The Trundling Trip To Toco & Trinidad
Imran Jan (LHB/OS)
Lendl Simmons (RHB/WK/RM)
John Davison (RHB/OS)
Jaffar Mohammed (LHB)
Michael Kanhai (RHB)
Dave Mohammed (LHB/LLS)
Ravi Rampaul (LHB/RFM)
Taubesh Samaroo (RHB/RF)
Venkatesh Prasad (RHB/RFM)
Avishka Seemungul (RHB/RM)
Sherwin Suwa (RHB/RM)
Arthus Mandel (LHB/SLA)
Carter Poper (RHB)
Lionel Bibb (RHB/OS)
We have a very good team, including four internationals (Broncoman, Mohammed, Rampaul and Davison) and also Venkatesh Prasad, an Indian player who's had his stint here. We should be one of the favourites for the league.
This is a very strange country. Everything's very laid-back, and a lot is about cricket - very different from my own (add to that, I've never been outside Europe!). I've been installed in a flat overlooking the sea, and I have already taken one bath in the pool. They seem to take very good care of their overseas players. I've had a look at the pitches here as well - they look like the ones at home - very worn and not a lot of bounce in them, so I should feel right at home as a keeper!
San Fernando Thunderbirds - a long bus trip to the south-east of the island, on quite bumpy roads. We turned up on a pitch that was even worse than the one in Toco, but weren't distraught. Naturally, Rusty (that's our captain), decided to bowl first, and I donned the gloves with ease. Simon, that's our Aussie pro and international opener, shouted "Billy, good for you that we're bowling first". Forgot to mention that I've been nicknamed after some guy called Bill Lawry. Doesn't say a lot to me...gotta look that up on cricinfo when I can find a computer in this place.
Myself: Held two catches - one regulation edge of Imran Jan and one beautiful dive taking Ian Harvard. Then, on the second day, I was dismissed for a dismal eleven. I edged two fours - one through gully and one that rolled down the only fast spot of the field - deep fine leg. We drew the match, being unable to bowl the Powderpuff Girls out for less than 226 and having to chase a huge target of 155 in 5 overs. Funnily, a lot of people turned up even though it was an unimportant third-day match, and they even wanted my autograph! I felt a bit like a star, for the first time in my life.
In a forty-over slog - never my strong side - I managed to hit singles quite well and built a solid foundation to the match. I gave up 4 leg-byes in the Powderpuff innings - that was an obnoxious pie that was looking to go five feet outside off when it suddenly hit some dirt on the pitch and bounced into the back of Adams' pads. It then flicked just past the stumps and rolled down to square leg. When I left the crease, skying one to cover, the team was 90/4 chasing 165 with 15 overs left. Eventually Rusty Kanhai came in at seven to hit 34 off 32 balls and sent us home with seven balls to spare.
Phooey. Finally got to face some pies. These Caribbean club players can bowl better than you give them credit for, but luckily not Rose and Mohamed. I hit 14 off 15 balls before being out - a quick innings that took full advantage of early field restrictions. Imran Jan hit 54 as well, as we were all out for a poor 171. Our bowlers clung on, however, and we limited Bluefox to a slow 42 not out from 78 balls. With the last ball, Ravi Rampaul bowled a quick one to Mitche Ramkisoon, and he was lbw attempting to slog sweep him over square leg (Yes, I know slog sweep is a shot played to spinners. It's the point. :p). So we won by one run - I took three catches, but conceded six legbyes. So far, the tour isn't going quite to my liking.
Hmm. What on earth is going on with me? I just hit a six. Fair point, it was an attempted medium-pacer at about 40 kph that went six feet outside off stump and bounced just a tiny bit - you kind of had to cover drive that. Unfortunately, I got the edge of it, and it flew up over the point fielder and out instead. Never mind, I got 38, I outscored Simon, and we made a quite quick 220 in the innings.
Bowling after that proved too tough, however. Mostly due to me. I must have dropped Hundley and Manson at least eight times in their innings...at least nobody commented. They made 335 and ensured a no-result.
I managed to fend off Tino Best, who bowled a very good spell of fast bowling - but edged the number 11 Modeste to the keeper Ganga for 9. Couldn't even get a good partnership.
I really miss my computer now. I think I'll try to go to Port of Spain one of these days, if I can get free time. Maybe there's an IT café in there...or I can get to borrow Mr Mxy's computer.
45 in the second innings. But I still can't convert things. It's pretty damn poor. At least the Maroons couldn't chase 189 in 55 overs...although they only lost 2 wickets. I really think there is something wrong with the attitude here...they just play, they can't really bother to declare or anything - which results in a hell of a lot of draws. I got to see a table yesterday - apparently the Flashes have played nine games this season, drawn eight, and won the ninth.
Twenty-seven fours. I counted them, every single one. I couldn't care less that we only hit 16 singles - not my fault every fielder seems to be standing in silly positions, literally! Now how on earth do you do that? And that wasn't a poor attack either - good old Xav Rose played there, dunno how many wickets he got in Bangla - and Bluefox as well, who seems to have taken new interest. They're probably still talking about my partnership with Dave Mohammed. Just a shame we couldn't win this one either.
We finally got to win a game! And in style, too. Jan was out after two balls, but we somehow managed to hang in there (us being Simon and I, we could get to form some good partnerships...he keeps nagging me about not hitting runs, which frustrates me so much that I end up hitting it very hard!) I even got three sixes in the innings - a great achievement if you think about how I usually play. Eventually, I went about four yards down the wicket - silly really, I tried to loft a very slow one from the medium-pacer Ryan Santo over midwicket - missed it, and tried to rush back to get my bat in. Deo, he's the Maroons wickie, got it first, and did a stumping I could have been proud of.
Can't really say I'm pleased with my stint here - it's been a very nice country to visit, of course (hot though...very hot...yeah, that's a great excuse! It's too hot for me!), but the cricket is what I'm here for and it's, to be frank, been horribly poor. Only consolation is, Simon's doing even worse, and he's the international batsman. And anyway, runs against poor attacks aren't gonna impress the selectors anyway. I'll just trundle back to my red team (I've been transferred! At least I'm the only wickie there...no stupid competitors that wanna steal my precioussss glovessss) and hope that nobody notices what I did here in Toco.