CROCS AND CONSTRICTORS NO EASY WICKET FOR WINDIES
News Source: The Courier-Mail, Monday 17th January, 2005
By: Robert Craddock and Jason Gregory
The fame of Crocodile Hunter and satellite television star Steve Irwin stretches from the Glasshouse Mountains to the tiniest of the Caribbean islands.
So it was no surprise that when given a free day yesterday most of the West Indies cricket squad chose to rock up to Australia Zoo on the Sunshine Coast with their VIP passes.
The large uptake of satellite television in the island group has caused an exodus of youngsters from the nation’s traditional love of cricket by introducing them to the joys of basketball and other sports.
However, the satellite service also means that Irwin’s adventures are beamed into most lounge rooms and that is where the players were first introduced to the Australian native species on show yesterday at Irwin’s playground.
Pace bowler Reon King said it was the first time most of the team had been up close and personal with a crocodile. “We obviously do not get a chance to get close to the crocs and the snakes and it is my first time,” he said. “It is something that we all wanted to do when we came to Australia. It has been a great day out.”
The road from the team hotel in Brisbane to Australia Zoo is well-known to Windies coach Bennett King, who hails from Gympie and is in his first year of a three-year contract as West Indies coach.
King, the son of former Gympie high school principal, will move to Antigua next month with his wife and three children.
The team will front up at Brisbane’s Gabba cricket ground on Wednesday for a one-day fixture against fellow tourists Pakistan.
Two days later they face Australia in a day-night game also at the Gabba.