The West Indies cricket team members were all in a jovial mood despite their current position at the 2015 Cricket World Cup, when they took to the streets for a welcome party organised by authorities in Western Australia and the Perth Caribbean Society.
Smiles finally came out, after the drubbing they received at the hands of South Africa in Sydney. The biggest one came from Chris Gayle, as he took to the stage to sing and entertain the diaspora who had turned up to give the team a Caribbean welcome.
Several hundred well-wishers turned out at the Perth Cultural Centre. While the players were decked off in their travelling blue kit, the crowd preferred maroon.
West Indies captain, Jason Holder presented a specially signed West Indies team shirt to Dr Kim Hames. Tahj Reid, a 12-year-old Jamaican, sang Rally Round The West Indies. After the formal programme the players signed autographs and took photos with their adoring fans.
“We didn’t really expect so many people but after we went on stage to be introduced and say hello to the fans, we were truly touched,” said allrounder Darren Sammy, the West Indies T20 captain.
“We have a great track record in Perth and we feel ‘at home’ here. This is great! This is really inspiring to see how much the people love West Indies cricket.”
West Indies, two-time World Cup champions, have won two matches and lost two in Pool B of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015. They are in Perth to face India at the WACA Ground on Friday. First ball in the day/night match is 2.30 am Eastern Caribbean Time).
Meanwhile, the West Indies team had the day off yesterday and will turn up at the WACA today to conduct their first training session in the city. A lot of attention will surround fast bowler Kemar Roach, who is expected to be the West Indies’ trump card at the fast and bouncy WACA against Indian batsmen, who have shown vulnerability against the quick bowlers.
Roach was dropped after a less than impressive performance against Ireland in the opening match of the tournament at Nelson. Since then, he has been working very hard with bowling coach Curtly Ambrose and is expected to take the new ball against the Indians.