A day out with WI great Kallicharan

Alvin Kallicharan regales Andhra's players, coaches and officials with tales from his childhood which included using coconut branches as bats.

Alvin Kallicharan with some of the Andhra players at the ACA Academy in Vizianagaram on Wednesday.   -  Special Arrangement

West Indies great Alvin Kallicharan interacted with the Andhra Cricket Association players, coaches and officials at the ACA North Zone Academy on the sidelines of the Sir Vizzy Trophy inter-state one-day cricket tournament here on Wednesday.

“I had a very humble beginning in a small village in Guyana. I played cricket on streets and in any open space with no pads and protective gear. We made bats from coconut branches, balls were made out of wood and rubber bands. So, when you get hit, it would be really bad,” he said, going down the memory lane to give a brief recap of how cricket was played by many youngsters in West Indies in '60s and '70s.

“By the time I was 16, I was playing for the Guyana team and never had a cricket coach in my life. I was self taught. Scoring runs and batting long was my hunger drive,” Kallicharan said to the awe-struck gathering.

“As professional cricketers you should never get too excited if you score runs because that's your job and that's what your paid for doing so keep it simple,” was his advice.

"Don't worry about the bowler, he is 50 yards away so he can't punch you. All you should worry about is the ball in his hands because that is the only thing which can hurt you. You can't play two shot of one ball, so keep your focus on the ball and not on the bowler," he said.

Kallicharran was impressed with ACA facilities and said if he had similar facilities back then, he would have batted all day long and slept at the ground at night.

Dr. Kinjal Suratwala (GM Game Development ACA) and Satya Prasad Yachendra, chairman of ACA Senior selection committee, and former Ranji player K. Kamaraju thanked Kallicharan for accepting the invitation and spending time with the players and coaches.