Andy Roberts: The fisherman who turned assassin

Andy Roberts, the silent assassin, was born into the family of an Antiguan fisherman on January 29, 1951. He was one of 14 children.

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Growing up he helped his father haul back the day's catch, and worked as a salesman for the beverage company 'Fruity'.

He never played cricket till he was 16. He received just six weeks of coaching in his life, when he and another Leeward Islander, Viv Richards, wwent over to Alf Gover's indoor cricket school at Wandsworth. But he taught several things to himself. For example, turning the ball in his palm while on his way to bowl, thus disguising the swing.

The slouching gait, the expressionless eyes, the inscrutable menace as he walked back to his mark, before turning and starting his run, accelerating with each subsequent step, transforming into the deadpan and deadly weapon of detached destruction. He was the first of the lethal battery of pace bowlers unleashed by West Indies in the 1970s and 1980s.

Text : Arunabha Sengupta

Illustration: Maha