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Great collections but not so great vibe

The museum opened in 2010 and has a house in Herbert House in Fontabelle.
Last Updated : 20 June 2024, 16:42 IST

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Barbados: Great collections but not so great vibe

It just sat there, polished to a fault, and right by a brass plaque with cursive lettering to state its significance to cricket. This was one of the balls which Sir Garfield Sobers hit for six sixes on August 31, 1968. 

Given Sobers’ long lever and Malcolm Nash’s clean but basic left-arm orthodox, the ball almost inevitably left the ground. There were a few of those in that over, but this - kept inside a glass box alongside pictures and articles of the feat - was the one which was struck clean out of St Helen’s and onto the streets of Swansea. This was the final six for the then-world record. 

The ball sat in a well-equipped museum, but it hasn’t been drawing much attention. Turns out the Cricket Legends of Barbados museum hasn’t been getting too many eyeballs of late. 

Well, it could be something to do with the exorbitant price one needs to pay to enter, and the fact that there isn’t anyone to give you a tour. 

You walk about, catch a bit of history if you’re inclined to read finely printed material, and watch some rather interesting paraphernalia from years gone by, and yet you’re left unsated, which is quite the travesty given how much good stuff they have collected over the years. 

The museum opened in 2010 and has a house in Herbert House in Fontabelle.

There are random cut-outs of players such as Sir Garfield Sobers, Wes Hall, Charlie Griffith and the lot placed about without any real intent. 

There is a portrait room with walls flanked by photos of various cricketing giants from through the years. Each picture comes complete with a short biography, in small font no less, and the main cricket stats associated with the picture's subject. Some of the photos included in this room are of the giants Sir Everton Weekes, Joel Garner, Sir Conrad Hunte, Desmond Haynes and an unexpectedly decent collection on Ezra Moseley. 

A "Heritage" room as the name suggests has as its focus, displays of historical significance dedicated to the early masters of the game. Memorabilia in this room dates back to as early as 1895.

Cricket's most noteworthy opening pair, Gordon Greenidge and Desmond Haynes, both from Barbados, has donated a collection of items to the Cricket Legends Museum. The Museum, however, would be considered incomplete without a section dedicated to Sobers. And there is an overkill of that. There was stuff from Joel Garner too. 

There’s even a press gallery dedicated to journalists of yore, there’s a coffee machine, there are some books and postcards on display, but the space itself doesn’t allow for emotion. It's rather sterile for a space meant to incite. 

These were men, legends, who didn’t take being great too seriously. They went about it all as if another day job, typically, to pay off family debts. These were men, legends, who made it a point to convey their angst towards being colonised. These were men, legends, who had done more for Barbados and West Indies at large than anyone else thought possible.

And yet, inside the walls of a repurposed bungalow, all you can get a sense of is the passing of time. Nothing more, nothing less. Nothing could be more dismissive of their genius. It’’s nice, but boy, they don’t get what these men meant to the coalition of a nation, a nation of still-conflicting cultures. 

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Published 20 June 2024, 16:42 IST

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