East Bengal's new foreign recruit Willis Plaza, who is a former Trinidad and Tobago national team striker is the latest sensation among the club fans.
Coach Trevor James Morgan too was impressed by Plaza’s silky footwork and his approach like a quality opportunistic striker in the team’s opening I-League match against Aizwal FC.
But the international footballer, who has represented Trinidad and Tobago at the senior level 23 times and scored nine goals, has an interesting story. Plaza in his school days was a cricket player. He revealed: “I was so serious that I had planned my career in the school days that I would be a cricketer in future.”
That time Plaza’s close friend was Sunil Narine, the prolific spinner from West Indies who stole the heart of the cricket in the IPL through his unorthodox but piercing bowling.
Plaza further said: “Narine was a very close friend of mine. We used to study in the same school. We used to practice cricket almost together.
"I also used to bowl but at the same time, I used to bat also in the middle-order. We had the same idol that time.
"That was Brian Lara. We used to dream of becoming famous like Brian Lara. But finally, I had to depart from cricket.”
The football coach of Plaza’s school advised him to leave cricket and start playing football.
He added: “Actually, my football coach knew about the financial condition of my family. My father was not a rich man.
"He had to struggle to feed us. So, my football coach in the school advised me to start playing football.
"He said I would not be able to continue with cricket later as it is an expensive game comparing to football. Today, I thank him for the perfect advice.”
Sunil Narine had made debut in international cricket in 2011. Plaza had his debut with Trinidad andTobago in the very next year.
Plaza, however, informed that he is still in touch with the West Indian spin bowler. The 29-year old striker said, “I still have communication with Narine over the telephone.”