long history of West Indies cricket as being educated about the historical exploits of past players would make them better players overall.
On playing under Clive Lloyd Richard said:”Up to this day I still refer to him as `Skip’ because of the bond we shared.
“Today the team players do not spend quality time together.”
Harper said his coaching stint with the West Indies team was a very trying one.
He was a bit critical of the use of modern technology admitting that it helped the players analyze more and quicker but pointed out that technology did not help the players on the field.
Harper was adamant that players of his era and under the astute leadership of Lloyd and Richards, spent many hours in the dressing room discussing strategies to be used on the field.
”You never saw him (Lloyd) waving his hand frantically to his fielders because they were briefed well before as to what to do in case a situation arose,” Harper stated.
Perreira on a sad note stated that this might possibly be the last `Evening of Nostalgia’ to be held.
He was, however, happy that every one who attended the evening was showered with memories that he said he was sure they will not forget for a long time to come.