Paul-Andre Walker

Paul-Andre Walker

Paul-Andre is the Managing Editor at SportsMax.tv. He comes to the role with almost 20 years of experience as journalist. That experience includes all facets of media. He began as a sports Journalist in 2001, quickly moving into radio, where he was an editor before becoming a news editor and then an entertainment editor with one of the biggest media houses in the Caribbean.

It is hard to believe Ben Stokes is only 28 years old. Already, he is shaping up to be the greatest allrounder England has ever produced. Stokes has had to show real character to get where he has, after two setbacks in his career that could have broken a lesser young man. Against the West Indies in the T20 World Cup in 2014, Stokes was the unfortunate bowler who Carlos Brathwaite took for four sixes on the trot to give the eventual champions an unlikely victory.

Then Stokes missed the 2017-18 Ashes because he was charged with ‘affray’ after a brawl at a Bristol nightclub. Stokes turned those two misfortunes around. In the first instance, winning the World Cup with England in remarkable fashion after scoring an unbeaten 84 before winning a super over in dramatic fashion.

He recovered from the setback of missing the Ashes England lost 4-0 by helping England thrash Sri Lanka 3-0 in a Test series months later. Stokes is involved in every aspect of what England does well. His combative personality along with undeniable skill make for comparisons with Ian Botham that are not unfounded. He averages 36.54 in Tests and has already scored more than 4,000 runs. Stokes has also racked up 147 wickets at an average of 32.68.

He registers as a fast-medium, but when he’s up he can be outright quick. When he’s batting he can go from stodgy defence when situations are tight to unleashing the most furious assaults on bowling attacks. Stokes for all intents is a man for all seasons.

Career Statistics

Full name: Benjamin Andrew Stokes

Born: June 4, 1991, Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand

Major teams: England, Canterbury, Durham, Durham 2nd XI, England Development Programme Under-19s, England Lions, England Performance Programme, England Performance Programme XI, England Under-19s, Melbourne Renegades, Rajasthan Royals, Rising Pune Supergiant

Playing role: Allrounder

Batting style: Left-hand bat

Bowling style: Right-arm fast-medium

 

Test Career (Batting): England (2013-present)

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

63       115       4       4056    258    36.54    6905    58.74       9       21  

Test Career (Bowling): England (2013-present)

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

63       106     8683    4804     147     6/22    8/161   32.68   3.31   59.0     5       4       0

 

Career Highlights

  • Fastest 250 in Tests (196 balls)
  • Most runs in a Test innings at number six (258)
  • Most runs in 1st session of a Test (130)
  • 1 of 7 players to score over 4000 runs and take 100 wickets in Tests

As one of only eight players to score 3000 runs and take 300 wickets, Daniel Vettori’s long graft in Test cricket has left him in the realm of the all-time greats. The left-arm orthodox spinner, at 18 years old, became the youngest player to player to play Test cricket for New Zealand. Most decidedly a bowling allrounder, although it would be remiss of his opponents to ignore his ability with the bat, Vettori held mastership over the subtle art of drift and variations in flight. Vettori was also a thinking bowler and would invariably keep changing his plans to a batsman until he found one that worked.

With the bat, Vettori would come in at number eight, and became the best at it, rescuing New Zealand time and again. Just as he was a bowler who depended on logic and sound reasoning to work out what to do next, so he was with the bat, assessing a situation and deciding what tac to take to bring his team positive results.

Career Statistics

Full name: Daniel Luca Vettori

Born: January 27, 1979, Auckland

Major teams: New Zealand, Delhi Daredevils, ICC World XI, Jamaica Tallawahs, Northern Districts, Nottinghamshire, Queensland, Royal Challengers Bangalore, Warwickshire

Playing role: Allrounder

Batting style: Left-hand bat

Bowling style: Slow left-arm orthodox

 

Test Career (Batting): New Zealand (1997-2014)

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

113     174     23       4531    140   30.00    7787    58.18      6       23  

 

Test Career (Bowling): New Zealand (1997-2014)

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

113     187     28814   12441     362      7/87    12/149   34.36    2.59     79.5     19       20       3

 

Career Highlights

  • 1 of 3 players with 4000 runs and 300 wickets in Tests
  • Amassed 4531 runs at 30.00
  • Secured 362 wickets at 34.26

Ian Botham made England a team to reckon with. Without him, England were terrible. The quickest player to 1000 runs and 100 wickets, what was impressive about Botham was his self-belief. Botham had high highs and low lows. It took him just four years to become England captain, with everyone understanding he was the finest cricket the country had seen in aeons. But such was the nature of the man that he soon quit as captain as he was about to be sacked. He soon turned some poor form around and almost singlehandedly brought England the Ashes. Support for English cricket had never been as high as when Botham was part of the mix but soon he started to have weight problems and the nuggets of brilliant performances began to be few and far between. Still, Botham would command a place in the England setup until 1992 before he eventually retired with a batting average of 33. 54, 5,200 runs under his belt along with 14 centuries and 22 half-centuries. As a bowler he is part of the 300-wicket Test club, ending his career with 383 from just 102 Tests. He once took 8-34 in a Test match and has career-best match figures of 13-106 which are up there with the greats.  

 

Career Statistics

Full name: Ian Terence Botham

Born: November 24, 1955, Oldfield, Heswall, Cheshire

Major teams: England, Durham, Queensland, Somerset, Worcestershire

Playing role: Allrounder

Batting style: Right-hand bat

Bowling style: Right-arm fast-medium

Height: 6 ft 2 in

 

Test Career (Batting): England (1977-1992)

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

102     161      6       5200     208    33.54    8565    60.71     14     22             

 

Test Career (Bowling): England (1977-1992)

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

102     168     21815    10878     383      8/34    13/106   28.40   2.99    56.9    17     27     4

 

Career Highlights

  • 2nd fastest player to 3000 runs and 200 wickets (55 Tests)
  • 1st player to score a century and take 10 wickets in a Test
  • Record for most centuries and 5-wicket hauls in the same Test (4)
  • Scored 5200 runs at 33.54
  • Secured 383 wickets at 28.40

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.

Ian Healy’s selection to the Australian team in 1988-89 was a shock. He never turned back, becoming a staple in the Australian side and more importantly, the beat by which the great unit of the 1990s took its timing. Until he was replaced by Adam Gilchrist and until Gilchrist came of age, he was Australia’s greatest of all time. His glovework to Shane Warne, one of the most deceptive spinners of all time was immaculate. ‘Bowling Warnie’ became the signature sound coming through the microphone stumps when Australia were in the field. He was annoying to the opposition, always getting in an earful before each delivery and appealing for everything made batsmen feel they were always in trouble. Healy’s impact was incontrivertible, so much so that he beat wally Grout, Don Tallon and Rod Marsh to the Australian team of the 20th Century. But outside of that, Healy was also handy with the bat, eking out those extra runs the Australian side needed to get them over the line and in the ‘90s, they usually did.   

Career Statistics

Full name: Ian Andrew Healy

Born: April 30, 1964, Spring Hill, Brisbane, Queensland

Major teams: Australia, Queensland

Playing role: Wicketkeeper batsman

Batting style: Right-hand bat

Fielding position: Wicketkeeper

 

Test Career: Australia (1988-1999)

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

119      182     23       4356   161*  27.39   8760    49.72       4      22      366    29

 

Career Highlights

  • Former record holder for most dismissals in Tests (1998-2007)
  • Scored 4356 runs at an average of 27.91
  • Produced 4 centuries and 22 half centuries from 182 Test innings
  • Joint 2nd most dismissals in a calendar year ( 67)

Adam Gilchrist is considered by many, the greatest wicketkeeper-batsman of all time. Gillie could bat anywhere from number-one to number seven in the Australian team, but would feature in the lower-order in Tests simply because he would need a break after wicketkeeping. His philosophy on batting was, “just hit the ball”. To prove the point, his strike rate of 81 in Tests was nothing short of remarkable. In fact, once Gilchrist hit the second ball of the second innings of a Test match for six. What was interesting about that feat, is he was sitting on a king pair. Only Mark Boucher of South Africa has scored more than 5,000 runs as a wicketkeeper in the history of the game. And while his glovework may not match Boucher’s, his 416 dismissals is no small feat and is only surpassed by the South African. His wicketkeeping, like his batting, was uncomplicated and it was rare to see Gilchrist flying to one side or another to take a catch, but his footwork was good. He was also blessed with the soft hands a wicketkeeper needs and never dropped very many.  

 

Career Statistics

Full name: Adam Craig Gilchrist

Born: November 14, 1971, Bellingen, New South Wales

Major teams: Australia, Deccan Chargers, ICC World XI, Kings XI Punjab, Middlesex, New South Wales, Western Australia

Playing role: Wicketkeeper batsman

Batting style: Left-hand bat

Bowling style: Right-arm offbreak

Fielding position: Wicketkeeper

Height: 1.86 m

 

Test Career: Australia (1999-2008)

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

96        137    20       5570    204*  47.60   6796   81.95     17       26     379    37

Career Highlights

  • Most runs by a wicketkeeper in Tests (5570)
  • Most centuries by a wicketkeeper in Tests (17)
  • 2nd most dismissals by a wicketkeeper in Tests (416)
  • 3rd best batting average for a wicketkeeper in Tests (47.61)

South Africa’s Mark Boucher is a hard man. Uncompromising, aggressive, and forever competitive, the short, stocky framed wicketkeeper/batsman enjoyed a brilliant 15-year career that ended, in a word, tragically. Boucher was forced into retirement after being hitin the eye during a warm-up game. Behind the stumps, there were not many to challenge his skill, but it didn’t start that way. Initially, he was a lower-order batsman, who could keep wicket. His first tour to England saw him keep quite poorly, failing to negotiate late swing after the ball had pitched.

Here is where Boucher’s determination makes him a great, because his glovework over the course of his career would become renowned. That improvement came at the hands of hard work, with many pointing to Boucher doing wicketkeeping drills long after everybody in the South African squad had gone home. Today, he is the holder of the Test record for most dismissals and his 555 in just 147 Tests, won’t soon be caught.

He could bat too and was well known for being the stodgy last line of defence in the South African lower order.   

Career Statistics

Full name: Mark Verdon Boucher

Born: December 3, 1976, East London, Cape Province

Major teams: South Africa, Africa XI, Border, Cape Cobras, ICC World XI, Kolkata Knight Riders, Royal Challengers Bangalore, Warriors

Playing role: Wicketkeeper batsman

Batting style: Right-hand bat

Bowling style: Right-arm medium

Fielding position: Wicketkeeper

 

Test Career: South Africa (1997-2012)

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

147     206      24      5515    125    30.30   11005    50.11      5      35       532    23

 

Career Highlights

  • Most dismissals by a wicketkeeper in Tests (555)
  • Only 25 of his dismissals came against spin
  • One of only two players to score over 5000 runs as a wicketkeeper
  • 2008 Wisden Cricketer of the Year
  • Scored 5 Test centuries and 35 half centuries

According to Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) general secretary, Dalton Wint, the potential of changes to the hexagonal stage of CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying could hurt the Reggae Boyz chances of making it to Qatar in 2022.

Wint was responding to CONCACAF president Victor Montagliani’s comments about the possibility of the six-team final round going through changes because of the delays in sports on account of the worldwide spread of Coronavirus.

Montagliani, who witnessed FIFA’s cancellation of friendly windows in March and next month, is doubtful that matches can be played in September when the hexagonal section of CONCACAF qualifying is set to resume.

According to Montagliani, the hexagonal may involve more teams but that how that would look would depend on a new calendar coming from FIFA.

Wint explained that playing more games would mean a greater financial burden that the JFF had not bargained for.

“It depends on how the fixtures are set up because we do have a plan in our heads that we are approaching corporate Jamaica with, and that is to play 10 games. If we are having more games with a shorter time, then you might have some difficulty in acquiring the services of your best players, the facilities that you might need may not be available to you if you have more games, and the timeline in which to complete these things could cause us not to be prepared as properly as we would have wanted,” explained Wint.

Teams vying for a place at the World Cup in Qatar were to be given the opportunity to play in the CONCACAF six-team final and Jamaica, who now stand at fourth in the region, were preparing for that eventuality. The cut-off point for those rankings to count would have been June.

However, with teams not getting the opportunity to play for a spot in that six because of the COVID-19 issues, CONCACAF may be forced to make changes. As it stands, Mexico, the United States, Costa Rica, and Honduras are also among the six top sides.

“It might be disadvantageous to us,” said Wint, although he was keen to point out that a solution that was reasonable would not be met with opposition from the JFF.

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.

The Caribbean has created many of the great cricketers in history and quite a number of them would have been greater still had they not had such keen competition for places in a stacked West Indies side.

A few weeks ago, we decided to have our own West Indies Championship featuring the all-time greatest sides from the region and a mouthwatering contest is set to unfold if you look at the teams we have come up with over the period.

Today we turn our attention to Jamaica, a country that has produced fast bowlers of the highest quality, but also every other type of cricketer you can think of. The country has had brilliant representation at the West Indies level behind the stumps, as well as with the bat.

As is usual, we invite your comments on the team we’ve selected because everybody has their favourites. For the purposes of consistency, we’ve made up the teams using six batsmen, a wicketkeeper, and four bowlers.

On occasion, somebody gets left out who people think it incredulous to do so. Do not hesitate to tell us where we went wrong by commenting under the article on Facebook or on Twitter.

 

BestXI: Jamaica

 

Chris Gayle 180 matches, 13,226 runs, 333 HS, 44.83 avg, 32 (100s), 64 (50s)

Christopher Henry Gayle’s fame and claim to greatness has come largely from his exploits in T20 cricket. However, the tall, powerful, imposing left-hander, even before that was one of the most dominant batsmen in Jamaica’s rich cricketing history. Gayle has scored more first-class runs than any cricketer the country has produced. His 13,226 runs have come at a healthy average of 44.83, only surpassed by Maurice Foster and the colossus of West Indies cricket, George Headley. Gayle has also scored 32 centuries in the format, again, the figure is only surpassed by Headley, who has 33. But Gayle stands alone in the number of half-centuries he has scored, slamming 64 of them.

 

Easton McMorris – 95 matches, 5906 runs, 218 HS, 42.18 avg, 18 (100s), 22 (50s)

Easton McMorris struggled for the West Indies when he got his chances at that level in the early 1960s, but for Jamaica, he was immense, averaging 42.18 as an opener and scoring 18 centuries and 22 fifties in just 95 matches, ending his career with 5,906 runs under his belt.

 

George Headley - 103 matches, 9921 runs, 344* HS, 69.86 avg, 33 (100s), 44 (50s)

George Headley needs no introduction really, his 22-match stint at the very top of cricket is legendary, but as a first-class cricketer, he was even more consistent, averaging nearly 70 over the course of 103 games. He scored 9,921 runs, including 33 centuries and 44 half-centuries.

 

Lawrence Rowe – 149 matches, 8755 runs, 302 HS, 37.57 avg, 18 (100s), 38 (50s)

Lawrence Rowe’s first-class average of 37.57 belies the impact he had on the game in Jamaica and certainly throughout the Caribbean. Crowds would come to regional matches just to see ‘Yagga’ bat. But he wasn’t bereft of runs when his career ended, scoring 18 centuries and 38 fifties from his 149 matches. The style with which he put together the majority of the 8,755 runs he scored was something to watch. According to teammate, Michael Holding, Rowe was the best batsman he ever saw. Unfortunately, Rowe was troubled with his eyesight, as well as an allergy to grass, of all things. That may have spoilt his performances somewhat, but at his best, there was no better batsman.

 

Maurice Foster 112 matches, 6731 runs, 234 HS, 45.17, 17 (100s), 35 (50s)

Maurice Foster was one of the most prolific runscorers in the 1960s and 70s and it was said, his ability to play fast bowling came from his love for table tennis where he was a West Indies champion at one time. In just 112 matches, Foster notched up 6,731 runs at an average of 45.17, only bettered by the great George Headley. In those six thousand plus runs can be found 17 first-class centuries and 35 half-centuries to boot.

 

Collie Smith 70 matches, 4031 runs, 169 HS, 40.31 avg, 10 (100s), 20 (50s)

Collie Smith died at the age of 26, but in that short time, the space between a boy and a man, he managed to score 10 centuries and 20 half-centuries in first-class cricket. Of course, by the time he was 26, his prodigious talent meant he had already represented the West Indies 26 times, scoring four centuries and six half-centuries. For Jamaica, he would play 70 times, amassing 4,031 runs at an average of 40.31.   

 

Jeffrey Dujon – 200 matches, 9763 runs, 163* HS, 39.05 avg, 21 (100s), 50 (50s)

A wicketkeeper averaging nearly 40 is a luxury. But his batting was only part of the story, as Dujon had to keep wicket for the West Indies during a period when it was notoriously difficult. Pace, real pace was hard to react to from behind the stumps but Dujon made his acrobatic catches so commonplace, they ceased to be a thing. At the first-class level, Dujon would claim 469 victims, 22 of those went to stumpings. But Dujon can also be proud of the 21 centuries he put together in 200 matches, as well as the 50 half-centuries that were part of his 9,763 runs with the bat.

 

Michael Holding – 222 matches, 778 wkts, 23.43 avg, 49.9 SR

The Rolls Royce of pace bowling, the man known as ‘Whispering Death’, has claimed 778 first-class wickets, standing only behind Courtney Walsh who had a markedly longer career. Holding would end his after 222 matches and his wicket tally would be taken at an average of 23.43 with a good strike rate of 49.9. A student of the game, Holding would outthink batsmen, even as he delivered with blistering pace that could shock you into doing altogether the wrong thing.

 

Courtney Walsh – 429 matches, 1,807 wkts, 21.71 avg, 47.2 SR

Courtney Walsh took a wicket every 47 balls during his long first-class career. That career would span 429 matches and include 1,807 wickets, making anything any Jamaican ever did with the ball, minuscule. His strike rate was better than Holding’s and so was his average. The stingy Walsh would only give up 21.71 runs for every wicket he took. A generally jovial, charismatic man, with ball in hand, he transformed into a bit of a grinch and is arguably the greatest pace bowler the country has produced.

 

Patrick Patterson – 161 matches, 493 wkts, 27.51 avg, 49.3 SR

Patrick Patterson drove fear into batsmen, even those who claim to like the quick stuff. Patterson, with his trademark shuffle to the crease and that high-lifting boot that would signal what’s to come, was devastating and on occasion, unplayably quick. He would end his 161-match first-class career with 493 wickets at an average of 27.51. His strike rate of 49.3 was also something to behold.

 

Nikita Miller – 100 matches, 538 wkts, 16.31 avg, 48.9 SR

Nikita Miller is the most prolific bowler in the history of Jamaican cricket. In just 100 first-class matches, Miller bagged 538 wickets at an average of 16.31. His strike rate of 48.9 is better than all his potential fast-bowling teammates. Miller has taken 10 wickets in a first-class innings on 12 occasions and also has 35 five-wicket hauls to go with the 36 occasions he took four in an innings. Between 2005 and 2019, Miller single-handedly orchestrated many of Jamaica’s victories. 

Sunil Gavaskar is the first in a long line of great Indian batsmen. He was the first in the history of cricket to get to 10,000 Test runs and the first to score 30 centuries. He was the lynchpin of the Indian teams of the 1970s and ‘80s, leading from ball one with near-perfect technique and immense powers of concentration. Gavaskar enjoyed success even against the great West Indies fast-bowling units of the same period. On debut in 1971, Gavaskar scored 774 runs in four Tests in the West Indies, still a record for a debutant to this day. In the last Test of that series in Port-of-Spain, Gavaskar became only the second man in Test cricket history to score a century and double century in one match when he made 124 in the first innings and 220 in the second. Gavaskar’s final innings in Test cricket at the age of xx was 96 against Pakistan and came off the back of a string of 16 Tests where he averaged more than 58.

 

Career Statistics

Full name: Sunil Manohar Gavaskar

Born: July 10, 1949, Bombay (now Mumbai), Maharashtra

Major teams: India, Mumbai, Somerset

Batting style: Right-hand bat

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

Role: Opener

Height 5 ft 5 in

 

Test Career - India (1971-1987)

Mat    Inns    NO     Runs      HS         Ave    100s   50s           

125      214     16     10122     236*     51.12      34    45           

 

Career Highlights

  • Was nicknamed “Little Master”
  • Scored 9607 of his 10,122 runs as an opener
  • Scored 33 of his 34 centuries as an opener
  • Has scored the most centuries by an opening batsman
  • Scored 18 of his 34 centuries away from home
  • His 45 half centuries is the 2nd most by a Test opener

Standing at 6-foot, 4-inches, and generally half-way down the pitch, Matthew Hayden was a powerful, imposing opening batsman, who generally turn the tables on the intimidatory tactics of fast bowlers. To add to that, he was skillful too. Hayden scored hundreds at an alarming rate. Generally, if he got to 50, he would continue on to score a century. And, as his world-record performance at the time, 380 against Zimbabwe, he could also bat for a long time. At the end of 2001, Hayden broke Bob Simpson’s record for most runs in a calendar year. So impressive were his century-making skills, that Hayden would get to 20 centuries in just 55 Tests, and surpass Don Bradman’s 29 later. Steve Waugh and Ricky Ponting are the only other Australians who can boast scoring more centuries, but neither can say, that they scored four centuries in a row, twice in their lifetime.

Career Statistics

Full name: Matthew Lawrence Hayden

Born: October 29, 1971, Kingaroy, Queensland

Major teams: Australia, Brisbane Heat, Chennai Super Kings, Hampshire, ICC World XI, Northamptonshire, Queensland

Batting style: Left-hand bat

Bowling style: Right-arm medium

Batting averages

         Mat    Inns    NO   Runs    HS    Ave        BF          SR      100   50

Tests   103    184    14      8625   380   50.73     14349    60.10      30     29

 

Achievements

Team: Australia (1994-2009)

  • Former record holder for highest individual Test score (2003-2004)
  • Highest score of 380 is Australia’s all-time record
  • Played all 184 Test innings as an opener
  • Scored 31 Test centuries, the third most by an opening batsman
  • His 8625 runs are the fourth-most by an opener in Tests

Jack Hobbs ushered in the likes of Sir Len Hutton, making the position of opening about consistency. When you look at Hobbs’ first-class career, he quickly rises to the level of most prolific batsman of all time. Combined with his achievements at the Test level, Hobbs has scored 199 centuries and 273 half-centuries in a career that, as was the case with Sir Len, was cut short by the six years that World War II had an impact on sports. Known as ‘The Master’, Hobbs’ technique was so good that he was able to play long after most others would have had to give up because of diminishing hand-eye coordination. In 1928, Hobbs scored a Test century. He was 46 and to this day, the oldest man to ever do so. He was the first professional cricketer to be knighted.

 

Career Statistics

Full name: John Berry Hobbs

Date of Birth: December 16, 1882

Place of Birth: Cambridge

Died: December 21, 1963, Hove, Sussex (aged 81 years 5 days)

Major teams: England, Maharaj Kumar of Vizianagram's XI, Surrey

Batting style: Right-hand bat

Bowling style: Right-arm medium

Batting Averages

Team: England (1908-1930)

           Mat    Inns    NO   Runs    HS     Ave    100    50             

Tests   61     102       7     5410     211    56.94     15     28             

 

Achievements

  • Average of 56.37 as an opening batsman is the fourth best of all-time
  • Scored 14 of his 15 centuries as an opening batsman
  • One of only two players to twice receive Wisden’s Cricketer of the Year Award (1909 & 1926)
  • Among openers who have scored 5,000 runs, his average of 56.37 is the third-best
  • Scored 5410 Test runs which was the highest for any batsman at the time of his retirement

Sir Leonard Hutton, nevermind being a great opener, is undoubtedly among the greatest batsmen to ever live. Playing for England during the middle of the Second World War meant he only played 79 Tests despite having a career that spanned some 20 years. He used the active period during those 20 years to form a reputation for having a voracious appetite for scoring runs. By the time he was 21 years old, he had already established himself as a fine first-class cricketer, putting together a season of County Cricket totalling 2,888 runs at an average of 56.62. It was no surprise that a year after his debut in 1937, he would score 364 against Australia, batting for a mammoth 13 hours until England had posted 770. The runs would continue to flow after the second World War even as England’s fortunes diminished. He twice carried his bat during this period as he scored 19 centuries and 33 half-centuries at an average of 56.67. Hutton was the most correct player of his time, the batsman reading everything about batting by the time he was 17. But outside of being technically correct, he could go from being obdurate and sure in defence to completely savage and uncontrollable like he did against the West Indies when he scored 196 at Lord’s. The last 96 runs of that innings came in just 95 minutes of batting.

 

Career Statistics

Full name: Leonard Hutton

Born: June 23, 1916

Place of birth: Fulneck, Pudsey, Yorkshire

Major Teams: England, Yorkshire

Batting style: Right-hand bat

Bowling style: leg break

 

Batting averages

England (1937-1955)

            Mat    Inns    NO   Runs   HS     Ave    100    50    

Tests:   79     138    15      6971    364    56.67     19     33    

 

Achievements

  • Former record holder for highest individual Test score (1938-1958)
  • Highest score of 364 is still England’s all-time record
  • Average of 56.48 as an opening batsman is the third-best all-time
  • Scored 19 centuries in 138 Test innings
  • Knighted for his contributions to cricket in 1956

Germany are set to restart their Bundesliga campaign and other European countries are looking to follow suit earliest.

The England and Wales Cricket Board, Cricket Australia, are actively looking at ways to restart cricket in their countries. Cricket West Indies have said nothing, except to say salaries might be cut in the near future.

Smaller cricket nations like the West Indies and Bangladesh, as you would imagine, are closer to the ground in terms of how much of a cushion they have for (unimaginable) eventualities like COVID-19.

I can understand the region taking a hit, but what I can’t understand, is how quiet the governing body for the sport here has been.

Chief Executive Officer, Johnny Grave, has made a couple of statements, one in respect to the Women’s cricket and how precarious postponements and cancellations make the sport in the region, and another about the salaries it pays out to regional players and the potential for reduction.

I get that. I get both statements. What I haven’t heard from Grave and his president Ricky Skerritt, is what, if any, strategies are being put in place for the regional game’s recovery?

And the truth is, there may be no answer to this, however, I want to know that Cricket West Indies have not just folded their hands in a time of crisis.

I have some ideas, and they may all be terrible ideas, but at the very least, I have them.

Leaders at a time like this must show their mettle.

In Jamaica, the hardest-hit Caribbean country by COVID-19, their leaders have made public, on a day-to-day basis, their strategy for fighting the spread of the disease and strategies to help those impacted.

When schools closed, there was an immediate response, with the government posting online material for primary and secondary-level education to continue.

It is too early to tell if these things work or are working, but I see the effort.

The Heads of State in the region, brought together a team, the Committee on Governance of West Indies Cricket, commissioned a report for the running of West Indies Cricket because they had said the organization, then called the West Indies Cricket Board, had fallen away badly.

The Heads of State need to now be putting their heads together to, again, ensure the survival of West Indies Cricket, they too have been silent.

Once as a young man, I faced a gunman and I had every opportunity to make good my escape, but at the time, I had never been faced with my own mortality before and I froze.

That is not likely to happen again, because having faced my mortality, I am less afraid today.

The same should be true of West Indies Cricket and its leaders. I can understand it freezing out of fear after its calamitous free-fall over the last 25 years, but now, having begun to arrest the slide, we must be bold.

Here’s one of my ideas.

Why don’t we agree to pick a country yet to be impacted or significantly impacted by the Coronavirus, have each territory pick teams, bring those teams to that island, quarantine them for 14 days, while doing the requisite Testing, put them up in a sterile location, hotels don’t have guests these days with all the lockdowns, arrange transportation to and from a venue already made sterile, do the same with a broadcaster (say SportsMax as a shameless plug), and sell the rights to a tournament?

There is no other cricket being played anywhere, so I doubt you’ll have a problem selling the only live content out there.

Like I said, could be a bad idea and maybe I’m not taking into consideration enough variables.

However, I believe sitting on your hands during this time is worse.

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