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Fast and funny! Andy Roberts impresses at CCI

It was an infotaining evening at the Cricket Club of India's (CCI) CK Nayudu Hall on Saturday. 'An Evening with Sir Andy Roberts' sparked to life after a bit of a wait, as soon as the former West Indian pace ace, entered the room.

Andy Roberts (centre) smiles as former India cricket captain Dilip Vengsarkar speaks at the CCI on Saturday. Host Sachin Bajaj is on the right. Pic/Sayyed Sameer Abedi
Andy Roberts (centre) smiles as former India cricket captain Dilip Vengsarkar speaks at the CCI on Saturday. Host Sachin Bajaj is on the right. Pic/Sayyed Sameer Abedi

As camera bulbs flashed, a silence fell over the room, noisy with the crackle of cricketing conversation, the crunch of peanuts and the munch of wafers from the audience. There was a short introduction by Sachin Bajaj of the Global Cricket School and host for the evening, who spoke briefly about Andy's visit to India, and how his meeting with young cricketers could fire a spark within them.

Then it was over to you, Andy, with an interactive session, where moderator Prasanna Sant kept it peppy and interesting. Sant threw Andy a few bouncers, (hey you think only you can bowl bouncers, Andy?) googlies and even a doosra, all which the Caribbean quick tackled with aplomb.

Andy had the audience nodding with interest when he said, after being asked about his Antiguan roots, "all I ever wanted to do was to bowl fast. Viv (Richards) and me brought a never-say-die attitude to the West Indies team. I hated losing and we (West Indies) won because we played hard." After a pause, Andy admitted, "today we are a beaten force in world cricket."

On high-tech video analysis, Andy's answer was greeted with hoots of laughter. "We used to visualise… I don't know if players really see this video analysis. They keep making the same mistakes."

On the greatest batsman he bowled to: "Sunil Gavaskar but Sunil will have to yield to Vishy when it comes to bouncy tracks." He also cracked up the mostly salt 'n' pepper haired audience (more salt, less pepper) saying, "this generation's cricketers want to be pampered," and when asked why the Caribbean in particular produced great athletes, like Merlene Ottey or Usain Bolt, he said, "Physically, we are different and we are always
running from things."

There was plenty of gentle ribbing about umpiring, about the 1983 World Cup, where India beat the West Indies in a shocker and more, towards the end, Andy was asked what he found most common between the Caribbean and India, "Spice," signed off the fast man. Spice? Nice maan!

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