‘Don’t be afraid to fail’- Kallicharran tells young cricketers at book launch
On March 21, 2023, the day he turned 74, illustrious former Guyana and West Indies captain and batting maestro Alvin Isaac Kallicharran launched an illustrated children’s storybook celebrating his cricketing journey.
The 32-page, full-colour Caribbean Cricket Superhero Children’s Storybook dubbed Guyana’s Pocket Dynamo Little Giant was unveiled on Tuesday afternoon at a ceremony hosted by the Berbice Cricket Board at the St. Francis Community Developers in Rose Hall Town.
Speaking at the launch, Kallicharran, who made hundreds in his first two innings in Test cricket back in 1972, left a salient message with the young cricketers present.
READ: Alvin Kallicharran’s career in numbers
‘Don’t be afraid to fail’, the West Indies 50-over World Cup winner told the aspiring cricketers.
“It has been a long journey…difficult at times, but success at the end of it. Lots of success,” Kallicharran said as he summed up his career.
“If you want to succeed, you’re going to go through failures. Failure is not a bad thing.”
Authored by Tony McWatt, the son of the late former Guyana and West Indies wicketkeeper batsman Clifford McWatt, the storybook chronicles Kallicharran’s cricket career journey, from the humblest of beginnings to one of its finest-ever performance, his 1975 inaugural ICC World Cup thrashing of Australia’s legendary fast bowler Dennis Lillee at the Oval in England.
It is the hope of the author that young aspiring cricketers are inspired by Kallicharran’s story, one that was replete with struggles and challenges.
Reflecting on his formative years in the sport, Kallicharran said he had an infatuation with the game, spending long hours playing in the streets of Port Mourant.
He also dabbled in table tennis during those years.
The diminutive left-hander told the gathering that meals in those days came from the fruit trees in the neighbourhood.
They included mango, jamoon and gooseberry, washed down with water from the tap.
“That was our lunch, dinner (and) tea, because there was no point in going home, there was no food left,” he reminisced with a chuckle.
Several Under-19 cricketers attended the function and they all received signed copies of the book from the legendary cricketer.
Kallicharran played 66 Test matches, scoring 4,399 runs at an average of 44.43 with the highest of his 12 centuries being 187 against India at the Wankhede. Notably, he was dismissed in the 90s eight times.
In 31 ODIs, the Berbician made six fifties, averaging 34.41.
He also appeared on over 880 First-Class and List A matches combined, scoring over 43,000 runs with 102 centuries.
Alvin Kallicharran (ESPNcricinfo bio)
Proof positive that small can be beautiful in Test cricket. He had poise, balance, orthodoxy, a full range of strokes off either foot, and a bat that because of its size relative to him, appeared far too large to a generation of hapless bowlers.
He was at his happiest away from the softer seaming pitches in England however, despite his successful seasons with Warwickshire.
What many regard as his finest innings, 158 against England in Port of Spain in 1973-4, was shrouded in controversy.
Having made 142, he watched Bernard Julien play the last ball of the first day to Tony Greig at silly point before walking down the pitch towards the pavilion never having returned to his crease from backing up.
Greig threw down the bowlers’ stumps and Kallicharran was given out by Douglas Sang Hue only to be reinstated next morning after the mood of the tour had been soured.
His attempt to join Packer foundered when it was discovered he had contravened a contract with a Queensland radio station, but instead took on the captaincy of West Indies in 1977-8 when Clive Lloyd resigned over the Packer issue.