Photo feature

Savour the flavah

Feel the love for the West Indies in our look at the things that give cricket in the Caribbean its own special charm

Nishi Narayanan  |  

Doug Benc / © Getty Images

While tours to the West Indies aren't as watchable as they used to be, they are still a visual delight. Lord's, MCG, Eden Gardens have nothing on this view from St George's, Grenada, because island > cauldron, right?

Ross Setford / © PA Photos/Getty Images

If it's not a beach, then you better be posing under a Bob Marley statue for your "when in the West Indies" photo, as England's John Crawley* and Mark Butcher do here, hanging out beneath a bronze by sculptor Alvin Marriott in Celebrity Park, Kingston, 1998.

Rebecca Naden / © PA Photos

How do we know these people in Guyana are watching cricket? Firstly, the guy the on extreme right is napping. Only cricket can have this sort of soporific effect on you while you're resting on such an uncomfortable perch. And then there's the boom box to his upper right - which indicates that the spectacle they are watching isn't so embarrassingly simple *cough football cough* that it doesn't need commentary.

Matthew Ashton / © PA Photos/Getty Images

It isn't in many places that a local politician looks cooler than two Test captains, one of them being Brian Lara. Former Jamaica prime minister James Patterson greets Lara and Mike Atherton at Jamaica House in 1998.

Matthew Ashton / © PA Photos/Getty Images

And where the ground staff can also out-cool the players. Sabina Park, 1998.

Rebecca Naden / © PA Photos/Getty Images

Just cycling past an international cricket captain - nothing out of the ordinary here, no need to get excited. Georgetown, 1998.

Ross Setford / © PA Photos/Getty Images

"Carlara" has to be the most beautiful portmanteau word ever. "He carlara-ed the ball down the boundary"; "the swinging ball carlara-ed on to the pitch"; "his innings was Bradmanesque, but it was no Carlara". St Vincent, 1998.

© Getty Images

Watching Lara bat can be a mind-altering experience, as is clear from a look at the spectators who thronged the pitch to celebrate the man's double century at the Queen's Park Oval in 1999.

© Getty Images

Fans in the West Indies are known to be witty, and partisan without being jingoistic, but they clearly also have quality taste in fashion, as you can see from the light blue T-shirt with Andy Roberts bowling on it worn by the man on the right.

Ben Radford / © Getty Images

In Kingston, Matthew Hoggard chills in a slip-catching cradle**.

Adrian Murrell / © Getty Images

The sort of sight most touring teams to the West Indies in the '80s and early '90s will recall with a shudder. In this case, in Port-of-Spain in 1990, Graham Gooch was the unfortunate victim, but the bowler wasn't Curtly Ambrose, walking towards the camera looking quite like he has caused a batsman severe pain. It was debutant fast bowler Ezra Moseley (not in the picture), who struck Gooch twice on his left hand, breaking it the second time. Gooch had batted for nearly six and a half hours in the first innings for 84, and now was forced to retire hurt in the second innings with England needing 114 more to win on the final day. They drew this Test but lost the series 2-1.

Michael Steele / © Getty Images

Shooting the captain in a stuffy long room in a designer suit or in shorts and flip-flops on a beach? Jason Holder opts for the latter in Grenada.

Alessandro Abbonizio / © AFP/Getty Images

Where there's a beach, there's beach cricket, Maracas Bay, Trinidad, 2007.

Ross Setford / © PA Photos/Getty Images

'Cos vuvuzelas are lame.

Adrian Murrell / © Getty Images

Something freaky to end with: a spectator gets chased by a security staffer after trying to scare the England players with voodoo during an ODI in Kingstown, St Vincent, 1981. England lost by two runs.

The Cricket Monthly is changing. After 35 issues, beginning August 2014, it is going to become a more regular part of your life. Instead of a fully formed issue appearing at the start of every month, one feature will be published every day or so. In its more dynamic form, TCM will be more topical and urgent, while staying true to its founding ambition of scale and depth, and combining quality of writing with rigour of reportage and the spirit of narrative storytelling. It's going from monthly to month-long.

*03:06:57 GMT, July 14, 2017: Changed from Chris Silverwood to John Crawley.

**03:06:57 GMT, July 14, 2017: Changed from "bench".

Nishi Narayanan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo