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Siddhartha Vaidyanathan
I don't normally do threads here. But I have to tell you a story about . I have met Daren Sammy precisely twice. The first time was on June 13, 2006. It was the fourth day of the West Indies v India Test in St Lucia. It rained the whole day. No play was possible. 1/
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Siddhartha Vaidyanathan Aug 10
Replying to @darensammy88
A rained-out day is no good for those covering the game. You have to find something – anything – to write about. Interviews, color pieces, crowd interviews… anything to add value. To justify your presence. 2/
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Siddhartha Vaidyanathan Aug 10
Replying to @darensammy88
One of the Caribbean journalists were kind enough to point out that Franklyn Stephenson was in the stands. So I went and interviewed him. Someone else suggested I write about the ground – the Beausejour Stadium. So I started stringing together whatever words came to me. 3/
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Siddhartha Vaidyanathan Aug 10
Replying to @darensammy88
Around tea-time, I was taking a walk around the ground when I saw a few kids surrounding someone. Curious, I stood around. The kids soon dispersed but I had absolutely no clue who they had been surrounding. 4/
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Siddhartha Vaidyanathan Aug 10
Replying to @darensammy88
So I did the stupidest thing I could have done – I walked up to this man and introduced myself and ASKED HIM if he was anyone famous. I could have asked the kids. I could have asked anyone. I was dumb enough to ask him. 5/
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Siddhartha Vaidyanathan Aug 10
Replying to @darensammy88
He told me his name. And said he was a cricketer from the island and said he had played a bit for West Indies. That’s when a bulb went off. I had watched the Champions Trophy in 2004 and vaguely remembered that a cricketer from St Lucia had made his debut for West Indies.6/
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Siddhartha Vaidyanathan Aug 10
Replying to @darensammy88
I blurted out whatever memory I had of that tournament, trying to make up for not even recognizing an international cricketer. (He had been selected for two games in that tournament. The first was rained out. In the second he had got one wicket and hadn’t got a chance to bat.) 7/
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Siddhartha Vaidyanathan Aug 10
Replying to @darensammy88
By then he had got a chatty. And he began to tell me more about himself. He was honest about his family’s struggles and told me how proud everyone on the island was when he was finally picked. He spoke about the great reception he got when he came back from that tournament. 8/
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Siddhartha Vaidyanathan Aug 10
Replying to @darensammy88
And said that with his earnings, he was able to afford a mini-bus – which he gifted to his dad, so that he could drive it and make a living. 9/
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Siddhartha Vaidyanathan Aug 10
Replying to @darensammy88
Later that day, I wrote three-paragraphs on Daren Sammy for the Tour Diary section of the cricinfo website. I didn’t think this was sufficient material for a full-fledged piece. Yet, I felt it was worth writing a bit about. 10/
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Siddhartha Vaidyanathan Aug 10
Replying to @darensammy88
When I returned from West Indies, 3 people spoke to me about that piece. A three-paragraph tour diary had struck a chord for them. I didn’t think too deeply about it then. But I told them he was a gem of a guy. 11/
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Siddhartha Vaidyanathan Aug 10
Replying to @darensammy88
Now… The second time I met Daren Sammy is today, August 10, 2019. In a lobby of a hotel in Toronto. He had just finished a game – which his team lost – and was thinking about his travel plans for tomorrow. 12/
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Siddhartha Vaidyanathan Aug 10
Replying to @darensammy88
I walked up to him and introduced myself. I told him about our previous meeting. And was about to set the whole context… when he said, “It was YOU? YOU wrote that piece!” 13/
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Siddhartha Vaidyanathan Aug 10
Replying to @darensammy88
I said, yes. “That was the first piece anyone wrote about me, man. I remember it so well. That was when I was hoping to get selected for the World Cup. Wow. It’s been a long time, man.” 14/
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Siddhartha Vaidyanathan Aug 10
Replying to @darensammy88
I couldn’t bring myself to believe he remembered that. A two-time World T20 winning captain actually remembered a three-paragraph piece from 13 years ago? Are you kidding me? “I showed that piece to people, man. I felt happy reading it.” 15/
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Siddhartha Vaidyanathan Aug 10
Replying to @darensammy88
I didn’t say anything. I couldn’t. I had no idea how to tell him that this was the most unexpected thing that had happened to me with any cricketer. I have been writing about cricket from 2003 but never have I felt this level of astonishment around them. Never. 16/
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Siddhartha Vaidyanathan Aug 10
Replying to @darensammy88
Daren Sammy left to take the elevator. I stood there, for 30 seconds, unable to move. And that is the end of my story. 17/17
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Siddhartha Vaidyanathan Aug 10
Replying to @darensammy88
The three-paragraph piece is here - I wrote those words. And also took that terrible photo.
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Kanishkaa Balachandran Aug 10
Replying to @sidvee
The mini bus! How could I forget ? :)
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Siddhartha Vaidyanathan Aug 10
Replying to @kanishkaab
of the three people I referred to - two were you and veera :)
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