The image of a former West Indies Women’s team representative left to hobble around in pain for years because of an injury sustained while on national team duty is certainly enough to bring tears to your eyes.

My thoughts, of course, turn to former Barbados women’s team captain and Windies women all-rounder Shaquana Quintyne, who sustained a devastating knee injury during the regional team’s preparation for the 2017 Women’s World Cup.

Three years and four surgeries later the player is not only unable to return to the sport but is, if reports are to be believed, at times unable to walk due to excruciating pain.

First let me say, based on the evidence that has been made available so far, we must dismiss the notion that Cricket West Indies (CWI) has done nothing to help the young player.

No one disputes the fact that the regional cricket body paid for consultation and three separate knee surgeries sometime between 2017 and 2018, plus the requisite rehabilitation. 

With cruciate ligament surgeries ranging from anywhere between an estimated US$5,000 and US$15,000, the organisation has clearly spent a pretty penny.

If we are to believe CWI CEO Johnny Grave, and there is no reason we shouldn’t, then the organisation also deserves commendation for adding Quintyne to the Total and Permanent Disablement policy even though it came into existence after she was injured.

Despite all that, however, the fact remains that Quintyne is still not back on her feet. I don’t know what the overall prognosis was, and cruciate ligament injuries are known to be a serious issue, but with athletes known to require multiple surgeries and several specialists before things are made right, I’m not quite sure that all has been done to safeguard the future of Quintyne. 

In any case, she is 24 years old and was injured in the line of duty so to speak. If she is unable to continue her cricketing career, she should at the very least be able to lead a pain-free, or pain-minimized existence as she looks to take what must certainly be new, uncertain steps in her life.

The CWI might not have a contractual obligation to do so, but certainly, a moral one and continued assistance for the player would go a long way in sending the right message to current and future generations.

I listened to Grave speak eloquently and passionately about the organisation’s desire to repair relationships and care for players. It is indeed a very positive mindset to have.

It is a well-known fact that for years, in one way or the other, the major bone of contention between the regional cricket board and regional players has had to do with the fact that players, rightly or wrongly, believe they are often short-changed and abused by the board. They are of the opinion that a profit-making board does not care about their well-being. 

What better example than Quintyne’s case to show that any such narratives are things of the past and send a clear message to a new generation of players looking to give their all to regional cricket, ‘we will always take care of our own.’

The dim view taken of the board in such matters involving players is not just held by the players themselves, but many fans of the regional game as well, who are once again watching with keen eyes. There are some cases that your reputation and the ability to enhance it will always be worth more than a few dollars.

In some cases, football clubs, for instance, have been known to make significant investments in the health of the player without reaping a tangible reward. 

At 31-years-old, former Arsenal midfielder, Santi Carzola had to undergo as much as 10 surgeries on a troublesome ankle injury, which eventually nearly cost him his leg, and saw him spend three-years out of the game.

In 2017, despite the player having not appeared for the club for some time, Arsenal extended him a one-year contract in order to allow him the opportunity to fully recover. He never appeared for the club again, but sometimes it makes sense to be about more than just dollars.

The CWI clearly does not have Arsenal’s resources but shouldn’t be willing to give up on Quintyne, her health or future just yet.

Legendary West Indies captain Clive Lloyd agrees in principle with former players stepping in to provide mentorship for the new generation but has called for a careful screening process to get the best outcome from the experience.

The 75-year-old Lloyd has been respected for generations, not just for his cricketing ability but steady and inspiring leadership, which saw the West Indies lift back-to-back ICC World Cup titles in 1975 and 1979. 

With the team currently a long way from those heady days of success, several former players have pointed to the issue of mentorship as a missing element in the current team’s success and have been quick to offer their assistance to rectify the problem.  Not so fast, says Lloyd.

“We have to find out how strong they are in certain departments.  You can’t just say this guy is going to be this when he isn’t suited for that role.  You have to find out what strengths he or she has,” Lloyd told the Mason and Guest Radio program.

“I’m talking about players that have done extremely well, have been through the mill, and can pass the knowledge on," he added.

 "Not every great player can be a teacher but there are certain aspects and things that they are strong at, and that is what we have to search for, so that when we have a player coming through and they get to Test level they are not learning on the job they have already qualified.”

 

A quick look at the stats of legendary South African all-rounder suggests that he should not just routinely be part of conversations that speak about the best all-rounder of all-time but perhaps the best of all-time.

Instead, it seems the South African has been found short of ground in another routine legend ranking discussion, finishing behind the incomparable Garfield Sobers and it seems struggling to finish ahead of Imran Khan, in the latest Ultimate XI Test cricket all-rounder choice.

Let’s get this straight, if Kallis is to come up short it will certainly never be on the weight of his statistics.

The batsman’s Test record compares favourably with almost any other batsman of modern times.  In terms of run scored, his total of 13,289 is third on the all-time list, bettered by only Ricky Ponting (13,378) and Sachin Tendulkar (15,921). 

In fact, Kallis has scored some 1,336 more runs than Brian Lara, a man who is generally considered as one of the four best batsmen of all time, and in some instances, the best. In terms of averages, he has a higher average than Lara, Tendulkar, Dravid, and Ponting. Compared to batsmen who have made debuts in the past 30 years, only Kumar Sangakkara, Steve Smith, and Adam Voges (who only played 20 Tests) can top Kallis’ career average of 55.37.

His 45 Test centuries is second on the all-time list behind Tendulkar’s 51 and four ahead of Ponting and lest we forget he was just short of 300 Test wickets with 292 at 32.65.

But, despite constantly etching his name above the greats some have found it easy to dismiss Kallis's case because he lacked one factor many of his contemporaries possess. He was unspectacular.

The South African simply got the job done with very little fanfare. Best summed up in his own words; “I think it was my personality. I never really enjoyed the limelight, I liked going about my business and just getting on with the job. I never played the game for accolades or anything like that.”

For some, that has been enough to relegate one of the greatest players of a generation to a mere consideration, or well below what his achievements merit in the debate on greatness, but it shouldn’t be.

West Indies spinner Rahkeem Cornwall has vowed to 'stick to what he knows', despite being the subject of recent criticism from legendary spinner Lance Gibbs.

The 85-year-old Gibbs, undisputedly one of the region’s finest ever craftsmen in the disciple of spin bowling, was critical of the performance of the current crop of regional spinners on a whole.  His issue with Cornwall stemmed from what he described as the spinner’s short run-up and ‘lack of rhythm’.

Cornwall, who has insisted he only just heard of the remarks has insisted he is not fazed by the criticism as it was impossible to make everyone happy.

“I am not really on social media that much to see some of those things [comments] and if one or two people don’t say something to me I may not see it but I just don’t really dig too deep into it,” Cornwall told the Good Morning Jojo Radio Show.

“I really can’t stress on that, everybody has their own opinion and if you dwell on every opinion you will find yourself get mixed up in all sorts of things so you just have to control what you can control and when the opportunity arises to go and perform you just make sure you stick to what you know and perform,” he said.

The burly spinner, who made his debut for the West Indies against India last year, was recently named as part of a CWI 29-member preparatory squad for a possible tour of England.

Cricket West Indies president Ricky Skerritt has insisted the organisation is in process of implementing several recommendations of a recently commissioned audit, which promises to deliver on previously stated targets of governance reform and financial transparency.

Recent news reports had pointed to financial irregularities discovered after an audit of the CWI balance sheets, which pointed to what was deemed to be, among other things, the improper handling of funds in a recent transfer. 

According to Skerritt, however, issues that have affected the organisation as it relates to governance structure and financial management systems were already being address in two previously commissioned reports.  The Accounting and Management Consulting firm of Pannell Kerr Foster (PKF) was employed to examine the organisation’s financial practices, with a task led by Senator Don Wehby expected to review governance systems.  The CWI president pointed out that PFK had already flagged several issues and that the recommendations suggested were already being adopted by the organisation.

“In carrying out its assessments PKF uncovered some illustrations of questionable executive standards and practices. It verified and emphasized the need for drastic operational reorganization and realignment, with an urgent need for improved risk assessment and cash flow management. The PKF consultants accordingly presented their report in person to the CWI Board of Directors in December, and their twenty-eight (28) recommendations were unanimously adopted,” Skerritt stated via press release.

The recommendations were said to include; Reinforcing the President’s role as Non-Executive Chairman of the Board, with responsibility for strategic policy and governance, while empowering and supporting the CEO and his management team with full responsibility for all operational aspects of the organization; realigning the organisation’s leadership, reporting, and functional structure, to enhance accountability and reestablish clear lines of authority and responsibility; strengthening internal controls and ensuring timely reconciliation and reporting of all accounts; and modifying fundamental management practices to ensure transparency, and best practices.  It also called for discontinuing the operations of the Executive Committee of The Board and reporting to the Board on a timely basis, the accurate financial situation.

Skerritt has insisted the organisation did not consider the report for general release because it was an internal matter.  The CWI will now decide whether to release it in full.  According to the president, the recommendations from the Wehby report will be known in a few weeks.

Grenada wicketkeeper Junior Murray was always going to have a tough time in the West Indies lineup.

This wasn’t because Murray wasn’t a talented player, but rather what he came to the lineup to do.

Peter Jeffrey Dujon had left the West Indies after 10 years wicketkeeping to the quickest and most fearsome bowlers the region and maybe the world had ever produced.

The svelt, stylish wicketkeeper was replaced by the diminutive David Williams of Trinidad and Tobago, but that relationship had only lasted 11 Test matches.

Williams size meant he wasn’t able to make the tremendous leaps it took to grab a hold of some of the edges from batsmen or even the odd errant delivery from some of West Indies’ quicks.

His stint with the gloves for the West Indies soon came to an end and it was the hope that Murray, who came into the side, would now be an adequate replacement for Dujon.

And maybe it wasn’t fair to place the big shadow that the skinny Dujon cast on Murray, and while he never quite replaced Dujon, he didn’t wilt under the pressure either.

Murray wasn’t a natural wicketkeeper and had started out as a batsman for the Windward Islands. Even after taking the gloves, he never looked the part. Some thought he was too tall, and others thought his hands weren’t soft enough to be a good gloveman. Still, others questioned his ability to bat at the highest level despite his background as a batsman.

Well, in the first innings of the second Test on a tour of New Zealand, Murray came to the party.

Choosing to bat, a careful Stewart Williams and Sherwin Campbell made their way to 85 before the former went for an unusually slow 26.

Brian Lara, batting at his preferred number three in the lineup at the time, joined Campbell and the two, led by the Trinidad and Tobago batsman, put on 49 before the latter went for a well-played 88.

Lara (147) would go on to share a partnership of 221 with Jimmy Adams (151). Keith Arthurton, batting at an increasingly familiar five in the West Indies lineup also got in on the run-scoring game, scoring a patient 70 in a partnership of 94 with Adams then one worth 72 with Shivnarine Chanderpaul, who would end up unbeaten on 61 when the West Indies declared the innings.

That declaration, 660-5, came earlier than expected, as everybody, except for Lara had to score quite slowly based on the nature of the pitch.

Lara though scored his 147 from just 181 deliveries, slamming 24 fours with a strike rate over more than 80.

Only Murray would do better. Thinking team first, the wicketkeeper threw caution to the wind, slamming 11 fours and two sixes, as well as some really aggressive running between the wickets with Chanderpaul.

So dominant was the wicketkeeper-batsman that he scored 101 from the 139-run partnership he shared with Chanderpaul, for his first and only Test century.

Murray showed he could bat. He did have the dangerous Danny Morrison to contend with, showing he had no problem dealing with pace.

This story could have easily been about Courtney Walsh though, as the eventual man-of-the-match bagged 7-37 in New Zealand’s first innings before returning to 6-18 in the second and a match haul of 13-55.

But Walsh had many an occasion in the sun for the West Indies and I wanted to point tp the exploits of a player from the Windward Islands, a region often overlooked unless it was to find a bowler.

Murray’s century, coming from just 88 deliveries gave the West Indies three days to get the New Zealand side out twice.

They did, Walsh’s heroics skittling them out for 216 and 122, ending the game inside four days. The West Indies would win the two-match series 1-0.

The century meant more than you would at first believe though. It meant Murray became only the second player from the Windward Islands to score a century for the West Indies after Irvine Shillingford did so in 1976 against Pakistan.

Former Barbados Cricket Association member and women’s team manager Hartley Reid has claimed former West Indies Women’s team all-rounder Shaquana Quintyne is at times in ‘excruciating pain’ and barely able to walk after failing to properly recover from multiple cruciate ligament operations.

The 24-year-old bowling all-rounder has accused Cricket West Indies (CWI) of leaving her to fend for herself after getting injured during a training camp in preparation for the International Cricket Council 50-over World Cup three years ago.  Multiple operations and several failed rehabilitations later the player remains not only unable to resume her craft but on occasion has issues with mobility.

CWI CEO Johnny Grave has, however, strongly refuted claims that the organization has not been supportive of the player.

“We have provided enormous financial support and medical support for Shaquana since she got injured back in 2017…we have paid huge sums of money for her to try and get her career back and try and get back to full fitness,” Grave told the Mason and Guest Radio program.

According to Grave, the organisation’s Total and Permanent Disablement policy, which did not exist for the women’s team in 2017 was extended to Quintyne, in light of the injury.

Reid, however, also a former chairman of women’s cricket for the BCA when Quintyne was captain of the team, has also disputed the level of support provided by the CWI and does not believe it went far enough.

“When she got injured in Antigua in March 2017 she was not even taken to a doctor, a clinic, or to a hospital.  She got injured and was sent back to Barbados two days after.  When she came back to Barbados she was given instructions to see a doctor, that doctor was not even in Barbados.  So, she contacted me in all the pain and tears, and I took her to see an orthopedic surgeon,” Reid told the Mason and Guest Radio program.

Reid went on to explain that the player was unable to continue seeing that orthopedic surgeon in Barbados, after the CWI provided recommendations and means for the player to have surgery and treatment in Jamaica.  After some relief, the conditions, however, returned and Quintyne then got permission to be treated by the surgeon in Barbados.  The player again experienced some relief but after the conditions returned in 2018 was recommended for a third surgery, this time in Canada, on the advice of the Barbadian orthopedic surgeon.

“That is where Cricket West Indies assistance ended.  When she came back from Canada in March 2018, with the understanding that in three months’ time she would have returned to Canada for observation and further analysis, Cricket West Indies not agree for her to go,” Reid explained.

“So, she was in pain all of the time until she decided to go back with her own money.  In November 2018 she had another operation, all at her expense.  She was spending all of her money so she is poor now because she spent all of her money trying to get herself back in condition," he added.

“Right now, as we speak as she put it, her knee has locked up and she is in excruciating pain and she cannot walk, she is crying and immobile.”

 

Former West Indies batsman Ricardo Powell insists he could have benefited more from a better understanding of 'discipline' as a player and believes it is an issue to be addressed if the regional team is to return to a place of prominence.

Powell made a total of 116 appearances for the West Indies between 1999 and 2006 and is widely considered to be one of the cleanest hitters of the cricket ball.  Looking back at his introduction to the West Indies team as a 21-year-old in 1999, he freely admits that he had failed to grasp certain key elements needed for success during his development as a junior player.

“I remember growing up as a young player never understanding what discipline was in terms of the sport of cricket and how that was applied to cricket,” Powell told the Mason and Guest radio show.

“I always thought that this guy is indiscipline, he isn’t disciplined, not knowing that they were talking about the application to the actual game itself and not necessarily your behavior on and off the field,” he added.

In order to mitigate against such deficiencies affecting future generations of West Indies players, Powell believes the region must make a serious investment in mentorship programs.

“Mentorship should be a big thing in West Indies cricket right now because we are living in a different time and everyone wants to be successful overnight because of what T20 has brought to the game,” Powell said.

"I think a lot of mentorship needs to be taking place with workshops for younger players on and off the field.  The workshops also have to be relatable, with people like myself who have played the game and understand what it is to come from certain walks of life and make it to the top and understand what it takes to get there and how you are going to stay there.”

 

 

Cricket West Indies CEO Johnny Grave believes the development of a ‘culture of respect’ by regional players, and other stakeholders involved in the sport, would serve as a more effective solution than the prospect of broad fines levied against individuals for misconduct.

Recently, disparaging public outbursts directed towards other players from veteran West Indies players Chris Gayle and Marlon Samuels has brought the issue of player discipline once again to the fore. In addressing the matter, CWI president Ricky Skerritt had previously expressed disappointment with the incidents.

 Outside of just the latest incidents, however, the region has had a long history of players choosing to air grievances in a public manner.  While some have suggested the implementation of public fines for instances of bringing the sport into disrepute as a solution, things can get more complex when the players are not directly contracted to the CWI.  Grave believes the best solution lies in a cultural shift.

“Individual cricketers that are outside of the framework of our cricket or contractual system can clearly talk openly and freely,” Grave told the Mason and Guest radio show.

“What I’d really want, rather than the ability to punish players, is to be able to create a culture of mutual trust and respect between all the stakeholders.  So, if there are disagreements or disputes, they are appropriately dealt with inhouse, and if we have to agree to disagree every now and again that will happen,” he added.

“I’d much rather have a culture within Cricket West Indies of mutual respect where we are not relying on a code of conduct or punishment.”   

West Indies T20 specialist and former captain of the One-Day International team, Dwayne Bravo had some interesting choices to make during an interview on Cricbuzz, leaving out some big names on a list of five of the best T20 players in the game today.

Bravo, who was interviewed by Cricbuzz’s Harsha Bhogle, was given six players to choose from in each of five rounds of choices and here’s what he came up with.

In the first round, Bravo was made to choose from among Australia’s Matthew Hayden and David warner, India’s Virender Sehwag, New Zealand’s Brendon McCullum, and the West Indies’ Dwayne Smith and Chris Gayle.

Bravo chose Gayle.

The second round saw Bravo having to pick one of India’s Gautam Gambir and KL Rahul, England’s Johnny Bairstow and Joss Buttler, and Australia’s Shane Watson and Chris Lynn.

Bravo chose Watson.

India’s Virat Kohli was lined up against teammate Ambati Rayudu and Suresh Raina, as well as South Africa’s Faf Du Plessis and New Zealand’s Kane Williamson.

According to Bravo, while Raina is his favourite batsman, he would have to go with Kohli.

Up next were India’s Rohit Sharma, Rishabh Pant and Yuvraj Singh, Australia’s Michael Hussey, England’s Ben Stokes, and South Africa’s AB de Villiers.

Bravo went with de Villiers.

In the final round Bravo had a major struggle with picking from a grouping of India’s Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Hardik Pandya, Australia’s Glenn Maxwell, and the West Indian pair of Andre Russell and Kieron Pollard.

Bravo eventually went with Dhoni.

So Bravo’s choices as the top-five players today, given the imitations of the choices put to him were Chris Gayle, Shane Watson, Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers, and Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

Given the grouping of choices, is Bravo correct?

It is unfortunate that in a 24-year-long career, West Indies legend George Headley only managed 22 Tests. An intervening World War and the difficulties of travel made Test cricket in the 1930s and ‘40s a much less regular occurrence than it is today.

Still, Headley’s wildcard selection to the SportsMax Ultimate XI Test cricket competition is perhaps no surprise and certainly not unwarranted.

Headley, averaged more than 60 in those 22 Tests, a remarkable feat when you consider how much time might elapse between games at the highest level. In those 22 Tests, Headley also scored 10 centuries and five half-centuries, which suggest when he got going, chances are you were going to staring down a three-figure innings.

Headley was solid when his West Indies teammates were considered ‘vulnerable and impulsive’. Headley was the first immortal at Lord’s, scoring a century in both innings of a 1939 Test against England.

Other greats, like Sir Len Hutton and Clarrie Grimmett, have all expressed sentiments suggesting they were very impressed with Headley’s batting. Sir Len said he had never seen a batsman play later than did Headley, while Grimmett said he was the strongest on-side player he had ever bowled to.

Test statistics aside, Headley’s first-class achievements playing in England tell a story of his class as well. He scored heavily at every turn, matching the exploits of the modern-day greats stride for stride.

But Headley’s contribution to West Indies cricket cannot be overstated. He was the first great batsman of the region, paving the way for an avalanche of eye-catching wonders from the Caribbean.

 

Career Statistics

Full name: George Alphonso Headley

Born: May 30, 1909, Colon, Panama

Died: November 30, 1983, Meadowbridge, Kingston, Jamaica (aged 74 years 184 days)

Major teams: West Indies, Jamaica

Batting style: Right-hand bat

Bowling style: Legbreak

 

Test Career: West Indies (1930-1954)

Mat    Inns    NO     Runs      HS         Ave     100s    50s    

22         40      4      2190       270*      60.83      10       5     

 

Career Highlights

  • Nicknamed the “black Bradman”
  • Tallied 2190 runs from 40 innings at an average of 60.83
  • Scored 10 centuries and 5 half-centuries
  • Highest score of 270*
  • Played 16 of his 22 Tests against England

Among the most difficult batsmen to dismiss in the modern era of Test cricket, Shivnarine Chanderpaul revelled in unorthodoxy while carving out one of the most successful careers in West Indies and world cricket history.

While purists become obsessed with technique and style, Chanderpaul was a living example of the fact that there are other ways to be consistent and prolific in Test cricket over a long period.

His 11,000-plus Test runs put him just behind Brian Lara as the most prolific West Indies player. He was also the second to achieve the 10,000-run landmark after the more celebrated Trinidadian.

Chanderpaul at first struggled to convert fifties into hundreds, but once he achieved his initial breakthrough he scored three in four Tests against India in 2001-02, and two more in the home series against Australia the following year, including 104 as West Indies successfully chased a world-record 418 for victory in the final Test in Antigua.

Among his greatest contributions was his ability to hold a fragile West Indies middle-order together after Lara had retired. Against Australia in 2012, in the series in which he got to 10,000 Test runs, ‘Tiger’ as he is known in the Caribbean roared loudly with scores of 103*, 12, 94, 68 and 69, for an aggregate of 346 in five innings.

 

Career Statistics

Full name: Shivnarine Chanderpaul

Born: August 16, 1974, (Unity Village, East Coast, Demerara, Guyana)

Major teams: West Indies, Derbyshire, Durham, Guyana, Guyana Amazon Warriors, Khulna Royal Bengals, Lancashire, Royal Challengers Bangalore, Stanford Superstars, Uva Next, Warwickshire, Warwickshire 2nd XI

Playing role: Batsman

Batting style: Left-hand bat

 

Test Career: West Indies (1994-2015)

Mat        Inns        NO     Runs      HS       Ave         BF           SR           100s        50s

164          280        49      11867    203*      51.37     27395      43.31          30           66

 

Career highlights

  • Most runs scored at number five in Test history (6883)
  • Highest average by a number six with at least 20 innings (66.29)
  • Joint 6th fastest century in Tests (69 balls)
  • Scored 66 Test half-centuries, two shy of Sachin Tendulkar’s record of 68
  • Scored 30 Test centuries and averaged 51.37 in his career
  •  

Few in world cricket made batting look more sublime. 

Lara’s style would mesmerize not only common spectators but professional cricketers, inclusive of his opponents as well.

Brian holds the record for the most Test runs in an innings when he scored 400 not out against England in Antigua. That marked the second time the little genius was doing this after Matthew Hayden with 380 against Zimbabwe at Perth had broken his world record of 365. That 365 was also scored at the Antigua Recreation Ground and also came against England.

But even before the big triple century and the quadruple century, it was clear Lara had an appetite for big runs. In Australia, Lara scored 277 before he was eventually run out, but went on to score eight more double centuries.  Only Donald Bradman with 12 and Kumar Sangakkara with 11 have more scores over 200.

Outside of his records and the number of runs he has scored, Lara was a stylist, who many have tried to mimic to varying degrees of success. Lara's walk to the crease was as impressive as Viv Richards', complete confidence on show. Then there was an eye-catching high backlift that would not change whether he was attacking or defending. His shots were a mixture of elegance, precision and power that has not been replicated to this day. It was said before his decline began that setting a field for Lara was a pointless endeavour because he could always find the gaps anywhere they were. 

He was also a game-changer and had the talent to change the nature of a match in very short order. In two hours of Lara being at the crease, an opposition could lose four and a half days of dominance.

 

Career Statistics

 

Full name: Brian Charles Lara

Born: May 2, 1969 (age 51)

Place of birth: Santa Cruz, Trinidad and Tobago

Height: 5 ft 8 in (1.73 m)

Batting style: Left-handed

Bowling style: Right-arm leg break

Role: Batsman

 

Test Career:   West Indies (1990-2006)

Mat      Inns    NO   Runs      HS      Ave      BF         SR        100s     50s    

131      232     6     11953   400*   52.88   19753        60.51       34       48     

 

Career highlights

  •  Record holder for highest individual score in Test history (400*)
  •  Only player to reclaim world record for highest individual Test score 
  •  Only player to have two 350+ scores in Tests
  •  Third most double centuries in Tests (9)
  •  One of 13 players to score centuries against all Test-playing nations  
  •  Scored 20 per cent of team runs, only Don Bradman and George Headley have scored higher
  •  Scored the largest proportion of his team’s runs, 53.88 per cent in one Test
  •  A record three of his innings placed in top 15 of Wisden’s top 100 list (2001)

Sir Isaac Vivian Alexander Richards, Viv, was the epitome of confidence. No bowler during the 1980s or early ‘90s, an era marked by quality tear-away quicks, can lay claim to intimidating the man dubbed ‘The Master Blaster’. Conversely, there are not many bowlers and/or captains, who can say they weren’t intimidated.

His Test career average and the number of runs he has scored, centuries and half-centuries he has racked up, matter very little to anybody who has seen Viv play. For them, he is greater than even those whose records far outstrip his. Why, because Viv changed the game. He was the precursor to the dominant batsmen of the ‘90s and even now, more than 20 years later, the greatest of them are, in part judged, by whether or not they have a little bit of Viv in them.

The Matthew Haydens and Chris Gayle’s of this world may never have existed if not for the trend Viv set.

Everything about him exuded confidence and when he sauntered to the crease, for that is the only way to describe it, the fielding team knew they were in trouble, and the crowd, whether at home or abroad, knew it too.

But Viv wasn’t all bluster. He could bat too. His average of 50.23, as well as his 24 hundreds and 45 fifties, say as much.

 

Career Statistics

Full name: Isaac Vivian Alexander Richards

Born: March 7, 1952, St John's, Antigua

Major teams: West Indies, Combined Islands, Glamorgan, Leeward Islands, Queensland, Somerset

Batting style: Right-hand bat

Bowling style: Right-arm slow, Right-arm offbreak

 

Test Career: West Indies (1974-1991)

Mat    Inns    NO     Runs          HS     Ave    100s          50s   

121    182    12     8540          291    50.23  24          45    

 

Career Highlights

  • Bestowed Antigua & Barbuda’s highest honour, Knight of the Order of the National Hero (1994)
  • First batsman to score a Test century at a strike rate of over 150 (1986)
  • Joint 2nd fastest century in Tests (56 balls)
  • Scored 8540 runs at an average of 50.23
  • Produced 24 centuries and 45 half-centuries in 182 Test innings

While Sir Garfield Sobers is undoubtedly the greatest all-rounder of all time, meaning he was good with bat and ball, and in his case, in the field as well, his ability with the willow puts him in the argument as one of the greatest batsmen the world has ever seen as well.

Sir Garry being the greatest batsman of all time used to be an argument between himself and Australia’s Sir Don Bradman. But in recent times there has been a proliferation of greats who have put their names up in serious ways, however, his quality is undoubtable and the length of time his records lasted were part proof of this fact.

An elegant but powerful batsman, Sir Garry would make his mark on Test cricket with not just the number of runs he scored, but because of the manner in which he scored them.

Elegant through the covers, he was also savage square of the wicket on both sides. Such was his talent that his 365 not out, a record which would last 36 years, came when he was just 21 years old. If there is ever any wonder at how good Sobers was, Don Bradman, a man with the highest Test average the world has seen, and nobody has come close, said this of an innings he saw Sobers play.

“the greatest exhibition of batting ever seen in Australia,” said Bradman after Sobers, playing for the World XI, destroyed an Australian bowling attack, inclusive of Dennis Lillee, on his way to 254.

Interestingly, Sobers career with the bat started slowly. For his first 14 Tests, he averaged a mere 30.54 and had scored just three 50s. Then from 1958 until his career ended, he played 79 Tests and actually averaged 62.90, scoring all of his 26 centuries during this period.

 

Career Statistics

Full name: Garfield St Aubrun Sobers

Born: July 28, 1936, Chelsea Road, Bay Land, St Michael, Barbados

Major teams: West Indies, Barbados, Nottinghamshire, South Australia

Playing role: Allrounder

Batting style: Left-hand bat

Bowling style: Left-arm fast-medium, Slow left-arm orthodox, Slow left-arm chinaman

Height: 5 ft 11 in

 

Test Career: West Indies (1954-1974)

Mat    Inns    NO     Runs    HS      Ave       100s    50s             

93       160     21      8032    365*    57.78       26      30                      

 

Career highlights

  • Named as one of five Cricketers of the century by Wisden (2000)
  • Knighted for his services to cricket (1975)
  • Former record holder for highest individual Test score, 365* (1958-1994)
  • 2nd highest average as a number four and 3rd highest as a number five in Tests (63.75 & 59.21)
  • First player to hit 6 sixes in an over at the First Class level
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