Artistry of Lloyd, Kanhai and Gibbs relived at `Balata Balls’ launching
By Ravendra Madholall
March 5, 2007
SEVERAL cricket enthusiasts were last Thursday night treated to an Evening of Nostalgia as three prominent cricket writers took a walk down memory lane, reliving the artistry of Guyana’s very own Clive Hubert Lloyd, Rohan Bholalall Kanhai and Lancelot Richard Gibbs.
The occasion was the launching of the Debita Harripersaud’s ‘Balata Balls’ at the Cara Lodge on Quamina Street.
Kanhai’s exploits were highlighted by no other than sportsman, poet, novelist, commentator and cricket-lover extraordinaire, Dr Ian McDonald, whose passion for the game and especially Kanhai is equalled only by his ability to describe the same. He opened with a magnificent description of Rohan Kanhai.
McDonald, in his eloquent presentation, quoted the great CLR James who said “Kanhai created a new dimension”. He told this to the gathering which included Guyana Cricket Board president Chetram Singh, Guyana Olympic Association president K. Juman-Yassin, Director of Sport Neil Kumar, president of the West Indies Rugby Football Union Kit Nascimento and Chief Executive Officer of the Local Organising Committee for Cricket World Cup Karan Singh.
Singh delivered the feature remarks in the absence of Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport Dr Frank Anthony.
Lloyd, by far the most successful West Indies captain, was remembered by Assistant Secretary General of CARICOM Dr Edward Greene, who masterfully noted that the ‘Super Cat’ was a natural leader of men, a trait that was first noticed in his early childhood days.
Greene further stressed that the adversity Lloyd suffered losing his father at a young age, as well as the difficulties he faced getting selected and maintaining a place in both the Guyana and West Indies teams, strengthened the character and created the resolve that would make him the greatest skipper the game has ever seen.
His match-saving innings in the inaugural 1975 World Cup typifies his remarkable career, as he provided the leadership necessary for the team to excel, he added.
In his equally eloquent presentation Professor Winston McGowan, lecturer, historian, die-hard cricket and Lance Gibbs fan, passionately described Gibbs by simply indicating that almost every position in the West Indies team can be argued except two. Garfield Sobers is the best West Indian all-rounder and Gibbs is the best spinner. Those two points are not subject to debate, he articulated.
The outstanding cricketers were also honoured by Harripersaud’s creation of the ‘Balata Balls’, which had the trio’s autographs implanted on the case of the souvenir item.
According to Harripersaud, the entire package which is made up of the cricket ball intricately created from ‘Balata’ and sitting inside a carefully designed transparent case is ‘one hundred percent Guyanese’.
These balls were handcrafted locally by the Macushi tribe in the Rupununi.
The balls were labelled ‘Super Cat’ for Lloyd, ‘Master Bat’ for Kanhai and ‘309’ for Test wickets taken by off-spinner Gibbs.
The first nostalgia ‘Balata Balls’ purchases were made by Laparkan Group, of the ‘309’ Lance Gibbs ball represented by Kirk Douglas; Sterling Products represented by Ramsey Ali, of the ‘Master Bat’ Rohan Kanhai ball; and Dr Greene bought the ‘Super Cat’ Clive Lloyd ball on behalf of CARICOM.
The balls are now available for sale. Interested persons can contact Institute of Private Enterprise Development (IPED) at 225-8949 or visit the website at www.ipedgy.com.