“Blue skies and gentle breeze… the Indians are about to play the West Indies,” so goes the refrain of the popular 1972 cricket-themed “Gavaskar Calypso” by Lord Relator. This weekend at the Queen’s Park Oval (July 22nd, 24th, 27th), and the Brian Lara Stadium (July 29th), the legendary game of cricket will take place for the thousands of fans eagerly awaiting the entertainment.
In 1971, it was at the very same Queen's Park Oval that the renowned Indian batting star Sunil Gavaskar’s series-winning scores of 65, 67 not out, 124 and 220 prompted Lord Relator (Willard Harris) to compose and sing his immortal calypso classic.
This is just one of the tidbits any cricket fan or historian can discover in the Queen's Park Cricket Club Book Collection at the National Archives of Trinidad and Tobago. This collection of over 300 books was handed over on 18 December 2020, with titles covering not just the history of West Indian cricket, but international cricket.
Among the collection are classics like “Beyond a Boundary” by CLR James and the Wisden almanacks, which are annually published cricket reference books from the UK that have been referred to as the "Yellow Bible of Cricket" since 1864.
Also available are books covering specific topics, such as T&T Cricket Board's Annuals, The Cricketer magazines, cricket photography and biographies about our West Indian legends, for example the book, “Idols” by Sunil Gavaskar. In this book, he profiled 31 of the best cricket players that he encountered during his playing days, and among them are five West Indians: Garfield Sobers, Viv Richards, Rohan Kanhai (after whom he named his son), Clive Lloyd and Andy Roberts.
Calypso and cricket go hand in hand with West Indian culture, and can be considered two of the strongest ties that bind us together as a region. Our cricketers were dubbed, “CALYPSO CRICKETERS”, reflective of our rhythmic exuberance and flashy brand of play. To the world, the region's national anthem is David Rudder's “Rally Round the West Indies” which is played before the start of international games. Also among the vast collection of books is a hardcover compilation of cricket-themed calypsoes entitled, “History of West Indies Cricket through Calypsoes, 1926-2016” by local author and historian Nasser Khan. In it, you can find the immortal “Gavaskar” calypso, featured on pages 28 and 58.
The National Archives would like to thank Nasser Khan for his assistance with this collection.