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#1 Oct 04, 2018 5:08 pm

New Historian

The Windies play the Soweto Oval, 1998

November 1998:

The West Indies' first tour to post-apartheid South Africa, scheduled for 1998/99, nearly didn't take place, because of a threatened strike by Windies players over wages. At the last minute, the money talks between the Windies players and the cricket establishment were satisfactorily concluded in London (there's no problem money can't solve), and most of the team flew to Jo-Burg on Monday night. Somehow batsman Jimmy Adams managed to cut his hand on the flight with a butter knife, severing THREE tendons. How the hell did he do that?  Then Courtney Walsh and Curtley Ambrose missed the flight. Great beginning.

The first match was a one-day match against an Invitational Eleven to be played today in, of all places, Soweto! It ain't as bad as everyone says. A huge, sprawling mass of black humanity, no Afrikaaners to be seen!  The "Soweto Oval" is an ambitiously-named piece of flat ground with a mini grandstand.  I strolled up to the gate, and as soon as the guard heard my West Indian accent, he took me straight to the players' enclosure!  Man, what a day that was!  There I was chatting with Conrad Hunte (remember him?), Junior Murray (my countryman) and other cricket legends. At lunch I sat between Clive Lloyd and Malcolm Marshall. What a thrill! I got everyone's autograph, except the three who didn't make it. 

As for the cricket?  Our guys were still pretty jet lagged from the flight and all the drama in London, but still made a go of it.  Lara made a quick-fire 65 and was brilliantly caught at mid. At 258 for 7 the heavens opened up and that was the end of that. Unfortunately, that meant that "Madiba" (Mandela) didn't come down like he was scheduled to. 

But hey, it was still a brilliant day! … 84426.html


#2 Oct 05, 2018 6:59 am


Re: The Windies play the Soweto Oval, 1998

Ah just wish Willow would show more Old West Indian clips.  Willow is all about Pakistan, India and that part of the world.


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