By Neto Baptiste
Former West Indies fast bowler and one of four knighted cricketers here, Sir Andy Roberts, said that having made history as the first Antiguan to represent the West Indies is not an achievement he has ever paid much attention to.
Speaking on the Good Morning Jojo Sports Show, Sir Andy who made his debut on March 6, 1974 against England in Barbados, said he was too focused on doing well with the ball and never really got caught up in the historic meaning the day would have in the distant future.
“You know, I never paid any attention to that, all I wanted to do was just play and I was eager to play. As a matter of fact, after I came back from the Test match — because from Barbados we went to Guyana — and Keith Boyce, who was injured when I made my debut, they said he was fit again and Rohan Kanhai came to me in Guyana and said ‘look, you are not going to Trinidad’. I left Guyana, came to Antigua and spent a day or two and then went straight to England. So, while I was playing for Hampshire, West Indies was being beaten in Trinidad so it was never easy sailing for anybody from these islands,” he said.
Sir Andy, who was feared for his speed and aggression with the ball, claimed 202 wickets in 47 Tests but said he was extremely nervous after he was given the new ball on debut.
“Well, I was nervous to begin with, but once I delivered the first ball all the nerves went and I realized I was just as good as these guys I was playing with. To be given the new ball in your first ever Test match in the Caribbean, I felt it was an honour then because I bowled the first ball and consequently from there on, maybe 44 or 45 of my Test matches, I bowled the first ball,” he said.
The fast bowler also bagged 87 wickets in 56 One Day International (ODI) matches during his nine-year career.
In October 2005, Sir Andy was inducted into the United States Cricket Hall of Fame, becoming the second Antiguan to be recognised. He was also inducted into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame in 2009.