SO THERE I was, just turned 25, in a spa bath just beyond the boundary of the Antigua Recreation Ground, watching Brian Lara score a run-a-ball century against Steve Waugh's Aussies.
One of the few things that could have improved the situation was Australia winning the Test, which they did, drawing the series - Waugh's first as captain - or being able to buy a bottle of rum in the pool.
As it was, I had to return to the grandstand to buy the bottle of rum from the vendor roaming around the ground.
What's the point, you may ask?
What is ever the point? would be my reply, when it comes to sport.
There is no point, other than providing a fleeting moment of transcendence to a higher place.
A place sport and a select few other endeavours can take you.
I highly recommend it if you are in the West Indies.
Cricket is not quite the same for spectators in Australia, despite the best efforts of those at the SCG who have tried to recreate the Caribbean with 70 tonnes of sand and a wading pool.
I was thinking about those days as I heard Darren Berry had been summoned to appear before Cricket Australia, charged with breaking rule six. I couldn't work out why and was scared to ask what rules one to five were.
This was a coach having a discussion with an opposition player, as far as I could see.
Berry didn't shout or fly into a rage. He even smiled once during the brief discussion with Samuels.
But apparently he has been charged with "unbecoming behaviour regarding his comments and behaviour towards Renegades player Marlon Samuels before the match at Etihad Stadium".
Rule six states that "players and officials must not at any time engage in behaviour unbecoming to a representative player or official that could (a) bring them or the game of cricket into disrepute or (b) be harmful to the interests of cricket".
How the interests of cricket were harmed I can't fathom.
Perhaps if there was a rule that coaches weren't to speak to opposition players he may have been guilty of breaking it, even if such a rule might seem over the top. But then that seems to be Cricket Australia's go these days.
Mid-strength beer out of a plastic cup doesn't quite compare to full bottles of full-strength Caribbean rum somehow, just as sand in a grandstand can't quite match a spa bath on the Antiguan boundary.
I wonder if Samuels contravened any CA rules when he flirted with Fox Sports reporter Sarah Jones following an earlier game?
Asked by Jones how he would spend his time in Australia, Samuels replied: "Unfortunately you are married so I won't be spending time with you".
Jones blushed, Samuels continued on his merry way and the world kept turning, irrevocably towards the next Twenty20 match.
Perhaps if Berry were West Indian, or in the West Indies he'd have got away with it.
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