Surviving a hurricane – cricketers share their experiences

The roof was ripped off Liam Sebastien's home in Goodwill, Dominica by Hurricane Maria © Liam Sebastien

Cricketers Shane Shillingford and Liam Sebastien (and Viv Richards) talk about living through Hurricane Maria in Dominica, and how cricket helped its own

by NAGRAJ GOLLAPUDI | OCTOBER 16, 2017

On the evening of September 18, Shane Shillingford, the West Indies offspinner, was sitting in his living room with his wife and father, playing board games. Music piped in the background. Outside, the wind was strong and there was some rain too.

Shillingford, who played 16 Tests till 2014, lives in Dublanc village, about a 15-minute drive from Portsmouth in the north-west of the island of Dominica, one in the string of tiny islands in the Caribbean that runs down from Antigua to Trinidad and Tobago in the south, flanked by the Atlantic to the east and the Caribbbean Sea to the west.

August-September is usually hurricane season in the Caribbean. Hurricane Irma had devastated Barbuda, the sister island of Antigua, on September 6. Now Dominica was bracing for Hurricane Maria, but the initial feeling, at least according to Shillingford, was it would not be too bad.

However, Maria went on to be the tenth most intense hurricane in the Atlantic ever. The news bulletins and weather forecasts were for the storm to pass Dominica by, but it shifted course suddenly. “We never thought that the hurricane was coming direct to us,” Shillingford says, speaking to ESPNcricinfo three weeks later.

Four days later: torn roofs and destroyed houses in Dominica © Getty Images
Four days later: torn roofs and destroyed houses in Dominica © Getty Images

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