Whatever may be the result of the India- West Indies ODI series, it doesn’t bother cricket lover Dr Suresh Puthalathu, Chief Medical Officer with Comtrust Eye Hospital in the city. Any team’s victory would definitely bring cheers to this ophthalmology specialist, who is a visiting consultant in St Lucia, a sovereign island country coming under West Indies Associated States.
Dr Suresh was the chief ophthalmologist of the cricket team of West Indies when it hosted the 2007 World Cup and the 2010 ICC World T20. He served as the government’s chief ophthalmologist in St Lucia, from where Windies captain Darren Sammy comes, from 2004 to 2010. He now extends his service as a visiting consultant. As he is busy with the annual conference of the Kerala Society of Ophthalmic Surgeons to be held in Kozhikode from November 22, he couldn’t make it to Kochi to watch the first match of the series.
“A month ago, Sammy had sent an e-mail to me, informing me about his arrival to Kochi for the match. I went to Kochi to meet him on Wednesday and dined with him at Hotel Taj Gateway. But I left that night to reach Kozhikode as on Thursday I had many appointments and some arrangements had to be made for the meeting of KSOS,” says Dr Suresh. He hopes for a match win for West Indies in the series on the Indian soil. “But Team India is strong compared to the Windies side,” says Dr Suresh.
Though Suresh had met many Indian cricketers, including skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Yuvaraj Singh, Gautam Gambhir, Ishanth Sharma, R Aswin, Robin Singh and others during their West Indies tour, he maintains a close relationship with Sammy, former batsman Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Ramnaresh Sarwan.
However, in his six-yearlong service, he did not get a chance to treat any of the Windies players, other than the usual check-ups. “They have very powerful eyes,” says the doctor, smiling. He remembers an incident when a journalist with Ten Sports sustained an injury during the 2008 World Cup after violent spectators threw bottles at him. Besides Sammy, the Windies team and officials still maintain a friendship with Dr Suresh and always invite him for his service when the team engages in major cricket matches. “They called me during the Pakistan team’s visit last year too, but I couldn’t go as here I was busy with my treatment,” he says. Dr Suresh frequently visits St Lucia for consultation. It was in 2004 that the British High Commissioner appointed Suresh as the chief ophthalmologist for St Lucia. “At that time they lacked the services of good doctors and a medical team. Now it has changed a lot,” he says.