“I don’t watch Windies cricket anymore” – West Indies Legend Gordon Greenidge on unceasing decline of cricket in the Caribbean

Now 71, the former opening batter Gordon Greenidge played the last of his 108 Tests and 128 ODIs for that legendary West Indies team more than three decades ago, but his star pull is still intact.

Apart from West Indies cricket’s golden period in the 1970s and 80s, Gordon Greenidge still watches “only Tests” as he hasn’t yet warmed up to the slam-bang nature of the T20 version.

On a whirlwind trip of the national capital, the 71-year-old arrived at the Feroz Shah Kotla from Delhi’s Terminal 3 on Delhi Metro. The bat manufacturing company that invited Greenidge for a promotional event, factored in the heavy traffic owing to a political event.

Asked whether the unceasing decline of cricket in the West Indies hurt him, Greenidge used it as an opportunity to reiterate the primacy of Tests.

“It used to hurt me but doesn’t anymore. Because I don’t watch (a lot of) cricket anymore. I only go to watch Tests, or if there’s a young player being spoken about, I will try my best to go and watch that player and make my judgment. I love Tests and have always done so. It is no criticism (of T20s). It is just my view.”

The cricket world is polarised on a bowler running out a non-striker for backing up too far. ‘Mankading’, the term coined by the Australians back in 1948 after Indian legend Vinoo Mankad ran out batter Bill Brown, remains a sensitive issue.

While he doesn’t like the mode of dismissal, as it doesn’t involve skill, Greenidge wants a nuanced view to be taken by all stakeholders of the game.

“I suppose it is not a pleasant way for a batter to lose his wicket (in this manner). Some will say it is not in spirit of game but then I will say if a batter is stealing two or three meters, that is also stealing, so what do you do?” “It is said that you can inform the umpire when this is happening and should it continue, then I guess you have to actually break the stumps and get the batter out. But that doesn’t often happen. Cricket, I think most of the times, is played as per the laws of the game. Sometimes it is broken,” the West Indies legend said.

Greendige also feels for the bowlers as they get penalized for overstepping.

“It is not right for batters to steal two or three metres and then bowlers marginally overstepping and getting a free hit. I know people want to see sixes and fours but also if you are a real cricket lover, you want to see competition between bat and ball and not just one-sided games.

“So, I expect some changes or amendments in the law in near future to curb things like that,” he concluded.

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