They say you can understand a lot about a man by the company he keeps. Ever heard that one? You may have.
But well, what if you were told, you can also understand a lot about a man by the photograph he chooses to represent himself?
That might be a first.
Toward the conclusion of my interaction with the ever pleasant and graceful Vinode Mamchan, when I asked him for a picture that I could use for this story, he said he would send it to me.
Upon receiving it, I was pleasantly surprised.
It wasn’t a suited-booted, dark shades-driven proper gentleman-like image, the kinds you’d expect most modern commentators.
Instead, Mr Vinode Mamachan sent me a family picture, him posing for a smile with his beautiful wife and young son. I saw a happy family.
This told me a lot about the man; a person who liked to be represented by a unit, an individual who likes to put a collective in the front, instead of wanting to hog on the limelight or stuff like that.
I could sense something apt, something meaningful here.
Don’t commentators anyways put the lives of others ahead of them, seeking comfort in the background whilst directing uniquely-spun analogies, meaningful anecdotes, number-crunching and whatnot from behind the mic?
It made perfect sense to find a caring and devoted family man pictured along with those who mean the most to him, a man who seeks a pleasure in giving life to words; intricate meanings, crafted to describe the talent of one of Cricket’s long-standing bastions of excellence that is now trying to rediscover itself at an international stage.
Vinode Mamchan is a voice of reason and passion, and one that is respected by many in the Caribbean and beyond. He has been a witness to a kingdom of excellence- should we put it like that- having seen the heydays of West Indies to now seeing an interesting collective that’s trying to once again reach the glass ceiling before it can break it.
The journey must have been intricate and arresting and I thought, it deserves to be touched upon.
In an attempt to unearth a Caribbean gem, I was fortunate to uncover the life of a simple and uncomplicated man, who is revered for his passion for the game and for playing a part in upholding the dignity of cricket in the West Indies.
Presenting an interaction with Mr Vinode Mamchan:
How often do you write and what is it about cricket you like to or might like to write on?
Cricket is part of my daily diet as I write daily for the most respected newspaper in the Caribbean the Trinidad Guardian.
What were your biggest motivations to become a sports presenter and get into cricket?
Growing up in the Caribbean and looking at the great West Indies teams of the past was an experience like no other.
When you grow up in a land that’s produced some greats of the game, you know automatically where to look at; rather who to look at or up to.
It was special, it was rare, and a remarkable feeling like no other.
As a young man, I was inspired to speak on a game that gave me so much joy then, just as it does now.
Have you been born and brought up in the Caribbean?
Yes in San Fernando, South Trinidad.
Could you put your finger down to any moment or experiences that convinced you to become such a fine commentator that you are?
As a young boy growing up I admired the work of Englishman Henry Blofield. Then Andrew Mason the senior West Indian commentator had an impact on me, and the rest is history.
Were you inspired by anyone in particular and if yes, who and why?
Henry Blofield he brought excitement to the commentary. He was one of the earlier doyens of the sports’ commentary. In addition, I would also include my friend Michael Holding for his frankness.
How’s life been behind the mic?
Life has been good. The support I get from my wife Nadine and my two boys Liam and Aidan is responsible for my success today. The blessings of my mother Phulo are always there as well. My wife has taken care of everything in my absence making her nothing short of a superwoman. We are one happy family that loves travelling and interacting with different cultures.
What do you think of the Women’s team and how is the Caribbean embracing new developments toward the Women’s game?
The West Indies Women are the ones flying our flag high at the moment. Cricket West Indies must be congratulated for the work they have done in professionalizing the women’s cricket set up in the Caribbean.
We are also witnessing a time that is booming for women’s cricket and there could be nothing more heartening than that.
I foresee bright things ahead (for fans and admirers) for both men’s and women’s game given the raw talent and versatility that is on offer.
What do you make of the current team and where do you see this team going in the immediate future?
West Indies cricket is under reconstruction at the moment. We must have patience in the process. When you have a brilliant idea or proposal that has the potential to grow big, you’ve got to be patient in the process of finding investors- isn’t it?
It’s that kind of situation at the moment.
First, we must understand that it will take hard work to be competitive and then we can look towards beating the top teams on a regular basis.
Where do you see our chances (Windies) in the 2019 World Cup?
I think the Windies have what it takes to go all the way once all the senior players are available. The talent at our disposal is great and once the senior men come back and play as a unit they can surprise many.
Why do you think the fans have emptied the stadia back in the Caribbean during Tests and have lined up for CPL and T20s?
Not only in the Caribbean but we are seeing this all over the world. People are just not looking at Test cricket in numbers. Unless it’s an Ashes battle and maybe India battling Pakistan then people might come out. Today’s world is all about fast movements and people just don’t have the time anymore.
Are there any favorite moments of yours whilst commentating?
Funnily enough, it happened during a domestic match in Trinidad. I was on with a fellow commentator who said that the field had poodles of water because of further heavy rains. I then replied that I totally agree because it has been raining cats and dogs.
What’s the toughest part of the job behind the mic?
I think the toughest part of being behind the Mic is when something occurs out of the realm on the field and you can’t say for sure because you don’t have official word on the incident.
Do you have any word to the youngsters coming through the ranks to get into Cricket commentary?
Firstly you must know the game. I am not saying that you have to be a coach but there must be some knowledge on the technical aspect of the game. Obviously, you must know the rules and for youngsters coming up you must have an appreciation for the history of the game.
How do you think the commentary craft has changed from when you’d entered?
Now it is much easier in terms of getting stats on players and teams because it it is at your fingertips. Before you had to do extensive research but at the clock of a button, it is right there.
Pick your Windies dream XI?
Gordon Greenidge, Desmond Haynes, Brian Lara, Vivian Richards, Everton Weekes, Gary Sobers, Clyde Walcott, Malcolm Marshall, Curtly Ambrose, Michael Holding, and Lance Gibbs.