Kallicharran: 'Test cricket teaches you to bat longer and bowl longer'

On a short visit to India, Kallicharran has flown down from the United States, his home for many years now, to be the chief guest at the Inderjeet Singh cricket tournament in Pilibhit.

Kallicharran, who brought some scintillating footwork to the crease, was a fearless striker of the ball.   -  THE HINDU ARCHIVE

India is “home away from home” for Alvin Kallicharran, the graceful left-hander from Guyana, who once famously decimated the demonic Dennis Lillee in a 1975 World Cup match - with an assortment of breathtaking cut, drive and hook shots- that are part of the Caribbean folklore now.

On a short visit to India, Kallicharran has flown down from the United States, his home for many years now, to be the chief guest at the Inderjeet Singh cricket tournament in Pilibhit. “It is a tournament conducted in the memory of my friend’s father and I am honoured to be part of this venture,” said Kallicharran, who played 66 Tests and 31 ODIs for the West Indies.

Known for his attacking strokeplay, it is hardly a surprise that Kallicharran loves the latest format of the game – T20. “We all know how the T20 is - the IPL, especially, has changed the way cricket is played. There is entertainment and there is the commercial side of it too. People were apprehensive of its existence when it started but it is here to stay. I firmly believe there is room for all kind of cricket,’ he said in a chat with Sportstar.

He avers, "I am old-fashioned” and insists there can be “no threat” to Test cricket. “Test cricket is the nurturing ground to produce quality cricketers. You need the longer version of cricket to sustain the skills of batting and bowling. Only Test cricket teaches you to bat longer and bowl longer.

"To me, that is the most important aspect of coaching. If you know how to bat longer and bowl long spells you can play any format of cricket. Remember, any format you play, a bad ball is a bad ball. Also, if you can’t judge the length of the ball, you can’t find gaps. Simple!”

Kallicharran brought some scintillating footwork to the crease. He was a fearless striker of the ball. “You have to be hungry. You must have the attitude to face the outside world, how to face adversity. I was never coached. Learnt it by myself,” said Kallicharran, who took to spiritualism after active cricket.

At 69, Kallicharran is at peace with himself. “It is always special to visit India, meet old friends, rekindle some fond memories.” And the charge on Lillee at The Oval? “That’s lovely nostalgia,” he signs off with a hearty laughter.

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