LEASEL ROUEDAS hails from Trinidad. Her home is a few kilometers’ drive from the Port-of-Spain Oval and she even claims that she knows a few Indians. She hadn’t heard of Sunil Gavaskar: ‘I hardly follow cricket,’ She claims, defend-ing her lack of knowledge. But then I mention another Bombayite’s name and she exclaims, ‘Oh yeah, Tendulkar, I’ve heard a lot about him.’
Even though the question is rhetorical, one cannot help but ask how. ‘You know, he (Lara) keeps talking about him. Sachin did this, Sachin did that! ’ She hastens to add that her steady boyfriend and husband-to-be speaks in glowing terms about Sachin: ‘I remember Brian telling me that “people call me the number one batsman in the world, but Tendulkar is a tremendous player too.” According to Brian, he is his real competitor.’
Leasel’s personality is in sharp contrast to her boyfriend’s high-profile image. She is just the plain girl next door, and she wants her husband to remain as down-to-earth as he is presently.
I told him the other day. ‘she confides, ‘that “Brian, you are turning down so many request for interviews. I can see your point; that it is impossible to satisfy their hunger. But when you say ‘No’, say that politely please. Then at least they will remember you as a decent human being and not as an arrogant brat.”
At the same time, she tells you that what Lara is going through, in these post-world-record days, is not exactly anybody’s idea of having fun.
‘You know, back home, it’s different.’ she testifies. ‘They all know who he is. They respect him for that. There are times when even complete strangers walk up to him and say, “Hello, Brian, well done!” But they don’t bother him. He never gets mobbed in Trinidad or, for that matter, in any other West Indian Island. That was why he was so much at sea in England last summer and India, trying to ward off people’s attention. You cannot imagine the kind of intrusions people make in his private life. At the same time, he is under a ‘lot of pressure to perform consistently.’
Leasel, who after completing her studies, worked for a brief while in a local bank.