The pleasure of reading Windies domestic scorecards

 Neil Manthorp Р06/03/2001

For as long as I can remember I have enjoyed reading West Indian domestic scorecards for the sheer pleasure of the names. I always wondered where they came from, and why.

The first West Indian cricketer I came to know well was Gladstone Small who shrugged his shoulders (making his already small neck disappear completely) and told me that his parents enjoyed the name Gladstone so, why not call their son that?

There was a very amusing joke doing the rounds a couple of years ago that suggested the United Nations were planning an emergency airlift of vowels to the Balkans where many of the population were in such desperate need of them that they were wandering the streets with such surnames as Krvtc and Blcrvc. The cities were much better off either, apparently, with Krbc being a prime example of a city in need.

In the Caribbean the shortage is of surnames, and the Busta XI represent a team in crisis. Sylvester Joseph, Mervyn Dillon, Sulieman Benn, Ricky Christopher, Kerry Jeremy and even Sherwin Campbell, to stretch a point, all need help.

The Caribbean is full of the most colourful names in the world. How about Tonito Willett? When asked for the history of the name I was told “history is what you make it, but it’s happening, eh?”

It’s just one more phrase to add to the 793 I have so far collected that I don’t understand. It would be more but I’m still struggling with the dialect so I haven’t been able to understand whether I could understand them or not.

Guyana is a magnificent place. Not touristy at all, and certainly not clean and tidy, it is, nonetheless, VERY much itself. There is no messing with Guyana’s identity because everyone here has one, even the lowest nobody scraping a living from the rubbish washed up on the beach.

More of that later…

Finally, back to the names. The 12th man for the Busta XI was none other than Dave Mohammed. Yes, that’s “Dave” followed by “Mohammed”. Try as we might, we couldn’t figure that one out. Team manager Goolam Rajah couldn’t help either, repeating the name three times to himself before wandering off in a chuckling daze. Imagine the South Africa equivalent. Frikkie Tshabalala? Mdingi van der Merwe? Charles Naidoo?

Dave Mohammed. You’ve got to love that…

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