POSTED BY Boria Majumdar ON Apr 23, 2007 AT 18:03 IST ,  Edited At: Apr 23, 2007 18:03 IST
The good thing about traveling within the Caribbean is that in most flights you will get someone interesting to talk to. And the journey from Barbados to Jamaica was no different. Firstly, at the Grantley Adams Airport in Barbados the three guys to check in front of me were Dwayne Bravo, DS Smith and Pollard. While the last two might not find a place in the side to England, Bravo is being looked upon as the next major hope for the West Indies. Wearing an interesting watch that seemed to go off every time he passed the X Ray, he is certain it will be an Australia Sri Lanka final. When I pushed him about why he thinks so, he did not say much. “It will be Australia against Sri Lanka and anything can happen in that game. Australia will not have it easy against Sri Lanka like the way they did in the super eight match. With Vaas and Murali back, it will be a different encounter.” Bravo seems to be giving no chance to the South Africans and the New Zealanders, not a prudent thing to do perhaps for a cricketer.

Ian Bishop, doing commentary, was the next man I bumped into at the airport. With his daughter and wife, Bishop too was coming to Jamaica (I did not know it then) and thinks the semi-finals are wide open. Speaking to Criag Marais from the South African Broadcasting Corporation, he was forthright in saying South Africa does have a chance. And what was interesting was that Bishop boarded a different flight and just as I was checking into my room, 609 here at the Courtleigh in Jamaica, I see Bishop opening the door to room 602!! Both of us were a little surprised before he blurted out, “We met at the airport right?” Yes, I said and started laughing.

Gordon Brooks was my co passenger in the last leg of the flight from Montego Bay to Kingston. The best known West Indian cricket photographer that I know of, Brooks thinks the man standing between South Africa and victory is Ponting. “He is the most complete player these days. I love photographing some of his shots. If the South Africans can pick him early, they have a chance”, says Brooks. Interesting to note that the man Brookes loved most to photograph was the man who has once again raised a controversy back home, Sunil Gavaskar. “I grew up photographing him. He was the best international cricketer to have played against the West Indies of the 70s and 80s”, declares Brooks.

His colleague, Haydn Gill, cricket writer from the Nation newspaper in Barbados thinks New Zealand should not be ruled out. “Styris especially is the man to watch out for. He has been one of the players of the tournament and can do it again.” Does he think the world cup has been a success and Gill is guarded: “Yes and no”, he says. “Much has been made of the loss of India and Pakistan. Barbados has never seen many Indian and Pakistani fans you see. It is an excuse the organizers are latching on to. The Indians and Pakistanis have always come to Jamaica because of its proximity with the US.”

And as I reach my hotel, my friend Soutik, who had checked in earlier, comes running towards me. “Met Sir Viv at the airport. Got myself photographed with him as well. He thinks history will remember Lara as a better bat than Sachin. He says Sachin was better for a period but over all Lara is the better of the two.”

From the above one thing is certain. The world cup, at least for the final week, has come alive. Better late than never as we say.

POSTED BY Boria Majumdar ON Apr 23, 2007 AT 18:03 IST ,  Edited At: Apr 23, 2007 18:03 IST
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