Done Sew Shivnarain!
By Sam Sooppersaud
August 15th, 2008
On Friday, August 15, 2008, the cricket fraternity in the New York
metropolitan area will honor former West Indies Test cricketer Sew
Shivnarain, affectionately called Shiv by many of his friends and
supporters, with a lavish banquet at the luxurious Chateau Royal,
Richmond Hill, Queens, NY. How fitting for a gentleman who has given
so much to cricket, both on and off the field, in Guyana and now in
the United States of America.
by Shiek Mohamed)
have had the good fortune of crossing paths with Shiv, from time to
time, for over four decades. From when he was just a kid in Guyana
to the present time in New York, where he is deeply involved in developing
cricket in the metropolitan area.
Personally, whenever I need to take a Motrin to quell my backache,
I would remember Shiv. Whenever I take a Tylenol or Feldene to relieve
this pain, I would remember Shiv. Want to know why? Then read on!
I will attempt to give
a timeline chronology of my crossing pathways with Shiv. Let's turn
the clock back to the mid-sixties - around the years 1964-1965. I
cannot recall the exact year. I was playing cricket for Berbice Police
in the “A” Division Davson Competition as an opening batsman/wicketkeeper.
During that time, I was stationed at Albion Police Station. I had
played against Albion Sports Complex many times and therefore was
on friendly terms with several of their players: Skipper Misir, Herbert
Appado, Rahamat, Kumar Sedarsan, Reds Singh, to name a few, and was
always welcomed at their practice sessions.
Almost at every session several young boys would join us. They helped
to run down balls, and at the end of the 'big boys' practice session,
if light permits, the kids would get to bowl or to bat, depending
on what they did best, at the time. I can recall a short, skinny kid
who did both - bowl and bat. He bowled slow left-arm and batted right-hand.
He did both well. He showed that he had the potential to master both
should he continue to practice. He showed a dedication to practice
that was rare in young kids his age. Many times some of his friends
would leave and go home if their turn at bat or bowling was not forthcoming.
But this one kid would remain and continue to chase cricket balls,
while waiting his turn to bowl or bat. I must admit that even at that
tender age he troubled many of us with his spin bowling. He got tremendous
movement and variation with the ball. Yes folks, that lad I am talking
about was the young Sew “Shiv” Shivnarain.
I immigrated to the United States in 1989 and lost touch with the
cricket scene in Guyana, and particularly in Berbice. However, in
1978, through a friend I learnt that a Sew Shivnarain had been selected
to play for the West Indies. I think it was against the visiting Australians.
Immediately my mind went back to that kid at Albion who had showed
so much promise. On learning that it was indeed him, I felt a sense
of great joy. I felt a certain fulfillment, as if I had helped to
mold a test player. In fact, a couple of years earlier I had worked
with Milton Pydanna on his wicket-keeping skills while he was still
a school boy. He later went on to play a few games for the West Indies.
Let us look to 1982. I was the Secretary of the Brooklyn Cricket League.
Bhola Ramsundar was on the executive body at that time. Brooklyn Cricket
League was noted for playing "hard cricket". One of the
teams in the BCL was Vikings Cricket Club captained by Julip Singh
and with players like Burlin Saheed Dr. Jagnandan, Solomon, Chik,
Royston Arjune, to name a few. It was May and the new cricket season
was about to start. As usual the BCL kicked off its season with the
President's Game. The previous year's champion playing a team comprising
of players selected from the rest of the clubs in the League. Vikings
were the champions for the 1981 season.
I was selected for the President's XI. In fact I was appointed captain.
Bhola (quite a character at that time) had forewarned that the West
Indies Test player Shivnarain will be flying into the country the
Friday before the big game, and that he will be playing for Vikings.
We were also warned that Shiv would run through our batting lineup.
There was great excitement and expectation prior to the game, as we
were all anxious to meet and see the newest of the West Indies stars
Came the day of the President's game. I won the toss and decided to
take first knock. I opened the batting - the other opener, I think,
was Thomo Thomas of Melbourne C.C. Burlin Saheed took the new ball.
At the other end the ball was thrown to Shiv. I think Bhola wanted
to accomplish his promised deed right away. Shiv was able to get lots
of movement. I think he got about three wickets. My last scoring shot
was a hook off Burlin which raced to the boundary for four. That took
my score to 52 runs. I then retired. (Shiv would be the first to tell
you that Sam had a very good hook shot in his playing days). I remember
Shiv clapping as I walked off the field. He is that kind of a gentleman
and sportsman. As I walked off, the thought came to my mind that I
have just scored a half century off a West Indies Test bowler. Yes,
this is one of the ways in which my path crossed that of Shiv's -
I was the first batsman in the USA to have scored a half-century off
At the beginning of this article I mentioned about my backache and
having to take Motrin and Tylenol and Feldene. What does this have
to do with Shiv! Read on! It was 1984 and Cavaliers Cricket Club and
Vikings Cricket Club were playing the Semi-final of the BCL Thirty-overs
Knockout Competition. I cannot recall the various details of the game.
But I do recall that there was a slight drizzle and the grass was
wet. Shiv was batting. Baldat Ramdeen was the bowler. I was fielding
at deep backward square leg. Shiv was a master at flicking/hooking
the short-pitched ball in this general area. True to plan Shiv skied
the ball towards me; in fact it appeared that it was going over my
head. However, I leapt and fortunately, or unfortunately, caught the
ball. Upon landing, my feet slid forward and I hit the ground on my
back. I immediately felt a jolt in my spine. I was out of cricket
for the next five years with a back injury. After years of therapy
and exercise I was able to go back on the cricket field as a player.
I am still playing league cricket, but not without aches in my back
and pains all over the rest of my body.
I have watched Shiv played numerous times after this, have seen him
captain the USA side and have played several games against him. He
has remained, after all these years, a fierce competitor, but always
a consummate sportsman and gentleman. My regret is that I would not
be there in person to salute such a fine figure in the game, due to
a previous commitment I had made. But my thoughts will be there at
the Chateau Royale. Of course my endorsement will be on all the accolades
that will be heaped upon Shiv, because I know that are all richly
Shiv you are truly a gentleman, a true sportsman and a model for upcoming
and aspiring cricketers to emulate. Congratulations, my friend!