A film about West Indies batting icon Brian Lara, featuring rarely seen archive footage and stills, will open TT Film Festival on Wednesday night in Trinidad and Tobago.

The West Indies are about to play against England in England for the Wisden Trophy and we at SportsMax thought it may be interesting to look back at the best performances from the Caribbean side in that country.

The West Indies lead England in head to heads, 57-49, with 51 drawn games between the teams.

The teams began to play for the Wisden Trophy in 1963 and since then have won the series 14 times to England’s 10, though this year’s hosts have been dominant recently, save for last year when the West Indies wrested the trophy from them in a 2-1 win. There have been three drawn series since 1963.

But performing in England has always been tough and good performances there have always been counted at a premium, living in the memories of batsmen, bowlers and fans for a very very long time.

Here are the performances that stand out in my mind, tell me if you have others you remember. Comment on these performances on Facebook or Twitter, I wouldn’t mind the trip down memory lane.

 

Best XI West Indian performances in England

 

Allan Rae and Frank Worrell lay into England (The Oval 1950)

Centuries from Allan Rae and Frank Worrell helped the West Indies to win their first series against England in England.

The West Indies would end up winning the series 3-1 but that was set up from the first innings of the first Test where, electing to bat first, Rae bat for five hours to score 109, while Worrell, batting at number three, did the same to score 138.

The West Indies would go on to score 503, before limiting England to 344 and 103 to win by an innings and 56 runs.

 

Sobers goes on show, Charlie Griffiths works up a head of steam (Headingley (1963)

Sir Garfield Sobers scored 102 against England at Headingley as the West Indies won the fourth Test of their 1963 series against England, setting up a first-innings total of 397, which quickly turned into a 223-run lead thanks to Charlie Griffiths’ 6-36. The performances set up a 221-run victory and the series would end 3-1 in favour of the visitors.

 

Lance Gibbs turns Old Trafford on its head (Old Trafford, 1966)

In 1966 Lance Gibbs was the greatest spinner in the world and England crumbled at the feet of his twirling in the first Test of their series. Following on from Garfield Sobers’ 161 in a first innings at Old Trafford where the West Indies scored 484, Gibbs’ 5-37 left England flapping at 167 all out. The follow-on didn’t go any better for the hosts, with Gibbs bagging 5-69 from a marathon 41 overs of bowling. The West Indies would go on to win that 1966 series 3-1.

 

Lloyd, Boyce take over the Oval (The Oval, 1973)

Cllive Lloyd scored 132 in the first innings of the first Test at The Oval in 1973, but that was just part of the story of the way the West Indies dominated made their way to a 158-run victory and a 2-0 series win against England. Keith Boyce only played 21 Tests for the West Indies over the course of four years but in 1973 England had no answer to him. Lloyd’s Innings proved the catalyst fo the West Indies’ 415-run first innings byt then Boyce returned to bag 5-70 to restrict England to 257 and give the visitors a decided advantage. The West Indies would quickly score 255 before Boyce was back at it again, taking 6-77 on the way to dismissing England for 255.

 

VIV Richards shows complete dominance (Trent Bridge, 1976)

Sir Isaac Vivian Alexander Richards is a name that really needs no introduction and England would feel the brunt of his brutality on many occasions. In 1976, the West Indies won a five-Test series in England 3-0, but Richards was dominant from ball one. Batting at his customary number three in the first Test of the series, Richards would help the West Indies to 494 runs in a first innings where he slammed 232. When England responded with 332 in their first innings, the West Indies needed to score quick runs so they could declare with enough time to bowl England out a second time. Richards obliged with 63 and even though the match ended in a draw, the performance of the Master Blaster.

 

Gordon Greenidge puts his name in the Lord’s book in emphatic style  (Lord’s 1984)

The second Test of a series against England at Lord’s had a number of brilliant performances from both teams. England’s Graeme Fowler had scored a fighting 106 in his side’s 286. The low total was brought about by Malcolm Marshall’s special bowling performance of 6-85. That bowling performance was superseded by Ian Botham’s 8-103 to help restrict the West Indies to 245. In the second innings, England declared on 300-9 thanks to Allan Lamb’s 110. Chasing 341 in the second innings, Gordon Greenidge eclipsed all those performances with a sparkling 214 not out, as the West Indies romped to 344-1 in just 66.1 overs. Larry Gomes got a front seat to the action, scoring 92. The West Indies would go on to win the series 5-0.

 

Malcolm Marshall leaves England a little short (Lord’s 1988)

From the lates 1970s until the mid-1990s the West Indies could depend on one part or another of their team to pull them out of tough situations. In the second Test of their 1988 Wisden Trophy series against England, they were up against it early with Gus Logie’s 81 helping the West Indies to just 209. But Malcolm Marshall proved that any total could be enough, destroying England with 6-32 and leaving the game well balanced and maybe giving the West Indies a slight advantage.

Gordon Greenidge’s 103 gave the West Indies a good lead headed into England’s second innings and despite Allan Lamb’s 113, Marshall’s brilliance meant they never got close. The West Indies won by 134 runs and Marshall took 4-60 to end with figures of 10-92.

 

The Ambrose and Walsh show take over Trent Bridge (Trent Bridge, 1991)

The West Indies conveyor belt of fastbowlers had begun to run dry by 1991 but they still had the services of Malcolm Marshall, Courtney Andrew Walsh and Curtly Ambrose. And while they would lose the Wisden Trophy to England that year, there was one Test at Trent Bridge where Ambrose and Walsh reminded the world of the great days of fastbowling and pointed to what would become the most successful opening bowling partnership in World cricket for the next 10 years. In the first innings, led by Graeme Gooch’s 68, England scored 300 all out, but it would have been a much higher total had it not been for 34 overs from Ambrose that yielded 5-74. The West Indies would go into the second innings with a healthy 97-run lead, thanks in large part to Viv Richards’ 80. When England bat again, Walsh made sure the West Indies would not have much to chase, bagging 4-64. In that England second innings, Ambrose had 3-61.

 

Richie Richardson plays anchor role (Edgbaston, 1991)

Richie Richardson had the reputation for being an aggressive batsman, who hooked and pulled his way out of trouble for the most part, but at Edgbaston, in 1991 a different type of batsman was called for. England had been dismissed for 188 courtesy of Malcolm Marshall, 4-33, and Curtly Ambrose, 3-64. But the West Indies were in trouble with the bat as well, with Chris Lewis running rampant for England with 6-111. Standing in the way though, Richardson, recognizing that wickets were falling all around him, faced 229 deliveries to score 104, his strike rate of 45.41, unusually low for his aggressive nature. The innings helped the West Indies to 292 and set up a seven-wicket win  

 

Lara’s 179, Hooper’s 127 keeps things even against England (Kennington Oval, 1995)

With the six-Test series tied at 2-2 headed into the final game, the West Indies, a team in decline by 1995, needed to make sure they did not lose.

England had scored 454 thanks to Graeme Hick’s 96 and despite Curtly Ambrose’s 5-96. Replying, the West Indies scored 692-8, building a lead of  238 to make sure the game could not be lost. The total is still the biggest without featuring a double-century from a batsman, but there was still much brilliance on show. Brian Lara for instance, scored a masterful 179 from just 206 deliveries, slamming 26 fours and a six. But Lara didn’t have to do it alone, with Carl Hooper scoring 127, skipper Richie Richardson, scoring 93, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, scoring 80, and Sherwin Campbell scoring 89. As a team, that was probably the last time the West Indies showed complete dominance with the bat in England.

 

Shai Hope becomes an immortal at Headingley (Headingley 2017)

Still a growing team, the West Indies unit that went to England in 2017 were expected to be thrashed and they were. While the defeat in the three-Test series was only 2-1, and the a result came down to the final Test, the truth is the teams were world’s apart. In that second Test though, the West Indies learned they could not only compete, but they could win in England. Ben Stokes had scored a century to prop up England’s first innings at 258, as Shannon Gabriel and Kemar Roach with four wickets apiece gave West Indies real hope. Then Kraigg Brathwaite with 134 and Shai Hope with 147, pushed the West Indies advantage, the innings ending at 427. England were up against it but batted well to score 490-8 and give the West Indies a serious total to chase. Again, Brathwaite and Hope were on show. Brathwaite fell for 95, agonizingly close to a second century in the match, but there was no stopping Hope, who was unbeaten at the end, scoring 118to lead the West Indies to 322-5 and a famous victory.

Legendary West Indian umpire has admitted watching iconic batsman Brian Lara was always somewhat of a guilty pleasure and that behind the stumps was the best place to be when the batsman was on the go.

The 74-year-old official stood in 128 Test matches and 181 One Day Internationals (ODI) in a career that spanned 20 years.  While admitting an affinity for the destructive power of Viv Richards, the Jamaican-born umpire admits there was something otherworldly about Lara.

“Viv Richards, the Master Blaster, I rate him very highly on my list because he destroyed every type of bowling…then there is Brian Lara who I think is the best thing the eyes can behold when he is on the go.  He was poetry in motion.  He did things that others couldn’t do,” Bucknor told the Mason and Guest Radio program.

"Once he was on the go then Lara is the batsman that I enjoyed umpiring.  In other words, I didn’t want to be a spectator when Lara is batting, I wanted to be in the middle to enjoy the cricket there.  As someone who has played the game you must enjoy the game out there,” he added.

“Umpires enjoy the game. In your heart, you cheer. You clap in your heart to see a good shot.  You clap in your heart to see a good delivery.  You enjoy that but you cannot show it on your face, in your eyes or anywhere.”  

 

A panel of experts thought better of booting Glenn McGrath from the early reckonings for a place among the SportsMax Ultimate XI team with the Aussie eventually forcing his way into the final picks.

In the final analysis, India seems the place for producing One-Day International (ODI) players of real quality with the country holding onto four of the 11 spots up for grabs in the team.

At the top of the order in the SportsMax Ultimate XI are Indians Sachin Tendulkar and Rohit Sharma, while current India skipper Virat Kohli holds one of the three middle-order spots and Mahendra Singh Dhoni holds onto the wicketkeeper-batsman place in the side.

The West Indies, having won two World Cups in its history and making a final and a couple of semi-finals, are not far behind the Indians, holding down three places with Viv Richards hanging onto a middle-order place and Joel Garner making being part of the bowling attack.

Pakistan, who won the World Cup in 1992, led by Imran Khan also get two spots with the winning captain holding onto the allrounder position and Wasim Akram, the man who was seen as his heir apparent, asked to run in and swing the ball at pace.

Sri Lanka has for its only representative, Muttiah Muralitharan, while the Australian interest in the side has been decimated with just McGrath still standing from the plethora of greats they have produced.

 

Ultimate XI:

Sachin Tendulkar, Rohit Sharma, Viv Richards, Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers, MS Dhoni, Imran Khan, Wasim Akram, Joel Garner, Glenn McGrath, Muttiah Muralitharan

 

Last week fans were left aghast after a panel of experts and the SportsMax Zone picked a middle-order from three-five, without Brian Lara, a man generally agreed to be the region’s best-ever batsman.

 

Fanalyst Picks

Sachin Tendulkar, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Brian Lara, AB de Villiers, Jacques Kallis, MS Dhoni, Muttiah Muralitharan, Wasim Akram, Curtly Ambrose, Glenn McGrath

 

That decision stood with the panel and the experts and the SportsMax Zone’s combining to create an unbeatable 60% of the total votes.

The same was true for Curtly Ambrose, who the fans decided was the ultimate One-Day International bowler but had to watch as the Zone and the panel left him out in favour of Joel Garner.

Fans also did not get their way with the allrounder pick for the Ultimate XI, as, once again, the Zone and the panel joined forces to pick Imran ahead of their favourite, Jacques Kallis.

Still, there was some joy for the Fanalysts, who benefit from voting for McGrath.

McGrath was not in the final XI picked by the SportsMax Zone, who had to watch as one of their picks, Michael Holding was left out.

 

Zone Picks

Sachin Tendulkar, Rohit Sharma, Viv Richards, Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers, MS Dhoni,

Imran Khan, Muttiah Muralitharan, Wasim Akram, Joel Garner, Michael Holding

 

Panel’s Picks

Sachin Tendulkar, Rohit Sharma, Viv Richards, Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers, MS Dhoni,

Imran Khan, Muttiah Muralitharan, Wasim Akram, Joel Garner, Glenn McGrath

In 1993 a score of 284 was challenging and when Pakistan’s Basit Ali took a liking to Curtly Ambrose, Anderson Cummins and Carl Hooper, the West Indies were in trouble.

It was the final of the Pepsi Champions Trophy in Sharjah and the West Indies faced a powerful Pakistan inclusive of Saeed Anwar, Inzamam-ul-Haq and Saleem Malik.

Electing to field first, The Richie Richardson led West Indies must have thought they were in a great position after Anwar and Aemer Sohail struggled to get going, scoring 16 from 26 deliveries and 10 from 40 respectively.

Things looked even more promising when Sohail was caught at slip by Brian Lara off the bowling of Kenny Benjamin.

Inzamam was not known for really pushing the scoring rate and his 30 from 51 deliveries would not have scared the West Indies but there were signs that the tide was turning with Malik at the other end putting on a good display.

Malik would go on to score 84 from 96 deliveries but that was after Courtney Walsh had Inzamam caught by Desmond Haynes.

While Malik’s batting was inspired and helped to bring some stability to a flagging innings, it was the entrance of Basit Ali that really turned the game around for Pakistan.

Basit wasted no time in getting to work, hoisted Ambrose over midwicket for a massive six on one occasion, the innings including five such strikes. Ali wasn’t just dealing in sixes though as he slammed 12 boundaries on his way to a 67-ball century. The final 50 of that 100 took just 25 deliveries.

Basit would end unbeaten on 127 from 79 balls with wicketkeeper Rashid Latif on two for company while Pakistan were 284-4, a much better position than they had seemed they would get into.

The opening pair of Desmond Haynes and Phil Simmons, who had replaced the retired Gordon Greenidge was broken up as a 24-year-old Brian Charles Lara walked at the top.

The move was made to get the innings going and give the West Indies the best chance at chasing down what, at the time, was a mammoth total.

The Trinidad and Tobago batsman, already seen as arguably the best in the world, was up for the task, even after losing Desmond Haynes for just three.

Ata-ur-Rehman did not have a long international career but had a growing reputation for getting the better of good batsmen and when he rubbed Haynes’ edge on the way through to Latif Pakistan must have felt they were in a good place with the West Indies at 29-1.

Simmons had been struggling for form in international cricket but he was in a belligerent mood and proceeded to form a partnership worth 111 with Lara. Simmons accounted for 42 of that century partnership, scoring his runs from 38 deliveries before he was caught and bowled by Malik.

Lara had already been the dominant partner, scoring 69 runs from the 111, but had to take a back seat as another stylish left hander took over the reins.

Keith Arthurton would score 44 during that fateful final, slamming his tally off just 30 balls from a partnership with Lara worth 73.

At 213 for three and Lara having scored 100 from 93 deliveries, the game was over as Richardson pushed the ball around in a bid to ensure there were no hiccups for the West Indies.

Richardson would end unbeaten on 15 from 50 deliveries, while Carl Hooper scored five from 11 to also finish not out.

Lara was the final wicket to go, taking the West Indies to 273-4 before Mushtaq Ahmed had him caught behind.

The innings, which interestingly did not include a single six, was made, in large part, courtesy of 21 boundaries. The 143 deliveries Lara faced, nearly half the innings, made the victory over Pakistan a fairly run-of-the-mill affair after the West Indies got to 285-4 with almost five overs still to be bowled.

Barcelona great Xavi bade farewell in style on this day five years ago as he claimed a fourth Champions League title.

Elsewhere on June 6, Brian Lara set the cricket record books alight in the midst of a phenomenal 1994 purple patch, while an icon of the tennis world has great memories of this day in 1999.

Here we look back on those and some other landmark sporting moments.

 

1994 - Lara racks up 501

West Indies batsman Lara apparently did not satisfy his unquenchable thirst for runs when scoring a Test record 375 against England in Antigua.

On English soil two months later, he scored 501 not out for Warwickshire against Durham, surpassing Hanif Mohammad's 499.

It could have been very different as Lara made an uncertain start – bowled off a no ball on 12 and then dropped by wicketkeeper Chris Scott.

The Durham gloveman's error proved unfathomably costly as Lara smashed 62 fours and 10 sixes to reach his still unsurpassed milestone from 427 deliveries. Starting with the 375, it was his seventh century in eight first-class innings.

 

1997 - Rose finally blooms

Considering his breakout performance as a teenager at the Open Championship came in 1998, Justin Rose had to bide his time when it came to waiting for first PGA Tour title.

However, he took the opportunity in style when his moment came at the 2010 Memorial Tournament.

Four strokes off the lead at the start of the final day, Rose shot an imperious 66 to finish on 18 under and win by three strokes from Rickie Fowler.

In 2013, the Englishman claimed his maiden major triumph at the U.S. Open.

 

1999 - Agassi completes career Grand Slam

Andre Agassi's designs on completing tennis' career Grand Slam appeared to be slipping through his fingers when he fell two sets behind to Ukraine's Andrei Medvedev in the final of the 1999 French Open.

But he stormed back to complete a 1-6 2-6 6-4 6-3 6-4 triumph, converting a fourth match point in the decider. It made Agassi the first man in 30 years to win all four grand slams.

"It's been a lot of years since I've had this opportunity and I never thought I would see this day," he said, having won Wimbledon in 1992, the 1994 US Open and the 1995 Australian Open.

That Roland Garros triumph sparked a late career surge from Agassi, who lost the Wimbledon final to Pete Sampras and won a second US Open later that year, preceding a trio of Australian crowns in 2000, 2001 and 2003.

 

2001 - Iverson steps over Lee

In 2001, Iverson produced one of the greatest moments in NBA Finals history.

With less than a minute of overtime remaining, Philadelphia 76ers star Iverson made a 16-foot jump shot that Tyronn Lue of the Los Angeles Lakers leant in to contest.

As the ball dropped through the hoop, Lue lost his footing and Iverson mockingly stepped over him in celebration – an iconic image that sits uneasily with its main protagonist.

“I don’t like it [people making fun of Lue] because I love him," Iverson told ESPN in 2016. "I don’t like people joking on him and all that, because that’s my man."

The Lakers collectively had the last laugh, storming back from their opening night reverse to take the series 4-1. Iverson top scored for the 76ers in each game and ended the Finals with 178 points – a record for a five-game series.

 

2015 - Barca complete 'MSN' treble

Luis Enrique's fabulous Barcelona side – inspired by the MSN forward line of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar – completed their 2014-15 treble with a 3-1 Champions League final win over Juventus in Berlin.

Ivan Rakitic gave the Catalan club an early lead but Alvaro Morata levelled for Juve 10 minutes after the interval.

Suarez restored the advantage midway through the second half before Neymar made sure of victory deep into stoppage time.

For Xavi, it amounted to the perfect farewell at his boyhood club, having also lifted the Champions League in 2006, 2009 and 2011.

The Prince of Port of Spain did not pay enough respect to One-Day International cricket, so says world-renowned cricket umpire and commentator Chris Taylor and his opinions seem to have found favour with both the SportsMax Zone and a panel of experts picking SportsMax’s Ultimate ODI XI.

That favour does not extend to the Fanalysts picking the SportsMax Ultimate XI online though.

For them, Brian Lara is the first name that should be counted among batsmen 3-5.

Already, Lara has the most votes with India’s Virat Kohli running a close second. The final spot, according to the Fanalyst should go to ‘Mr 360’, South Africa’s AB de Villiers.

Just outside of the running for the Fanalyst is Sir Vivian Richards.

Neither the panel nor the SportsMax Zone would dare to leave Sir Viv out again after Fanalysts swung the Test XI voting in favour of Australia’s Don Bradman.

Thus far, the Zone and the panel have been moving in lock-step, both picking Rohit Sharma and Sachin Tendulkar as their openers and both coming up with Viv Richards, AB de Villiers and Virat Kohli as their batsmen from 3-5.

That means, of course, there is no space for fan favourite Lara, while all three groups are in agreement that Ricky Ponting, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Ross Taylor, Mike Hussey, Michael Bevan, Kumar Sangakarra, Inzamam-ul-Haq, and Aravinda de Silva don’t quite match up, as great as they all are.

The Ultimate Test XI is done and the fans have made their votes count, overruling a panel of experts and the SportsMax Zone to pick two spinners in their line-up.

From jump street, the fans looked as if they would not be swayed by the opinions of the Zone and the panel, who had to get their ducks in a row if they wanted the final say on who makes SportsMax’s Ultimate XI.

Whereas all were agreed that India’s Sunil Gavaskar was probably the greatest opener the world has ever seen as was a shoo-in for the first opening spot on offer, the fans disagreed with the panel and the Zone on the other opener. Hands down, Fanalysts believed Gordon Greenidge, despite boasting a lower average than most in the Ultimate XI Test shortlist, was the man for the job.

The Fanalysts were outvoted as the Zone, who had 30% of all votes and the panel, who had another 30, believed Australia’s Matthew Hayden the man to walk to the crease in partnership with Gavaskar.

Then there were other differences of opinion. According to the panel, the greatest middle-order batsmen of all time, read Brian Lara, Sachin Tendulkar, and Sir Vivian Richards.

The Zone team, despite being made up of solely Caribbean journalists, disagreed. Sir Viv, they said could not fill the third spot in that middle order ahead of an Australian, Sir Donald Bradman.

The Fanalysts agreed and put the weight of their 40% of the vote squarely behind the Australian great.

So now the fans missed out on one of their picks for opener and the panel missed out on one of their picks for a middle-order batsman.

At the allrounder position and the wicketkeeper position, there was unison as Fanalysts, Zone and panel believed Sir Garfield Sobers should fill the former position, while Australia’s Adam Gilchrist is the best the world has ever seen don gloves.

It is in the bowling category that the most controversy was expected and that’s where the most variance occurred.

According to the Zone, Malcolm Marshall, Curtly Ambrose, Wasim Akram and Muttiah Muralitharan would provide the greatest bowling attack the world has ever seen.

The panel disagreed.

The panel, believed Marshall a shoo-in, New Zealand’s Sir Richard Hadlee could not be left out, and South Africa’s Dale Steyn was the final pacer to make up a bowling attack that had one spinner in Muttiah Muralitharan.

Hadlee never stood a chance for the Fanalysts, and neither did Steyn for that matter.

For the Fanalysts, a choice between Muralitharan and Warne, the two bowlers with the most wickets in the history of Test cricket, was too difficult to make and they picked both.

That left space for just two pacers and the all-West-Indian pairing of Marshall and Ambrose was the obvious choice.

With 30 per cent of the vote going to Hadlee, and another 30 per cent going to Steyn, Warne easily made his way into the Ultimate XI with the Fanalysts offering him up with their 40.

Based on all the Ultimate XI profiles have told you about these players, tell us who was right.

Were the fans who got their way with Bradman and the two spinners right? Or is there something to be said for the experts who went with Hadlee and Steyn, or even the Zone, who decided on Akram?

Were the Fanalysts accurate in going against the grain with picking Greenidge ahead of Hayden, or were the Zone and the panel correct in overruling them?  

Crazy or not, we are trusting the Fanalysts again with our Ultimate XI ODI team. 

Check out the shortlist below, tell me who you would pick in the comments section on Facebook and Twitter then go and vote after we tell you how wrong you are. Voting begins later today after the SportsMax Zone on SportsMax.tv.

 

Brian Lara made his ODI debut against Pakistan on November 9, 1990. He made just 11 then but he would go on to amass more than 10,000 runs in his career, which perhaps was not as exceptional as one might have come to expect from one of the greatest batsmen who ever lived.

He made his first ODI hundred, 128, on February 19, 1993, against Pakistan and would add 18 more over the span of the next 14 years until his final game in 2007. His 169 against Sri Lanka in October 1995 was his best score in the limited-overs format, averaging 40.48 over the course of his career.

Along with his 18 ODI hundreds, the little magician from Trinidad also fashioned 63 half-centuries in the 299 matches he played.

 

Career Statistics

Full name: Brian Charles Lara

Born: May 2, 1969, Cantaro, Santa Cruz, Trinidad

Major teams: West Indies, ICC World XI, Marylebone Cricket Club, Mumbai Champs, Northern Transvaal, Southern Rocks, Trinidad & Tobago, Warwickshire

Playing role: Batsman

Batting style: Left-hand bat

Height: 5 ft 8 in

 

ODI Career: West Indies (1990-2007)

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

299         289          32         10405    169     40.48     13086      79.51        19           63          

 

Career Highlights

  • 2nd most runs in ODIs for the West Indies
  • Scored 19 centuries and 63 fifties in ODIs
  • 1st player for the West Indies to pass 10,000 ODI runs
  • Scored 10,405 runs at an average of 40.48

The all-time West Indies Championship is shaping up quite brilliantly and after this week, we’ll have just one more territory (Guyana) to pick an all-time best team from.

This week figuring out who the best players from Trinidad and Tobago could not have been a more difficult prospect.

The twin-island republic has created some wonderful talents over the years it has been a part of the West Indies Championship and to find XI has been a task and a half.

One of the interesting things about the territory is the number of all-rounders of real quality it has produced. Those allrounders compete with the specialists in a real way, making picking the team on the strict premise of six batsmen, a wicketkeeper and four bowlers very interesting.

But here is our effort at doing so.

As is usual, we ask you, the fans, to help us pick this team. Comment on Facebook and let us know if we missed anybody.

Best XI

Jeffrey Stollmeyer

Jeffrey Stollmeyer’s contribution to cricket in the West Indies is a thing of legends, the batsman running the West Indies Board of Control during a tumultuous time that involved the Packer series. Before that though, Stollmeyer produced first-class cricket for Trinidad and Tobago that only Brian Lara would surpass, averaging 44.61 throughout a career that would include 14 centuries and 38 half-centuries in just 117 games.

 

First-Class career: 1938-1957

Mat    Inns    NO     Runs     HS     Ave     100s     50s

117      194     16     7942      324    44.61     14       38 

 

 

Joey Carew

Joey Carew is the first man to lead Trinidad and Tobago to back-to-back Shell Shield titles. On the way to doing that, the legendary Trinidadian scored 13 centuries and 43 half-centuries at an average of 38.47. Carew was a stylish opening batsman, who, from the looks of him, should have scored more runs than he did, and he scored a lot.

 

First-Class career: 1955-1974

Mat    Inns    NO     Runs    HS     Ave     100s     50s 

129      221    18      7810     182    38.47     13       43  

 

 

Brian Lara

Brian Charles Lara’s name is always in the discussion when someone asks who is the greatest batsman of all time. The legendary left-hander made his presence felt in the First-Class arena as well, scoring 501 not out in a County Championship match for Warwickshire against Durham at Edgbaston. Those 501 runs can be added to a mammoth 22,156 the man dubbed The Prince of Port of Spain was to score in a fabulous career. He would end that career with not just the highest aggregate of runs for a Trinidad and Tobago batsman, but with the highest average of 51.88 and the most centuries and half-centuries, the number adding up to 65 and 88 respectively.

 

First-Class career: 1987-2008

Mat    Inns    NO     Runs     HS      Ave    100s    50s  

261      440     13     22156    501*   51.88     65      88    

 

 

Larry Gomes

It is interesting that Larry Gomes was seen as too diffident in the early days of his career, but those signs of a man lacking self-confidence were merely the coverings of a batsman learning what were his strengths and deciding to be the rock that would hold everything else in place without too much fanfare. That approach would lead to 32 first-class centuries and 63 half-centuries, figures that only the greatest batsman to come out of Trinidad and Tobago would eclipse. Gomes would end his first-class career with an average of 40.56, with only Brian Lara and Jeffrey Stollmeyer ever achieving higher. His tally of 12,982 runs was no small figure either.

 

First-Class career: 1971-1988

Mat    Inns    NO     Runs    HS      Ave       100s    50s

231      370     50     12982   200*   40.56        32      63 

 

 

Gerry Gomez

Gerry Gomez is one of those rare cricketers who can do it all. Averaging 43.64, inclusive of 14 centuries and 29 half-centuries, Gomez was a fine First-Class batsman, but he was also a fine medium pacer, bagging 200 wickets over the course of his 126-match-long career. Those 200 wickets came at an average of 25.26. The batting allrounder has taken 10 wickets in an innings on two occasions to combine with the five times he has had five-fers.

 

First-Class career: 1937-1956

Batting

Mat    Inns    NO     Runs     HS      Ave      100s     50s    

126      182     27      6764     216*   43.63      14       29      

Bowling

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

126               15178    5052      200     9/24   25.26    1.99    75.8                5         2

 

 

Charlie Davis

Charlie Davis can count himself unfortunate not to have had a significant West Indies career, the middle-order batsman doing his reputation no disservice in the 15 games he played at the top. As a West indies batsman he only played 15 Tests but scored four centuries and four half-centuries to end his career with an average of 54.20. His talent is clear, as at the First-Class level his 41.32 average is special as well, the batsman scoring 14 centuries and 28 fifties in his 90 games.

 

First-Class career: 1960-1976

Mat    Inns    NO     Runs     HS     Ave     100s     50s   

90       152     18      5538     183    41.32      14       28 

 

 

Denesh Ramdin (wicketkeeper) 1.59 dismissals per innings

Being the wicketkeeper of choice in a Trinidad and Tobago all-time best XI is no easy thing, with the likes of Deryck Murray in the list of those to choose from. However, with 15 centuries and 33 half-centuries to add to his 433 dismissals at the first-class level is hard to ignore. Murray had more but from nearly twice as many games with the two achieving a similar 1.5+ dismissals per match. The difference between the two is in their batting. Murray could bat, but scored just 10 centuries from his 362 games, compared to the 15 Ramdin has scored from just 161.

 

First-Class career: 2004-present

Mat    Inns    NO     Runs    HS      Ave      100s    50s     Ct          St

161      273     36     7115     166*   30.02      15      33       393        40

 

 

Learie Constantine

Learie Constantine is one of the first truly great allrounders to come out of the West Indies. Most decidedly, a bowling allrounder, Constantine took 438 first-class wickets at an average of 20.48 and at an even more incredible strike rate of 45.5. His 24.05 average with the bat could be higher but his five centuries and 28 fifties tell the story of a hard-hitting lower-order batsman who could win you a game from both sides of the game. He was also a remarkable fielder, who saved tonnes of runs and almost never dropped a catch.

 

First-Class career: 1955-1974

Batting

Mat    Inns    NO     Runs    HS     Ave    100s    50s   

119      197     11     4475     133    24.05     5       28     

Bowling

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

119               17393     8991      439      8/38                20.48    3.10      39.6                 25       4

 

 

Tony Gray

Tony Gray was tall, strong and really quick. His six-foot, six-inch frame generated alarming bounce and when his pace was added to that it made for nightmares. In just 122 First-Class matches Gray bagged 451 wickets at an average of 22.80. His strike rate of 45.5 makes him an elite bowler, probably worthy of more worldwide acclaim than he received.

 

First-Class career: 1983-1995

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

122                20548    10283         451       8/40                  22.80    3.00   45.5                19        4

 

 

Sonny Ramadhin

With buttoned sleeves, Sonny Ramadhin neatly pulled down 758 wickets, the most for a Trinidad and Tobago bowler, making him the most successful bowler, let alone spinner in the history of the twin-island republic’s history. If Ramadhin’s impact on the West Indies team was impressive, his impact on First-Class cricket was incredible. His best figures of 8-15 cannot find many matches, while his economy rate of 2.04 strangled many a team over the 16 years he twirled his offbreak.

 

First-Class career: 1949-1965

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

184                44937   15345      758      8/15                20.24    2.04     59.2                51      15

 

 

Ian Bishop

Back injuries slowed Ian Bishop, who when he started, was incredibly quick, making spectators gasp at the thudding of the ball into the wicketkeeper’s gloves despite the man behind the stumps standing halfway toward the boundary. Even as his pace slowed, Bishop remained a real threat, swapping some of that pace for guile and know-how. He still ended up with 549 wickets at an average of 23.06 and a strike rate of 48.3.

 

First-Class career: 1986-1999

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

159             26554     12665         549     7/34             23.06      2.86   48.3                23       1

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.

Panellists and the SportsMax Zone have gone through their picks for the batsmen who will make up SportsMax’s Ultimate XI Test team but fans (Fanalysts) are still coming up with theirs. The differences in opinions are there and all three groups have good arguments for them.

As far as openers go, both the SportsMax Zone and Panellists agree that Matthew Hayden and Sunil Gavaskar should be the first to face the bowling of any team that may be created to challenge the Ultimate XI Test lineup. The fans though, believe Gordon Greenidge should join Gavaskar at the opening position.

As far as batsmen 3-5 go, the Zone has picked Brian Lara, Sachin Tendulkar and Don Bradman, while the panellists have replaced Bradman with Sir Vivian Richards.

The Fanalysts have sided with panellists so far, meaning the batting line-up for the Ultimate XI at this point could look this way.

Sunil Gavaskar will face the first ball while Matthew Hayden will be at the non-striker’s end, while Sachin Tendulkar comes at three with Brian Lara walking at four. At the moment, Viv Richards is walking at five.

If this doesn’t represent your Ultimate XI you can change it by voting for the makeup of your team. The fanalyst vote counts for 40% of the overall decision and you can vote as many times as you want until May 22.

Click the link here to start voting or to submit your XI again.

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)

Wednesday marked the 66th anniversary of Roger Bannister's fabled sub four-minute mile.

Although sporting records are always there to be broken, some best marks will forever hold a special place.

Here, we look at some of the competitors whose defining performances will continue to echo through the ages.

 

ROGER BANNISTER

Helped by two pacemakers, Bannister thrilled crowds at Iffley Road, Oxford by clocking 3:59.4 for his four laps of the cinder track.

The record lasted only 46 days before Australia's John Landy shaved more than a second off Bannister's mark, while Morocco's Hicham El Guerrouj is the current men's mile record holder with 3:43.13. But Bannister's name will always be associated with the distance more than any other.

NADIA COMANECI

Elite stars at the top of their sports will often contend there is no such thing as perfection in competition, although the great Comaneci can always beg to differ.

As a 14-year-old at the 1976 Olympics, the Romanian superstar became the first gymnast to be awarded a perfect 10 for her performance on the uneven bars. She went on to achieve the same mark six more times in becoming the youngest all-around Olympic gold medallist.

BOB BEAMON

Before the long jump final at the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City, no man had jumped beyond 28 feet. American favourite Beamon broke through that barrier and the 29-foot mark for good measure with a truly remarkable leap.

Beamon's 8.90 metres remained a world record until Mike Powell hit 8.95m during his titanic tussle with Carl Lewis at the 1991 World Championships.

JIM HINES

Another United States track and field star to revel amid the altitude of Mexico City in 1968 was sprinter Hines.

He took gold in the 100m final with a time of 9.95 seconds, making him the first man to dip below 10 seconds without illegal wind assistance.

PELE

Three World Cup wins as the shining star of Brazil's prolonged golden era mean Pele does not need statistics to burnish his considerable legend.

And yet, at the Maracana on November 19, 1969, the 29-year-old Pele slotted home a 78th-minute penalty for Santos against Vasco da Gama for his 1,000th career goal. Even allowing for Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo's phenomenal exploits, it is hard to envisage anyone ever matching the 'milesimo'.

ARSENAL

Arsene Wenger invited widespread derision in 2002 when he suggested it was possible for his Arsenal team to go a whole Premier League campaign unbeaten. The season after, they did just that.

Preston North End had their own "Invincibles" back in 1888-89, although the First Division season was a mere 18 games long in those Victorian times. Formidable Manchester City and Liverpool sides falling short of Arsenal's unbeaten exploits in recent seasons have only underlined the scale of the achievement Wenger masterminded.

BRIAN LARA

West Indies great Lara made the biggest individual score in Test history when he plundered a mammoth 375 versus England in 1994 – a record that stood until October 2003, when Australia opener Matthew Hayden hit a merciless 380 at Zimbabwe's expense.

Back at St John's against the same opponent as in his initial exploits, Lara took the record back into his ownership a mere 185 days after Hayden's heroics, bringing up 400 not out for the first quadruple century in cricket's longest format.

AL GEIBERGER

Golf's modern era is increasingly littered with players hitting hot streaks and low scores but going below 60 for a round still holds considerable allure.

It was a different time in 1977 when Geiberger became the first player to shoot 59 on the PGA Tour, illuminating the second round of the Memphis Classic at Colonial Country Club. No one managed the feat again on a major tour for 14 years.

Keith Arthurton did not have a stellar career with the West Indies but there was one day in particular that his prodigious talent was on show and it was a beautiful moment to watch.

Page 1 of 3
© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.