“I like that about him,” Sir Curtly Ambrose had said about young West Indies pacer Alzarri Joseph. Sir Curtly was speaking about the fact that Joseph never seemed to smile and was most displeased when one of his deliveries got treated poorly. Sir Curtly saw in young Alzarri, some of what was very present when he bowled for the West Indies. An unyielding tenacity was present. He never liked to get hit and he certainly never liked to be bowling to one person for too long. He had to get you out and on 405 occasions, he did.

Sir Curtly’s tools were his height and his accuracy. From around 10 feet up, he would spare deliveries onto a length just outside offstump, aptly called the ‘corridor of uncertainty.’ Ambrose’s height meant he extracted steep bounce which could undo a batsman if he attempted to play forward to a delivery maybe nine times out of 10, he should have. But you wouldn’t have time to go back either because the ball was too full, leaving batsmen with no option but to abandon their footwork and use just their hands and eyes. Now movement became important because playing from your crease meant you had no time to react if the ball moved. Entering the fray are now caught behind, in the slip, at bat pad or short, extra cover, forward short leg, or even the deathly sound of a drag on. Sometimes a batsman may just end up going bowled.

That nagging line and length also meant Ambrose was ridiculously difficult to score off and has the best economy of any bowler with more than 400 wickets.

Sir Curtly’s best came against Australia in 1992-93 at the WACA where he decimated the opposition with 7-1, and again against England when he had 6-24 the following year at the Queen’s Park Oval in Trinidad and Tobago. Those spells are, to this day, considered among the most legendary, not just in the West Indies, but anywhere.

 

Career Statistics

Full name: Curtly Elconn Lynwall Ambrose

Born: September 21, 1963, Swetes Village, Antigua

Major teams: West Indies, Leeward Islands, Northamptonshire, UWI Vice Chancellor's Celebrity XI, West Indies Masters

Playing role: Bowler

Batting style: Left-hand bat

Bowling style: Right-arm fast

 

Test Career:   West Indies (1988-2000)

Mat    Inns    Balls     Runs     Wkts   BBI       BBM     Ave      Econ     SR        4w    5w   10w

98       179     22103   8501      405     8/45      11/84   20.99     2.30      54.5      21     22      3

 

Career Highlights

  • Took 405 wickets at an average of 20.99
  • Best average for bowlers over 400 wickets
  • Best economy rate for bowlers over 400 wickets
  • Best figures in an innings 8 for 45

Michael Holding was fast. But you never knew it from the way he ambled to the crease and quietly allowed the ball to kiss the pitch before the batsman was faced with the violence of it all.

The name given to Michael Holding because of his quiet and elegant run up was, interestingly, not delivered by the batsmen who were invariably sent packing after or amid one of his spells, it came from the umpires, who never heard him approaching the wicket and could only watch as batsmen hurriedly tried to move into positions to counteract a delivery aimed solely at causing destruction.

There are many who say Holding was the quickest of all time but his Rolls Royce-esque technique made others more recognizable as genuinely scary quicks.

Bowling to England opener Geoffrey Boycott in 1981, Holding delivered six deliveries the last of which cannoned into the usually defensively sound batsman's off stump, sending it careening toward the wicketkeeper. It is widely accepted that this was the best over of all time. The five deliveries prior came at no cost, with Boycott failing to get a bat on four and edging the first just short of Vivian Richards at second slip.

It was Boycott, who at the time was the best batsman in the world, said there had never been quicker than Holding.

Holding’s career only lasted 60 Tests but in the 12 years it took to get through those games, 249 wickets fell. On one particular occasion, the West Indies toured England, who had a big-talking skipper known as Tony Greig. In an interview, Greig had said his England side were going to “make the West Indies grovel.”

In the fifth Test of the series at The Oval, with the West Indies already leading 2-0, Holding had his revenge.  

The paceman would start with 8-92 after the West Indies had racked up 687 on what was thought to be a docile pitch. Holding was 22 years old and in his first year of cricket.

Six of those eight wickets were batsmen who were bowled, while the other two were sent back, out leg before.

In his second innings with the ball, Holding would end with figures of 6-57 and was declared man of the match, despite Viv Richards 291.

It was after that game that umpire Dickie Bird coined the phrase Whispering Death.

“I couldn’t hear him when he was running in. It was the most fantastic piece of fast bowling I had ever seen,” said the experienced umpire.

 

Career Statistics

Full name: Michael Anthony Holding

Born: February 16, 1954, Half Way Tree, Kingston, Jamaica

Major teams: West Indies, Canterbury, Derbyshire, Jamaica, Lancashire, Tasmania

Batting style: Right-hand bat

Bowling style: Right-arm fast

 

Test Career: West Indies (1975-1987)

Mat    Inns    Balls      Runs       Wkts    BBI      BBM       Ave    Econ   SR    4w     5w     10w

60     113       12680    5898        249      8/92     14/149   23.68   2.79   50.9    11     13        2

 

Career Highlights

  • Nicknamed “Whispering Death”
  • Best match figures by a West Indian (14/149)
  • Captured 249 wickets at 23.68
  • Had a strike rate of 50.9

It's been more than 40 years since the West Indian off-spinner Lance Gibbs snared his 308th victim and overhauled Fred Trueman to become the leading wicket-taker in Test cricket.

Tall and thin he had a short bouncing run-up to the wicket. Phenomenally accurate he was seldom collared, and usually got through an over in a couple of minutes.

 

Career Statistics

Full name: Lancelot Richard Gibbs

Born: 29 September 1934 (age 85)

Place of birth: Georgetown, British Guiana

Batting style: Right-handed

Bowling: Right-arm off-break

Test Career: West Indies (1958-1976)

Mat         Inns         Balls        Runs       Wkts        BBI          BBM        Ave         Econ       SR            4w           5w           10w

79           148           27115      8989         309         8/38       11/157      29.09       1.98        87.7           11           18               2             

 

Career Highlights

  • Oldest player to reach 300 Test wickets (41)
  • Held record for most wickets in Tests (1976-81)
  • Captured 309 wickets at 29.09
  • 87.7 strike rate is the worst of any bowler over 300 wickets

The longtime ethos of hard work bringing forth success is perfectly exemplified in Courtney Andrew Walsh, West Indies’ all-time leading wicket-taker in Test cricket and at one time world record holder.

Walsh was the first bowler over 500 wickets in the history of the game, but that honour came from being the man who the West Indies used to use to plug overs. Initially, Walsh was a back-up bowler, who would do the hard work of running into the wind while preferred specialists like Malcolm Marshall or Michael Holding and even Sir Curtly Ambrose ran in with the wind at their backs.

Doing that kind of work made the wiry Walsh strong and when it was finally his time to be the strike bowler, he had the added benefit of being able to run in for almost inhumanly long spells at high pace to boot.

Walsh formed one of the games great opening partnership with Ambrose, the two accounting for 421 Test wickets between them in just 49 outings.

Walsh was also a man of very strong character, something that belied his almost jovial nature. It would seem that nothing mattered to him but the truth was anything but.

He loved bowling at the highest level and that may be why he did it for 17 years.

But never was that strength more called on than when the West Indies decided to drop him for the only time in his career.

Walsh had never been dropped at any level but his reaction was impressive. The pace bowler returned to first-class cricket in the West Indies and dominated proceedings, taking 30+ wickets and forcing his way back into the Test side. Until his retirement in 2001, nobody has ever dared to think of dropping him again.

If it is hard to bowl well on a stacked team, it is even more difficult to do so on one that is in the habit of losing, yet in 2000, a year before his retirement and at 37 years old, Walsh took 93 wickets, the most in the world that year. Two pacers have since surpassed Walsh’s 519 wickets, in England’s James Anderson and Australia’s Glen McGrath, but they too are fine fast bowlers worthy of all-time great platitudes.

What is interesting is that the West Indies, despite its rich history of creating fast-bowling juggernauts, did not produce anybody, save Walsh’s partner in crime, Ambrose, to get close to Walsh’s massive haul. Ambrose ended his career with 405 wickets.

 

Career Statistics

Full name: Courtney Andrew Walsh

Born: October 30, 1962, Kingston, Jamaica

Major teams: West Indies, Gloucestershire, Jamaica

Playing role: Bowler

Batting style: Right-hand bat

Bowling style: Right-arm fast

 

Test Career: West Indies (1984-2001)

Mat    Inns    Balls      Runs     Wkts   BBI      BBM     Ave     Econ    SR     4w    5w     10w

132    242      30019    12688     519      7/37   13/55    24.44   2.53     57.8   32     22        3

 

Career Highlights

  • Held record for most wickets in Tests (2000-04)
  • First bowler to reach 500 wickets
  • 3rd most wickets by a fast bowler
  • Best match figures as captain (13/55)

President of Cricket West Indies (CWI) Ricky Skerritt has strongly hinted that he expects to see action taken against veteran batsman Chris Gayle, following a recent public outburst, which mainly disparaged former teammate and Jamaica Tallawahs assistant coach Ramnaresh Sarwan.

In the now-infamous YouTube post, Gayle accused Tallawahs franchise chief executive Jeff Miller and owner Krish Persaud of "playing a game".  His fiercest criticism was, however, reserved for Sarwan who he accused of having a role in his unexpected dismissal from the franchise.  In the video, Gayle referred to Sarwan as a ‘snake’ and described the former batsman as ‘worse than the coronavirus’.  Sarwan has denied any involvement in the non-renewal of Gayle’s Tallawah’s contract and insisted the assertions made against him were false.

Skerritt, who called the incident unfortunate, said CWI was keeping a close eye on the situation, but insisted that for now the prerogative of taking action would be in the hands of the CPL to which Gayle is contracted.

"It cannot be good for West Indies cricket obviously. It is certainly not something that I enjoyed reading about," Skerritt told Trinidad radio station i955fm in a recent interview.

“If however, a player is contracted to a club or a franchise or to Cricket West Indies, then (due to) the contract they have signed, that kind of behaviour brings that contract to some level of disrepute. So, I would expect that this most recent matter is not over,” he added,

" I think Chris is going to face…I'm sure there's some kind of discussion taking place at the moment between Chris and the CPL because Chris is signed into a franchise team."

The CWI boss, however, went on to make it clear that the CPL still fell within the remit of the regional cricket governors and as such, they would be keeping an eye on the matter.

"If he was on contract with Cricket West Indies, and to a certain extent it is by being in the CPL, so we kind of have a watching interest. But we'll wait and see what happens,” Skerritt said.

While insisting he expected the due process to run its course, Skerritt said he hoped the outburst would not lead to the cricketer’s career coming to a premature end.

"I hope it doesn't become a world matter in terms of the career of Mr. Gayle because it's been a very outstanding career and I really wouldn't want to see it being brought to an end by this event."

Gayle has since joined the St Lucia Zouks.

 

 

Legendary Pakistan fast bowler Wasim Akram has recently recalled an incident in which iconic West Indies batsman Viv Richards scared him senseless, during a series that ended with a fiery Test match, in Barbados, in 1988.

Pakistan had strolled to a 9 wickets win over the West Indies in the first Test before the teams drew the second encounter.  The famed West Indies were left battling to stave off defeat when Akram remembers the clash with Richards in the final Test.

“He would have hit me a lot in 1988. He was a muscular guy and I was very skinny. It was the last over of the day and I was bowling at a good pace. I had realized by then that I had become fast. Viv Richards realized I was a difficult bowler and saw I had a quick-arm action. I bowled a bouncer at him, and his cap fell off.  Getting Viv Richards cap to fall was a big deal,” Akram revealed in a recent talk with cricket commentator Aakash Chopra.

  “There was no match referee back then and I went up to him and sledged him in my broken English. He spat after staring at me and said don’t do this man. I understood nothing but just the man’s word. I said ok, no worries and went to my captain Imran Khan and told him Richards was warning not to abuse him or else he will beat me up. Imran Khan said don’t worry about that and just bowl him, bouncers. I bowled him a bouncer again and abused him after he ducked. On the last ball of the day, I bowled an in-swinger and he was bowled. I went up to him and gave him a good send-off, shouted go back and all,” he added.

According to Akram, who had Richards caught for 67 in the first innings, before dismissing him for 39 in the second, the issue was far from concluded.

“I went back to the dressing room with Imran Khan. In Barbados, the dressing of two teams is in front of each other. I was tired and taking off my shoes when a guy told me to come out of the dressing room. I asked, ‘who is calling me’ and he said you better come out man. When I went out, I saw Viv Richards standing without his shirt,” Akram recounted.

“He was sweating and had his bat in his hand, he also had his pads on. I got scared and ran back to Imran Khan. I told him that Viv Richards was waiting for me with a bat in his hand. Imran Khan asked ‘what should I do. It’s your fight, go and handle it’. I said skipper what are you saying, you have developed this strong body and are telling a skinny guy like me to face him. I went out and told him sorry. I told him that nothing of this sort will happen again and he said you better not, I will kill you.”

 

Former president of Cricket West Indies (CWI) Dave Cameron has advised the world’s smaller cricket boards to use the circumstances of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic to call for more equity in the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) revenue-sharing agreement.

Sporting entities across the globe continue to battle the economic fallout from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, with the spread of the virus bringing a halt to almost all international sport.  In cricket, specifically, the massive disparity between the previous earnings of the ‘big three,’ England, India and Australia and the rest of the smaller nations leaves them even more vulnerable to financial devastation.

The issue of economic disparity was one that was broached by the Cameron-led CWI administration two years ago in a paper to the ICC termed the ‘Economics of Cricket’.  The revenue-sharing model had been adjusted in 2017, but Cameron believed it still fell well short of a truly equitable system.  The former president believes the coronavirus emergency that has greatly exacerbated the situation, shows the dangers of the current model.

"With the current COVID-19 pandemic wreaking financial havoc, the less wealthy cricket boards like West Indies, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, South Africa, and Zimbabwe will suffer more if they don't stand up,” Cameron said in an interview with the Trinidad and Tobago Guardian.

"The gap between wealthier and less wealthy cricket nations is widening and will contribute to less wealthy nations being less competitive and the devaluing the international cricket product. The gap immediately expedites the flight of talent away from bilateral international cricket as the less wealthy cricket nations are disadvantaged in funding their professional domestic and national retainer contracts.

"Given the current situation with the COVID-19, the gap will widen further as the less wealthy cricket nations won't be able to sustain investment in cricket and player development, infrastructure and administration," said Cameron.

 

 

 

 

Jimmy Adams never made our Jamaican BestXI West Indies Championship team and that may be the most unfortunate omission of the lot, with others like Alfred Valentine, Nehemiah Perry, Roy Gilchrist, and Alan Rae also missing the cut.

However, there is no doubt that Jimmy is one of the finest competitors the West Indies has produced and his efforts slowed a degradation in the region’s cricketing fortunes in no uncertain terms.

On May 29, 2000, on the final day of a Test series against Pakistan in Antigua, visiting captain Moin Khan stood on the verge of history.

Moin was about to be the first Pakistan captain to win a series in the Caribbean. But Jimmy, the captain of the West Indies at the time, stood in his way.

Pakistan would eventually earn a series victory in the Caribbean, the hosts capitulating almost 20 years later, but on that day, Jimmy was determined not to suffer the ignominy of losing at home.

The three-Test series was tied at 0-0, making the final Test very much a final.

Pakistan had been sent into bat on the first day but had been bowled out early on the second morning for 269 on the back of Mohammad Yousuf’s unbeaten 103.

The West Indies hadn’t fared much better in their first innings, with Shivnarine Chanderpaul’s 89 and Jimmy’s 60 barely get them over the mark to be all out for 273. Jimmy had bat four hours for that 60, while Shiv’s defiance had lasted even longer, the Guyanese batsman holding out for five and a half hours.

I say holding out because Pakistani left-arm pacer, Wasim Akram, was in his element, taking 6-61 in that first innings to outdo Courtney Walsh’s 5-83 in the same stanza.

But Pakistan were in for more trouble in their second innings as the West Indies pairing of Curtley Ambrose (3-39) and Reon King (4-48), demicated the Pakistani lineup, restricting them to just 219. Inzamam-ul-Haq stood firm with a fighting 68 that included a pulled six through midwicket off Ambrose and Yousuf, who made 42.

Three days of the Test had elapsed and the West Indies had the two remaining to chase down 216 for victory. Seemed easy enough at the start, but on a wearing pitch and with masters of the art of bowling the reverse swing like Akram and Waqar Younis running in, who knows.

There was also the formidable spin threat of Mushtaq Ahmed and Saqlain Mushtaq as well as the dangerous, largely underrated Abdul Razzaq.

At the end of day four, the picture did not look any clearer, as Jimmy Adams on 15 would return on the final morning with the score on 144-4.

Openers Sherwin Campbell (6) and Adrian Griffith (23), had not given the middle order puch protection, but Wavell Hinds (63) and Shiv (31) had sought to restore some composure to the innings, but they too had fallen before the fourth day had ended, Akram the orchestrator of three of the four wickets.

Ramnaresh Sarwan was to enter the fray on the final morning and much was expected of him if the West Indies were to overhaul the 72 runs needed to win the match. A draw certainly wasn’t in question.

But Sarwan fell victim to the brilliant Akram, who snared his fourth wicket, getting the diminutive right-hander out leg before.

Ridley Jacobs then committed a sin early on the final morning, going run out for five. With Adams and the bowlers at the crease at 169-6, the West Indies were treading murky water.

Defeat was in the air, but so was Jimmy.

Franklyn Rose didn’t last long, waiting around for just 13 balls for his four runs, while Ambrose scored eight runs that included a six.

He was almost run out in the interim but it never mattered as Mushtaq would prove his undoing.

Things looked grim but the West Indies were getting ever closer.

Rose had gone at 177-7, and Sir Curtly had taken the Windies to 194-8.

King stayed around long enough for Jimmy to score a few runs and take the score to 197-9, but Akram struck again, bowling him all ends up as the pacer took an inelegant waft at a straight delivery.

Out came Courtney Walsh, who after his five-for in the first innings, and 1-39 from 20 miserly overs in the second, would not have expected to have more work to do, but he did.

The West Indies were still 19 runs adrift and nobody but nobody wanted to see Walsh, who had the unenviable record of not scoring on 36 occasions.

And Walsh could have, and likely should have been given out off the second ball he faced, as he was caught bat pad off the bowling of Mushtaq. Umpire Doug Cowie didn’t see it and there was no third umpire to plead Mushtaq’s case.

But Walsh would have to face more of Mushtaq because Jimmy was not letting him anywhere near Akram.

“When Walsh came in, I remember telling him that the only chance we had was for him not to face Wasim. He said fine, and that he would do the best he could against Saqlain or whoever else it was from the other end. I told him, "Look, either it will work or it won't work, but it's going to take time. I'm going to refuse runs because I'm going to try not to have you face Wasim," Jimmy recollected.

The crowd at the Antigua Recreation Ground gave Jimmy a hard time for refusing runs, booing and the like, but they never understood what he did and what he had the discipline to employ. Akram was a master and would not need too many deliveries to get rid of Walsh.

But calamity was never far away and Walsh and Jimmy ended up in the same crease during what should have been an easy run.

“I can't remember where the ball went. All I know is that Courtney was ball-watching. I just thought at some point he would actually look at me and run. I said to him, "Courtney, you've got longer legs than me, so you need to try and get up to the next end." And Courtney was telling me: "Well, I might have longer legs, but you are still quicker. So you give it your best shot."”

Fortunately, Mushtaq and Younis Khan conspired to miss the catch in the former’s case and throw poorly in the instance of the latter.

Adams, somewhere around 2pm on the final day, would dab a ball into the outfield with the scores tied and that would be the end of that.

Akram would end the game with 11 wickets, two short of 400, and Jimmy, in his second series as captain, was over the moon, scoring 60 and an unbeaten 48.

“For West Indies it was a good end to a very tight Test match. But I will never discuss that Test without paying tribute to Wasim. He is the best fast bowler I have ever played, not just in that Test, but in my career. I put more value on that 48 than probably most of my Test hundreds because of the situation, the pressure, the quality of the bowling,” Jimmy would say of the game years later.

Blessed with pace, swing and the ability to bowl an explosive bouncer, Malcolm Marshall was arguably the best bowler of the West Indies attack in the 1980s.

He also possessed an uncanny ability to outthink any batsman. He later developed a serious leg-cutter that made him even more cunning.

His strike rate of 46.22 was phenomenal, his average of 20.95 equally so.

In 1984, he broke his left thumb while fielding early in a Test against England but with his left hand in a plaster cast, destroyed the England batting, taking 7 for 53.

Four years later, on an Old Trafford wicket prepared specifically for spinners, he pitched the ball up and swung and cut it to such devastating effect that he took 7 for 22.

Marshall died of cancer in 1991 at the age of 41.

 

Career Statistics

Full name: Malcolm Denzil Marshall

Born: April 18, 1958, Bridgetown, Barbados

Died: November 4, 1999, Bridgetown, Barbados (aged 41 years 200 days)

Bowling style: Right-arm fast

 

Test Career: West Indies (1978-1991)

 

Mat    Inns    Balls     Runs    Wkts   BBI     BBM       Ave      Econ    SR        4w     5w     10w

81      151     17584   7876     376    7/22    11/89    20.94    2.68    46.7     19      22       4 

 

Career Highlights

  • Often regarded as best West Indies fast bowler
  • Best average of any bowler over 300 Test wickets (20.94)
  • 3rd best strike rate of any bowler over 300 wickets (46.77)

Secured 376 wickets in 81 Tests                    

Sir Garfield Sobers is one of the first cricketers in history to excel at all aspects of the game and many recognize him as the sport’s greatest all-rounder.

His exploits with the bat are the stuff of legends and make the uninitiated about the history of cricket fall prey to ignoring the fact that Sir Garry was also a bowler of no small stature.

Unlike many all-rounders in the list of greats SportsMax has compiled, Sir Garry was a spinner of both orthodox and leg-spin, as well as a fast-medium bowler of great skill.

That combination in a player at the highest level has yet to be replicated. Sir Garry would end his career having picked off four wickets in a match on eight occasions, as well as six five-fors. His best bowling performance among the 235 wickets he picked up from 93 Tests was 6-73, but he also had 8-80 in a match.

In fact, Sir Garry began playing for Barbados as a bowler and even made the Test team at 17 in that capacity. Four years later, though, his then World Record 365 not out, staked his claim as the world’s best batsman and for a long time, the best the world had ever seen.

To top it off, Sir Garry was an ace fielder anywhere, but he was particular superb close to the wicket.

 

Career Statistics

Full name: Garfield St. Aubrun Sobers

Born: July 28th, 1936 in Bridgetown, Barbados

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

Batting style: Left-handed

Bowling style: left-arm orthodox, wrist spin as well as seam

Role: All-rounder

Height: 5 ft 11 in

 

Test Career (Batting): West Indies (1954-1974)

Mat    Inns    NO     Runs   HS     Ave     100s    50s  

93       160      21     8032    365*  57.78       26      30

 

Test Career (Bowling): West Indies (1954-1974)

Mat    Inns    Balls   Runs     Wkts    BBI      BBM     Ave    Econ    SR     4w     5w     10w

93     159    21599     7999      235       6/73     8/80     34.03   2.22     91.9     8       6          0

 

Career Highlights

  • Affectionately called “Garry Sobers”
  • Scored 8032 Test runs and took 235 wickets
  • Captained West Indies in 39 matches, winning 9 and losing 10
  • Widely regarded as the greatest All-rounder of all-time

Windies spinner Hayden Walsh insists he would have very little issue playing in front of an empty stadium for the upcoming edition of the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) as it would be like playing regional cricket.

The CPL is slated to get under way in August of this year but there is a lot of uncertainty, not just regarding its staging, but also the format it will take as well.  One of the ideas being floated around suggests a ‘social distancing’ version of the tournament, which would be held at Barbados' Kensington Oval.

While some players have claimed an empty stadium could be awkward, Walsh, who is a part of the defending champion Barbados Tridents, has insisted it would be business as usual.  Unlike the massive crowds associated with the CPL, the regional competitions do struggle at times to attract any significant crowd following.

“We still have quite some time to try and get ready while we are waiting for the tournament to come around. We see some progress with the region recovering from the virus, and probably at the start, it may affect the tournament where the social distancing is concerned, and it might not, but I am used to playing in front of an empty stadium in regional cricket where pretty much no one comes sometimes, so I guess it would be business as usual,” Walsh told the Antigua Observer.

Walsh, the tournament’s top wicket-taker last season, was one of nine Barbados Tridents retained.  The list also includes captain Jason Holder, Johnson Charles, Shai Hope and Raymon Reifer, Ashley Nurse and Johnathan Carter.

 

West Indies cricket legend Deryck Murray believes the current generation of cricketers has, to some extent, lost the meaning of what it means to represent the regional team.  

The 76-year-old former wicketkeeper played 88 matches in 10 years for what is generally referred to as the ‘all-conquering’ West Indies squad.  The team proved themselves to be the best in the world after capturing back-to-back ICC World Cup titles with wins over Australia and England at the 1975 and 1979 editions. 

For the current crop, however, those glory days have long faded.  The team has captured two world titles of its own in the freshly minted T20 format, but when it comes to the traditional ODI and Test formats, they have for the most part lost far more often than they have won.

Murray believes a part of the team’s recent failures is down to losing the significance of what it means to be on the pitch for the West Indies and the passion required to succeed.

“I’d love to give them an understanding of what it really means to represent the West Indies.  I think that is something that would be difficult to assimilate without the kind of mentorship that I had and I’m sure a number of youngsters coming into the team in my era had,” Murray told Barbados radio show, Mason and Guest, recently.

“I think now people talk about cricket as a job, you have to be professional. You have to do this you have to do that.  You have to hit a 100 balls in practice.  That’s not what international cricket is about.  International cricket is about the desire to play a Test match, to win a Test match, to win a Test series,” he added.

“It has nothing to do with how much you get paid or how much the coach gets paid or whatever.  It’s about wanting to do something, and you want to do it and go out and train.  Because you train for 35 minutes a day you recognize you really could train 40 minutes and it won’t hurt me.  When you do 40 minutes you think I can do an hour and you keep going.”

“…You need to get into the passion for what it is that you are doing and how you are doing it.  You need to believe that there is a meritocracy and feel that if you are the best the coaches and selectors will pick you…it’s as much as about the psychological game as much as the actual technique of batting and bowling.”

England Test captain Joe Root is in support of finding a way to make sure his side can welcome a visit from the West Indies as early as July.

For that to happen, the players would have to go through rigid isolation and testing protocols, as well as austere social distancing measures.

Of course, the proposal will include officials as well as media and the England skipper thinks it can work.

“I’m optimistic about it. It would be a real shame if it doesn’t happen. The public are desperate for some live sport and the guys are missing it,” said Root.
“The players would be sectioned off in one part of the hotel and would be in isolation together. There would be no interaction with the media, the TV crews or even the opposition when off the pitch.

“We would have separate lunchrooms. It would have a different feel to it but it’s probably manageable. Hopefully that is the case.”

According to the proposals, the three Tests would be played at ‘bio-secure’ venues behind closed doors.

Those venues, the proposal points out, are those that have hotels on location, like Manchester, Southampton and Headingly.

Root, while optimistic, is cognizant of the fact that Cricket West Indies (CWI) would have to take the risk.

In response, West Indies Test captain Jason Holder, has said his side would have to be certain of their safety before saying yes to such a proposal.

“This thing has been really, really serious as we all know and has claimed quite a few lives throughout the world and that’s the last thing any of us would really want,” said Holder.

“I think we’ve got to play the safety card first before we can even think about resuming our normal lives.”

In the meantime, CWI Chief Executive, Johnny Grave, has said the England Cricket Board’s proposals were being considered but that first all the moving parts would have to be understood.
England will be desperate to get back the Wisden Trophy they lost to the West Indies last year for the first time in a decade.

Blessed with a free-stroking, aggressive style best suited for limited-overs cricket, West Indian Chris Gayle has also had a solid career as a Test batsman.

His 79-ball century at Cape Town in January 2004, on the back of a South African first- innings score of 532, was typical of his no-holds-barred approach.

However, Gayle has also shown the ability to bat long periods and the hunger to make big scores. In 2009 against Australia, Gayle batted almost seven-and-a-half hours in scoring an unbeaten 165 to save the Test in Adelaide; in the very next game, though, he smashed the fifth-fastest Test century - off 70 balls - to indicate that quick-scoring remained his preferred method.

The following year he batted almost ten hours and scored 333 against Sri Lanka and Muralitharan in Galle, becoming only the fourth batsman to score two triples in Tests, thus proving again, his ability to bat long periods.

He is the most capped player for the West Indies in international cricket and is the only player to score a triplet of centuries – a triple hundred in Tests, double hundred in ODIs and a hundred in T20Is.

 

Career Statistics 

Full name: Christopher Henry Gayle 

Born: September 21, 1979, Kingston, Jamaica

Major Teams: Balkh Legends, Barisal Burners, Chattogram Challengers, Chittagong Vikings, D Ganga's XI, Dhaka Gladiators, Dolphins, Hooper XI, ICC World XI, Jacobs XI, Jacques Kallis Invitational XI, Jamaica, Jamaica Tallawahs, Jozi Stars, Karachi Kings, Kings XI Punjab, Kolkata Knight Riders, Lahore Qalandars, Lions, Marylebone Cricket Club, Matabeleland Tuskers, Melbourne Renegades, Rangpur Riders, Royal Challengers Bangalore, RR Sarwan's XI, Somerset, St Kitts and Nevis Patriots, Stanford Superstars, Sydney Thunder, Vancouver Knights, West Indies Under-19s, Western Australia, Worcestershire

Playing Role: Opener

Batting Style: Left-hand bat

Bowling Style: Right-arm off-break

Test Batting Averages - West Indies (2000-2014)

Mat      Inns     NO       Runs    HS   Ave      BF       SR       100      50       

103      182      11     7214    333   42.18   11970  60.26   15       37       

 

Career highlights 

  • One of four batsmen to pass 300 more than once in Tests
  • One of five West Indians to carry bat in Tests
  • Eighth fastest century in Tests (70 balls)
  • The first player to hit all 6 balls in an over for four in Tests
  • The first player to hit the first ball of a Test match for six

Very few players in Test Cricketing history have managed to combine batting and wicket-keeping as consistently and successfully as Dujon has. Agile and acrobatic in his movements, and possessed of a great pair of hands, he was riveting to watch as he handled the pace of the great fast bowlers of his time. Men such as Holding, Roberts, Marshall, Garner, Ambrose, and Walsh benefitted greatly from his ability to do the spectacular.

He remains in the top five on the all-time world list, and No.1 in the history of West Indies Cricket in dismissals with 267 catches and five stumpings. Jeffrey Dujon is the only West Indian cricketer to have played for a decade and never have lost a test series.

Dujon's runs for West Indies were often made after the dashing top-order batsmen had for once charged into oblivion, whereupon he and Gus Logie would set about rebuilding the innings. He scored 110 against India in the Antigua Test of 1982-83, 130 against Australia at Port of Spain in 1983-84, 101 against England at Old Trafford in 1984, 139 at Perth in 1984-85, and 106 not out against Pakistan in 1987-88.

 

Career Statistics

Full name:  Peter Jeffrey Leroy Dujon

Born:    28 May 1956 (age 63)

Kingston, Jamaica

Batting:  Right-handed

Bowling: Right-arm medium pace

Major Team: West Indies (1981-1991)

Role: Wicketkeeper

 

            Mat    Inns    NO     Runs   HS     Ave     100    50      Ct    St

Tests   81     115        11      3322   139    31.94         5    16     267     5

 

 

Achievements

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