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.

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.

Several years ago my parents signed me up for swimming lessons. They were offered at my prep school as an extracurricular activity. It wasn’t a bad idea since I was notorious for staying at school late. The lessons were also free. I started but stopped— something felt out of place.

Every now and then I’m reminded that I didn’t continue. I’m from Jamaica so when my friends and I visit public pools like Mayfair on West King’s House Road, Christar Villa and UTech’s swimming pool on Old Hope Road, we sit on the edge of the pool with our feet in the water. On the days we feel braver, we’d sit on the steps that lead into the shallow part of the pool— allowing the water to get somewhere past our ankles.

Like other prep schools, mine was expensive. The grounds were big. Facilities were generous. Teachers drove nice cars. Food options were healthy and most children had iPods and fancy bags with wheels like they were just coming from the airport.

During the semester, the chances of a pool party happening were high. The birthday boy/girl would issue the invitations at school. Invitations were given at a premium. They would hand them out after classes as instructed by a teacher. Of course, the teacher was trying her endeavour best to make sure we weren’t distracted from class. The attempt was usually a failure. The wait was intense. Throughout the day, persons would try to befriend the inviter by bringing up any memory they had in common, just in the hope of getting a verbal invite if they weren’t on ‘the list’. “Remember that time I pushed you on the swings?” When I’d get invited verbally, I’d feel like an outcast at the party.

Even though most of us did swimming together, it wasn’t enough to make me feel a part of the group. My classmates, who genuinely got invited had more in common with the birthday boy/girl. They had similar complexion, hair type, body type and financial status, or so I believed anyway.

On Alia Atkinson’s YouTube page, ‘Watabound’, Jim Ellis speaks about diversity in swimming. He explains that a swimmer shouldn’t have to leave their community to learn how to swim. A strange environment can make them feel intimidated. When there’s no camaraderie with teammates because of differences in social status or race, it can demotivate potential and professional swimmers.

An interview titled ‘Live chat with Alia Atkinson: world record holder in 50m breast’ premiered on June 24th 2019.

Jamaica is a majority black country, but at the same time, the differences among the blacks is tangible.

In the interview, Atkinson said, “ if you have a swimmer and she’s the only person of colour on the team you have to treat her differently than everybody else in the sense of ‘hey, how are you doing today?’” She recommends that coaches check in on athletes emotionally and mentally, especially when an athlete is different from everyone else. She continued by saying, everybody has a responsibility to open the door for somebody else. It’s important to look out for others from the sport who may be struggling.

My differences weren’t embraced. Consequently, I stopped swimming. My dreams of gliding through the water with impressive strokes didn’t seem practical because other swimmers didn’t look like me.

Please share your thoughts about differences and how they are treated in sport, any sport.

Share those thoughts on Twitter (@SportsMax_Carib) or in the comments section on Facebook (@SportsMax). Don’t forget to use #IAmNotAFan. Until next time!

The late great Malcolm Marshall was a terrifying pace bowler and many have argued that he was the best there has ever been.

Smart, deceptively quick, and brutal, Marshall had all the attributes to make him a nightmare for any batsman, no matter how much class he possessed.

But on a day in 1983, in India no less, Marshall showed something new, well it was at least new to them.

Marshall had scored four centuries in his career outside of Test cricket, three for New Hampshire, and one when he was an under-19 cricketer, playing against Zimbabwe but his Test cricket average of 10, hadn’t shrouded him in glory. He would eventually push that average up to 18 by the time his career ended in 1991. But still, there was not much expected of him.

On a surprisingly slow wicket in Kanpur, the West Indies went to bat on the first day and soon got in trouble with Desmond Haynes, 6, Viv Richards, 24, Larry Gomes, 21, skipper Clive Lloyd, 23, and Gus Logie, 0, all back in the pavilion.

In step Phillip Jeffrey Dujon to join the unusually sedate Gordon Greenidge and the two set to rebuilding the innings, but at 255-5 on the first day and despite a recovery from 157-5, the game was still in the balance.

Greenidge would resume on the second day on his overnight 130 and go on to bat for just over nine hours on his way to scoring 194 from 368 deliveries.

The great West Indies opener would strike 23 fours and not a single six in his near-200-run innings, while Dujon, who was on 48 from the day before, was marginally more adventurous, batting for just about three hours before he was bowled by Roger Binny for 81.

Marshall walked to the wicket looking like he did not have a care in the world on the second day, probably sure in his mind that when he got the ball, the balance of the game would swing yet again.

But before that though, he might have well give his fellow pacers some more time to relax in the pavilion.

Marshall, batting with Greenidge, showed he wasn’t just good with ball in hand but hunkered down for the next three hours or so and faced 151 deliveries on his way to his highest ever Test score, 92. Forty-four of those 92 runs would come in boundaries.

He played no small part in helping Greenidge score as many as he did. When Greendidge went, Eldine Baptiste, 6, Michael Holding, 0, and  Winston Davis, 0, did not last long.

But Marshall wasn’t done yet either. He would return to make a mockery of Kapil Dev’s 4-99 with 4-19 that put the result decidedly in West Indies’ favour. The West Indies had made 454 all out on the back of Marshall, Dujon, and Greenidge’s innings but then the paceman helped route India for just 207.

The West Indies would not bat again, as for the second time in the game, Marshall grabbed four, this time going for all of 47.

Marshall’s bowling, as per usual, was tremendous, but this was the first time his batting was doing the talking as the West Indies removed Pakistan for 164 to win the game by an innings and 83 runs.

The West Indies would go on to win the 6-Test series 3-0 and Marshall had become a legend in India.

Barbados’ contribution to West Indies cricket cannot be overstated. This week we continue to try to create the best West Indies Championship or Shell Shield, whatever name you choose to give to our regional 4-day competition, of all time. To do that, we have been coming up with the best XIs of all time from each territory. Last week we took a peak at what a Leeward Islands Best XI would look like and this week, we’ve come to the table with a Barbados Best XI. The cricket-mad country has come up with some of the most talented players in the history of the game, let alone in the Caribbean and the truth is, we could have come up with more than one XI. But here is what we have come up with. Tell us what you think.

 

BestXI - Barbados

Gordon Greenidge

While Gordon Greenidge’s achievements as an opener for the West Indies are the stuff of legends, this XI is about regional cricket and if his record at that level was not the best, he would have been dropped, but it was. Greenidge was incredible as a first-class cricketer, scoring 92 centuries and 183 half-centuries in his 523 matches. He would end his first-class career with an average of 45.88 from 523 matches.

Desmond Haynes

Desmond Haynes formed the greatest opening partnership with Gordon Greenidge in West Indies History. In first-class cricket for Barbados, he was immense as well, scoring 61 centuries and 138 half-centuries to end up averaging 45.9, even more than his great mentor and long-time partner. Haynes would play in 376 games and score more than 26 thousand runs.

Sir Everton Weekes

Sir Everton Weekes makes up a third of Barbados’ most famous trio of cricketers, the three Ws, who as a group, made West Indies into a world force. Weekes played 152 first-class matches and his average of 55.34 is nothing short of brilliant. Along the way, Weekes would score 36 centuries and 54 half-centuries in compiling more than 12 thousand runs.

 

Sir Garry Sobers

Sir Garry Sobers contribution to Barbados cricket is immeasurable. Sir Garry, was at one time, the best batsman the region had ever produced. He remained that way until surpassed by Brian Lara. At the first-class level, Sir Garry was, just as he was for the West Indies, was unmatched, scoring 86 centuries and 121 half centuries in just 383 games. His average of 57.78 was also phenomenal. But Sir Garry also makes this all-time XI team even better with his bowling figures. The great man is one of a very few cricketers from the region to take more than a thousand wickets, doing so at a respectable average of 27.74.


 

Frank Worrell

One of the three Ws, Sir Frank Worrell, needs no introduction and was a shoe-in for this list. In 208 first-class matches, Sir Frank notched up 15,025 runs at an average of 54.24. Included in those 15,000 runs were 39 centuries and 80 half-centuries. Sir Frank’s contribution to this all-time side would also be as its captain. As a skipper, Sir Frank, while not as successful as Clive Lloyd, can be considered the best West Indies captain of all time.

 

Conrad Hunte

Conrad Hunte bat as an opener for most of his career but with the partnership of Greenidge and Haynes sealed as certainties in this all-time Barbados line-up, he has had to fall to the middle order. Hunte’s ability to adapt makes this an easy decision, with the batsman’s very well-known decision to give up his natural aggression for being the sheet anchor in the West Indies side he was part of. At the first-class level, Hunte scored 8,916 runs from just 132 games at an average of 43.92. Hunte scored 16 centuries and 51 half-centuries in his first-class career.

 

Clyde Walcott

Clyde Walcott, another of the Caribbean’s most famed triumvirate, the three Ws and a shoe-in for this list, makes the team as a wicketkeeper but his first-class tally of 11,820 runs in 146 matches would put him here as a batsman as well. Walcott  would score 40 centuries and 54 centuries to cement his place as one of regional cricket’s most severe runscorers.

 

Joel Garner

Joel Garner, Big Bird, was a wicket-taking machine in regional cricket, notching up 881 victims in just 214 matches at the remarkable average of 18.53 runs. With bowling figures like that, it is hardly likely that the very classy batting line-up above will have too much work to do too often.

 

Malcolm Marshall

If having Big Bird in your arsenal weren’t enough, opening the bowling alongside him in this Barbados all-time, all-star team, would be Malcolm Marshall, arguably the greatest fast bowler that ever lived. Marshall is also one of the few fast bowlers to take more than a thousand first-class wickets and in his 408 games, he was on his way to 2000. Marshall’s 1,651 wickets didn’t cost too much either, with the bowler averaging 19.1.

 

Wayne Daniel

Wayne Daniel was fearsome. A big muscular fast bowler, he drove far into the minds of opposing batsmen with searing pace. There were 867 victims of this pace in 266 first-class matches at an average of 22.47.  

 

Sylvester Clarke

Sylvester Clarke was unfortunate not to have played more than 11 Tests but really had to compete with probably the greatest four-pronged pace attack of all time. Had Clarke been born at another time, he certainly would have been seen as one of the greats. In first-class cricket, Clarke was a beast and his 942 wickets in 238 matches suggested there weren’t many in the world who could bat to him for too long, especially when you took his 19.52 average into consideration.

Even without much of an international career, George Best, Manchester United’s mercurial winger, is still considered among the greatest players of all time and rightly so. He only played for Northern Ireland 37 times over the course of 13 years, scoring 9 goals, but for Manchester United, where he played for the majority of his career, he enjoyed more success, including a European Cup title, won in 1968. Best, it is argued, is one of the greatest dribblers in the game’s history, the winger consistently displaying unmatched skill, balance, and a knack for scoring goals to boot. Scottish sportswriter, Patrick Barclay, found no comparison to Best on the field in his time, or ever. "In terms of ability, he was the world's best footballer of all time. He could do almost anything – technically, speed, complete mastery of not only the ball but his own body. You could saw his legs away and he still wouldn't fall because his balance was uncanny, almost supernatural. Heading ability, passing ability, I mean it goes without saying the dribbling – he could beat anybody in any way he chose. For fun, he'd play a one-two off the opponent's shins."

In an article titled ‘Was Georgie the Best?’, BBC journalist John May spoke about the impact Best had on the game, saying his performances never failed to bring joy. "People were transfixed, bewitched and delighted by the impish, cheeky skills of Best that invariably brought a smile to all except the defenders who had to face him," the article read.

Best would end up being a well-travelled player, racking up 586 games for various clubs, though he devoted 361 of those appearances to United. In total, Best would score 207 goals in all club appearances, a remarkable feat given two things. Best was a notoriously unselfish passer of the ball, as well as the fact that he was never the focal point of attacks.

Playing Career

Full name: George Best

Date of birth: 22 May 1946

Place of birth: Belfast, Northern Ireland

Date of Death: 25 November 2005 (aged 59)

Place of Death: London, England

Height: 5 ft 9 in (1.75m)

Playing positions: Winger/Attacking Midfielder

Club Career

          Years           Team                             Apps         (Gls)

  • 1963–1974     Manchester United          361         (137)
  • 1974              Jewish Guild                       5            (1)
  • 1974              Dunstable Town (loan)        0            (0)
  • 1975              Stockport County               3            (2)
  • 1975–1976     Cork Celtic                         3            (0)
  • 1976              Los Angeles Aztecs           23          (15)
  • 1976–1977     Fulham                            42            (8)
  • 1977–1978     Los Angeles Aztecs           32          (12)
  • 1978–1979     Fort Lauderdale Strikers     28            (6)
  • 1979–1980     Hibernian                        17            (3)
  • 1980–1981     San Jose Earthquakes       56          (21)
  • 1982              Sea Bee                           2            (0)
  • 1982              Hong Kong Rangers           1            (0)
  • 1983              Bournemouth                   5            (0)
  • 1983              Brisbane Lions                   4            (0)
  • 1983             Osborne Park Galeb            1            (1)
  • 1983             Nuneaton Borough             3            (1)
  • 1984             Tobermore United              1            (0)
  • Total                                                586       (207)

Club Honours

  • Manchester United - Football League First Division: 1964–65, 1966–67; Charity Shield: 1965, 1967; European Cup: 1968

International Career

  • 1964-1977 Northern Island 37 (9)

Individual Honours

  • Football League First Division Top Scorer: 1967–68
  • FWA Footballer of the Year: 1967–68
  • Ballon d'Or: 1968; Third place 1971
  • PFA Team of the Year Second Division: 1977
  • Football League 100 Legends: 1998
  • Honorary doctorate from Queen's University Belfast: 2001
  • Freeman of Castlereagh: 2002
  • Inaugural inductee into the English Football Hall of Fame: 2002
  • BBC Sports Personality of the Year Lifetime Achievement Award: 2002
  • UEFA Jubilee Awards – Northern Ireland's Golden Player: 2003
  • UEFA Golden Jubilee Poll: #19th
  • FIFA 100
  • Golden Foot: 2005, as football legend
  • PFA Merit Award: 2006
  • PFA England League Team of the Century (1907 to 2007):
  • Team of the Century 1907–1976
  • Overall Team of the Century
  • FWA Tribute Award: 2000
  • European Hall of Fame (Player): 2008
  • FIFA Player of the Century:
  • FIFA internet vote: #20
  • FIFA Magazine and Grand Jury vote: #5
  • World Soccer The Greatest Players of the 20th century: #8
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