Saturday, 19 March 2011

My First ODI Experience

Got up at 4am on the 27th March 1993, left home in Central Trinidad at 4:30am my destination was the Queen's Park Oval in Port of Spain. Those were the days of tickets being sold on the day, we reached the oval at 5:30am and joined the 'line', I use the word line loosely, since it was more like a triangle. 

The crowd outside was like nothing i have ever experienced before in my young life, everyone was full of excitement, there was constant 'picong' and not to mention the free flow of alcoholic beverages, and yes this was before the sun came up. It was a truly memorable experience, one that will never happen again since all tickets are pre sold weeks in advance.

The gates were opened at about 6am and somehow I was able to make it to the ticket counter and pay my $50.00TT fee and I was inside the oval for the very first time. I was surprised at the size of the ground and all the facilities that they had, stuff that a 14 year old from rural Trinidad never knew existed locally. For the $50.00 my 'seat' was any available spot on the concrete cycle track in front of the Carib stand.

The cycle track was fully packed by 7am and remember this game was not starting until 9:30am, the wait didn't seem so long as the people around you were so nice and friendly that the time flew. Complete strangers were offering me stuff to eat and stuff to drink, there we people reading, some listening to radio and others were catching up on some sleep. There were also quite a number of individuals who had their fair share of liquor and were passed out.

I was having so much fun that I didn't even realize that the game was about to start, I was so busy taking in the sights and sounds that I didn't even see the teams had made their way onto the field. Apparently West Indies won the toss and choose to bat. I clearly remember asking why is the Pakistani keeper standing so far back after the first ball i knew why. Wasim Akram delivered a ball that seemed to still be rising when Rashid Latiff collected, my thought were TV does not give you the real picture.

The game itself was exciting for a first timer, getting to see West Indies players like Haynes, Lara, Ambrose, Walsh, Bishop, Hooper, Richardson and Pakistan players like Akram, Younis, Inzamam, Rameez Raja was absolutely incredible. The noise when a boundary was struck or a wicket fell was phenomenal something I have never experienced before and something the has stayed with me all my life.

Unfortunately West Indies were not able to defend the 259 for 4 that they posted, Pakistan winning by 7 wickets. It was an absolutely enjoyable day one that I'm thankful that I saved the money to go on that day. I still go to the oval to look at International matches, but the atmosphere while still excellent may never reach that level. 

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