PERTH, Australia, CMC – West Indies were on Sunday feted at a Caribbean day organised by the Western Australia government, as the team took time out from their preparations to mingle with the large West Indian community here.
The side arrived in the coastal city on Saturday to begin preparations for their fifth game of the ICC Cricket World Cup against reigning World champions India next week.
Caribbean music – mainly calypso and reggae – and the smell of West Indian food filled the air at the Perth Cultural Centre as fans got the chance to meet with the West Indies stars.
As expected, among the biggest drawing cards were talismanic opener Chris Gayle and former Test and One-Day International captain Darren Sammy, who took photos with and signed autographs for numerous excited fans.
Team manager Sir Richie Richardson and bowling coach Sir Curtly Ambrose, both former stars, were also mobbed by eager fans.
However, it was Gayle who stole the show. He joined the live band on stage to showcase his singing and dancing skills, and was joined by fellow Jamaican Andre Russell who also entertained the crowd.
West Indies will turn their attention to their preparation on Monday with a full training session at Murdoch University.
They have had a mixed run in the World Cup to date, losing two and winning two of their four games, with form that has lurched between spectacular and substandard.
They opened their Group B campaign with a shock four-wicket defeat to minnows Ireland before rebounding to hammer Pakistan by 150 runs in Christchurch.
The Windies then scaled new heights when they piled up 372 for two to beat Zimbabwe by 73 runs in Canberra but then plummeted to the joint worst-ever defeat in World Cup history with a 257-run loss to South Africa in Sydney just days later. A victory at the WACA ground on Friday would see them take a huge step towards qualifying for the second round.