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ICC World Cup: West Indies team party like rockstars at Perth

Song, dance and alcohol flows as calypso kings take centrestage in front of 500-odd fans at Sunday evening's Caribbean-style gig

Perth: The calypso kings received a rockstar welcome here at the James Street Amphitheatre with song, dance and alcohol flowing akin to the runs from Chris Gayle's bat against Zimbabwe (where he hammered a 147-ball 215 in West Indies' second World Cup encounter in Canberra) recently.

Chris Gayle joins an artist from an Australia-based Caribbean band on stage at the James Street Amphitheatre. Pics/Ashwin Ferro
Chris Gayle joins an artist from an Australia-based Caribbean band on stage at the James Street Amphitheatre. Pics/Ashwin Ferro 

Gayle was the entertainer-in-chief here too as he sang and danced on stage along with an Australia-based Caribbean band. As though that was not enough, Gayle even got his Jamaican teammate Andre Russell to sing for the 500-odd crowd who were present at the Western Australian Tourism-organised event.

In attendance, besides the entire West Indies squad, were some yesteryear legends like former captains Clive Lloyd (chief selector) and Richie Richardson (team manager) besides pace ace Curtly Ambrose (bowling consultant), all of whom happily mixed with the crowd and posed for photographs and selfies with everyone.

Andre Russell sings a song as 500-odd fans egg him on
Andre Russell sings a song as 500-odd fans egg him on 

The Windies take on MS Dhoni's Team India at the Western Australian Cricket Association Ground in a Group B match on Friday. None of them seemed perturbed at the prospect of facing the defending champions, who are on fire with three thumping wins in as many matches.

"No, we have not been following India's progress at all," team manager Richardson told mid-day on the sidelines of yesterday's Caribbean-style party. And it's not because the Windies have been busy with their match commitments, added Richardson.

Fans click a picture with team manager Richie Richardson
Fans click a picture with team manager Richie Richardson 

"We've not been busy… we just did not want to follow what India is doing up until now," said the 53-year-old, who played 86 Tests and 224 ODIs for WI scoring 5949 and 6248 runs at 44.39 and 33.41 respectively.

'We are ready for India'
Another Jamaican, Jerome Taylor, said that the team is as ready as the Indians are. "If you are ready, we are ready, maan. You gotta do what you gotta do, eh," he said with a wink as he moved on to pose for a picture with a group of fans.

Darren Sammy obliges a fan
Darren Sammy obliges a fan 

Ambrose, meanwhile, had a grin of satisfaction when asked what it felt like to be back at the WACA, considered a haven for pace.

"I have some good memories here. But that was a long, long time ago," said Ambrose, who boasts of one of the most devastating spells in Test cricket at the superquick venue (7-1 off 32 deliveries on Day One of the fifth and final Test in 1993 as WI went on to beat Allan Border's Australians to win the series 3-2).

Fans surround Curtly Ambrose for a selfie
Fans surround Curtly Ambrose for a selfie 

The best comments though came from West Indian legend Clive Lloyd. "So you're dancing eh," he asked a couple of journalists at the party, who immediately replied in the affirmative. To that, Lloyd said: "You won't be when we beat you on Friday."

West Indies legend Clive Lloyd (centre) poses with fans
West Indies legend Clive Lloyd (centre) poses with fans 

The party atmosphere at the James Street Amphitheatre yesterday
The party atmosphere at the James Street Amphitheatre yesterday

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