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.

Shane Watson overcame a myriad of injuries to become one of Australia’s most important players in the early 2000s. Watson had more than one stress fracture in his back, hamstring strains, calf problems, a dislocated shoulder, food poisoning that presented symptoms like that of a heart attack, still, he prevailed, becoming a feared batsman, who could take a game away from you. He combined the patience he learned as an Australian Test opener with aggression and power in a way that made him a nightmare for the opposition even if he was at the crease for just a few overs.

Having bat in every conceivable position during that Test career, he became a man for all seasons in the one-day version of the game. With nine centuries and 33 fifties to go along with an average of 40.54 and a strike rate of 90, Watson is most decidedly a batting all-rounder.

But with a physique like his, being more than a medium pacer was always going to be a part of the plan.

He would end his ODI career with 168 wickets at an average of 31.79 at a strike rate of 38.4

 

Career Statistics

Full name: Shane Robert Watson

Born: June 17, 1981, Ipswich, Queensland

Major teams: Australia, Australia A, Australia Under-19s, Canterbury, Chennai Super Kings, Cricket Australia XI, Deccan Gladiators, Dhaka Dynamites, Gilchrist XI, Hampshire, Islamabad United, New South Wales, Prime Minister's XI, Queensland, Queensland Colts, Queensland Under-19s, Quetta Gladiators, Rajasthan Royals, Rangpur Rangers, Redlands, Royal Challengers Bangalore, Sindhis, St Lucia Zouks, Sydney Sixers, Sydney Thunder, Tasmania

Playing role: Allrounder

Batting style: Right-hand bat

Bowling style: Right-arm fast-medium

Height: 1.83 m

 

ODI Career (batting): Australia (2002-2015)

Mat    Inns    NO     Runs    HS       Ave      BF      SR      100s     50s    4s      6s    

190     169     27      5757     185*   40.54     6365  90.44      9        33     570     131  

 

ODI Career (bowling): Australia (2002-2015)

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

190      163    6466    5342        168    4/36     4/36    31.79    4.95     38.4      3       0         0

 

 

Career Highlights

  • Fastest Australian to "5000 runs and 150 wickets"
  • Held 'Fastest 150' record for 4 years
  • Highest ODI score in a run-chase (185*)
  • Highest ODI score (185*) and most sixes in an innings (15), by an Australian

Carol Henry, president of the St Lucia Cricket Association said there is much interest in the T10 cricket tournament his association has planned for later this month.

The West Indies will most likely leave for the United Kingdom (UK) in about a week from today to play England in the first bio-secure Test series in history in July.

The teams will play and whether they win the series or not, England will come away with virtually all the revenues generated from the series. For the West Indies, the story will be significantly different.

Come July 1, the West Indies players and all Cricket West Indies (CWI) staff, will be taking a temporary 50 per cent salary cut.

However, they are not alone. In April, England’s male and female players took a 20 per cent pay cut as the pandemic began to take hold in the UK forcing the postponement of the West Indies’ visit, which was initially scheduled for June.

The thing is, on this tour other than match fees, CWI does not really earn anything. Under this dispensation, wherein the regional players are going to be guinea pigs for the way cricket could be played for the immediate future, they and CWI should be receiving extra compensation.

In fact, pandemic or not, visiting teams need to get something from away series. Without an opponent, the home team has no content for their broadcast partners.

In boxing, for example, should promoters be able to put together a fight between Mike Tyson and me, we would all agree that Tyson would command the bulk of the revenue. After all, he is who they would come to see. However, a reasonable argument could be made that I should be paid fairly for having the daylights knocked out of me.

It definitely takes two to tango.

A couple of years ago, under the Dave Cameron presidency, CWI proposed changes to the current model of wealth distribution in world cricket but those were rejected as being unworkable.

Correctly citing that competitive balance is critical to the appeal of the sport, Cameron argued that: “Broadcasters and viewers are not willing to see international cricket because they are getting to see their stars anyway in the IPL or CPL. As a result, international rights have been devalued, except in the big market, which is India, England and Australia. So, 20 per cent of each series should go to the visiting teams.”

The problem with this proposal is that given what the big teams would have to pay over at the end of a tour, there would not be equitable reciprocation when their teams visit the smaller-market teams rendering it impractical.

Mumbai Mirror writer Vijay Tagore explains it like this. In a column published on May 11, he said Star pays India about U$10 million for every international match. If the West Indies plays six matches on tour, then they would earn US$12million for the tour. When India tours the West Indies, India would earn much less from their 20 per cent take.

Under the current status quo, the International Cricket Council (ICC) generates income from the tournaments it organizes, like the Cricket World Cup. Most of that money goes out to its members.

So, for example, sponsorship and television rights of the World Cup brought in over US$1.6 billion between 2007 and 2015. Sponsorship and membership subscriptions also generate a few extra million.

However, the ICC gets no income from Test matches, One Day International and Twenty20 Internationals. In this scenario, the host country gets the money earned from its broadcast partners and sponsorship as well as gate receipts.

A breakdown of the money distributed from the ICC shows that for the period 2016 to 2023, based on forecasted revenues and costs, the BCCI will receive US$293 million across the eight-year cycle, ECB (England) US$143 million, Zimbabwe Cricket US$94 million and the remaining seven Full Members, including the West Indies, US$132 million each.

Associate members will receive US$280m.

For the CWI that equates to US$16.5 a year. In addition, CWI will generate money from broadcasts of home series. However, not every home series makes ‘good money’. Based on my conversations with CWI CEO Johnny Grave, CWI only makes money when England and India tour the West Indies.

What that means is that when teams like Bangladesh, Pakistan and Zimbabwe visit, CWI loses money.

According to an ICC Paper submitted by CWI in October 2018: The revenue is inextricably linked to the nature of the tours hosted in a member country. It is also linked to the existence of a host broadcaster to exploit media revenues.

“Media values for members vary: the West Indies does not have a host broadcaster, mainly because of the size of its market.”

According to the paper, in 2008 the West Indies revenue was US$19.6m. In 2009, revenue jumped to US$48 and then in 2010, it fell to US$24.2 million. Media rights in 2017 amounted to US$22million but fell precipitously to US$987,000 by the end of the financial year for 2018.

Meanwhile, player salaries remain constant, money goes into grassroots programmes, player development, tournament match fees and salaries, coaches and coaching development, as well as support for the territorial boards. In bad years, these costs easily exceed any revenue generated.

The current model is simply unsustainable but solutions are hard to come by. In the Caribbean, sponsorship is hard to come by. Stadia remain empty because the West Indies does not win consistently enough to bring the crowds back, and for the most part, the ‘stars’ don’t play in regional competitions meaning fans stay away.

Meanwhile, the peaks and troughs in earnings against the costs associated with what is required to maintain a competitive international cricket programme, demonstrates in part why there needs to be a better way; why there needs to be a more equitable way to distribute money generated from bilateral series.

For the smaller market teams, it amounts to a hand-to-mouth existence that keeps them poor and uncompetitive. And frankly, that’s simply not cricket.

 

 

 

 

Rohan Kanhai enjoyed a career in which he played on great teams from start to finish.

Maybe it is a testament to his ability that he was a mainstay for the West Indies during this period since the cluster of nations had been seeing a swell in the number of talented batsmen it had been producing.

Names like Sir Garfield Sobers, Joe Solomon, Clyde Hunte and Basil Butcher were just some of the talents in the West Indies line-up when Kanhai started his sojourn in Test cricket, and when that sojourn ended 17 years later, the Guyanese batsman had been joined by the likes of Roy Fredericks, Lawrence Rowe, Alvin Kallicharan, Clive Lloyd and of course, Sobers was still around.

Despite spending 17 years at the top, Kanhai’s start to Test cricket was not as convincing as his career would eventually turn out to be.

on New year’s Eve in 1958, more than a year after his debut for the West Indies, Kanhai had yet to make his mark, had yet to prove why the selectors had kept persevering with him.

In truth, he hadn’t done badly, scoring three half-centuries in his first 23 innings. But he had never notched three figures, getting as close as 96 in February of 1958.

In Kolkata, that was to change.

The West Indies had dominated India in the first two Tests of a five-match series but Kanhai had yet to build on some good starts, scoring 66 and 22, nought and 41 in his first four times facing the Indians.

To date, Kanhai had only faced England and Pakistan, with India providing a new challenge to his fledgeling career.

On New Year’s Eve, West Indies had chosen to bat but were in early trouble when Kanhai walked to crease. Medium-pacer Raman Surendranath had, the ball before, removed JK Holt caught for just five.

India threatened for an instant, as Sir Conrade Hunte was back in the pavilion for just 23, leaving the West Indies at 72-2.

Six hours and 42 boundaries later, Kanhai was still there.

Collie Smith had tried to entertain a partnership but he went for 34 to leave the West Indies 180-3. Not a terrible return, but India were very much still in the game.

Kanhai eventually found a willing partner in Guyana teammate Butcher, who scored 103.

Day one would end with the West Indies in a strong position at 359 for 3.

Butcher was not out on 87 and Kanhai had his first Test century, a double. He was on 203 not out.

The following day, Kanhai would continue to keep the Indian bowlers at bay, going on to score his highest Test score of 256 before Surendranath had him caught by Polly Umrigar.

The damage had already been done and an unbeaten century of 106 from Sobers along with Solomon’s fine lower-order stand of 69 not out left the Indians staring down the barrel of 614. All this and Jamaica’s Gerry Alexander, a wicketkeeper who could bat as well, had not even faced a delivery.

That 256, coming in Kanhai’s 13th Test, was a watershed moment. Afterwards, he would get over the three-figures hump 14 more times in his career and score 28 half-centuries to boot to end with a very healthy average of 47.53.

Like sort of a warning, Kanhai would score 99 in the very next Test, before scoring another double century against Pakistan a few months later.

West Indies sealed the series in that game, winning by an innings and 336 runs and went on to register a 4-0 win following a drawn fifth Test.

While Kanhai and co. batted the Indians out of the game, it must be said the hosts had a major problem with handling the pace of Roy Gilchrist, whose match figures of 3-18 and 6-55, ensured the game would end inside four days.

Steve Smith revealed he barely touched a cricket bat during lockdown, instead using the enforced break due to the coronavirus pandemic to switch off.

Cricket in Australia is preparing to kick into gear, having been suspended since March due to the COVID-19 crisis.

Former Australia captain Smith returned to training with New South Wales on Monday, along with international team-mates Mitchell Starc and David Warner.

After a gruelling year on the international and domestic fronts, Smith used the time off to focus on his fitness instead of his technique.

"I'm probably in the best shape I've been in in years, doing lots of running, lots of gym stuff at home. It's been a couple of months of good hard work," Smith said.

"I haven't touched a bat really, couple of little drills at home but that's about it. I've tried to switch off from it a little bit, which I don't do very often, but focusing on myself getting fit and strong and refreshing mentally, and when we get our chance to play again I'll be good to go.

"There are no nets or anything, so I've just been trying to switch off, I've done masterclasses at home that I've shared with a few people on Instagram and things like that.

"But other than that, I really haven't picked up my cricket bats. So it's been a bit different but I'm sure in the long run it's probably a good thing just to freshen up after what was a pretty long year, year-and-a-half."

The ICC look set to introduce a new rule to ban the use of spit to shine the ball once cricket returns, with bowlers often using saliva to assist with finding swing.

Smith suggested the rule change could hand the batting side an unfair advantage and hopes any changes to regulations maintain an even contest.

"I've always been one to want a fair contest between bat and ball, even as a batter, so if that's taken away I don't think that's great," he said. 

"Whether they can find different ways to do certain things. It'll be hard, I actually spit on my hands most balls, that's how I get grip and stuff.

"It might take some adjusting to get used to certain things like that, that's something for the ICC to figure out what they want to do going forward and making new regulations.

"We'll see where it all lands, everything is up in the air at the moment."

Steve Smith believes playing in the Indian Premier League later this year would be an enjoyable alternative option if the T20 World Cup is postponed.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) last week stated it is still planning for the World Cup to start in Australia on October 18, but other options are being explored due to the coronavirus pandemic.

It has been reported that the competition will be put back to next year, with the IPL - which could not get under way as scheduled in March - taking place instead of the global event.

Smith, who returned to training with New South Wales on Monday, would prefer to play in a World Cup, but the former Australia captain would also relish the opportunity to lead the Rajasthan Royals later this year. 

The top-ranked Test batsman in the world said: "I think when you're playing for your country at a World Cup, that's the pinnacle for one-day or T20 cricket, so of course I'd prefer to play in that.

"But if that doesn't happen and the IPL's there, and they postpone [the T20 World Cup], then so be it. IPL's also a terrific tournament as a domestic tournament. 

"That's out of everyone's control at the moment, players are just doing what we're told and going where we need to go and playing whatever's on at that stage.

"I guess there'll be some more news about it soon, probably some decisions to be made soon, so I'm sure we'll all find out and know where we're going to be.

"I personally haven't really thought about it, I think it'd just be going off the advice of the professionals and the governments and essentially doing what we're told.

"If that happens then great, if not then there's just so much going on in the world right now that cricket kind of seems a little bit irrelevant. So, we'll get back when we're told to and until then it's sit tight, get fit and strong and freshen up mentally."

Cricket Australia are also considering a request from the England and Wales Cricket Board to tour England for a limited-overs series in September, two months later than planned.

Elite sport is gradually returning to our screens amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Germany's Bundesliga, the UFC and the NRL were among the first top-level events to forge a route back last month after pausing due to the global crisis.

A clutch of Europe's other top football leagues, cricket, motorsport and the United States' major competitions all have designs on behind-closed-doors resumptions in the near future, too, which could create a significant backlog of crucial fixtures.

One positive is that sports fans might now be treated to a number of colossal match-ups back-to-back on the same day at some point over the coming months.

That prospect gives us the opportunity to reflect on five similar occasions with the greatest sporting days since the turn of the century - including one exactly a year ago.

 

JULY 23, 2000

The US had a day to remember as two of their most prominent stars bolstered their still burgeoning reputations with big victories on foreign soil.

The paths of Tiger Woods and Lance Armstrong have subsequently diverged a little, however.

Woods became the youngest player to complete golf's career grand slam with a record-breaking victory at The Open in 2000, while Armstrong wrapped up a second straight Tour de France title.

The American duo stood at the top of the world, yet history will recall Armstrong's achievements rather differently now he has been stripped of each of his seven successive yellow jerseys for doping.

Woods at least maintained his high standards and held all four major titles after the 2001 Masters, winning again at Augusta as recently as last year.

FEBRUARY 1, 2004

Two more sporting greats shared the same special page in the calendar early in 2004.

It was a long day for anyone who took in both Roger Federer's performance in Melbourne's Australian Open final and Tom Brady's Super Bowl display in Houston, but they were duly rewarded.

Twenty-time grand slam champion Federer had won just one major before facing down Marat Safin in Australia, also becoming the ATP Tour's top-ranked player for the first time. He stayed at number one for a record-shattering 237 weeks.

Brady similarly then doubled his tally of Super Bowl rings by delivering a second triumph in three years for the Patriots, in what was a classic encounter against the Carolina Panthers.

Brady threw for 354 yards and three touchdowns, before Adam Vinatieri's field goal secured a 32-29 win with four seconds remaining.

AUGUST 4-5, 2012

One would struggle to find a greater array of star-studded athletes of various sports than those who congregated in London across the penultimate weekend of the 2012 Olympic Games.

On the Saturday evening, at the Aquatics Centre, swimming prepared to say goodbye to its greatest name. Michael Phelps and the United States won the 4x100m medley, clinching his 18th gold medal in what appeared set to be his final race.

Indeed, Phelps confirmed his retirement following the Games, only to return in predictably dominant fashion in 2016.

Across the city that same night, Team GB athletes were capping a stunning run of medals that would see the day dubbed "Super Saturday". There were six home golds in all, including big wins for Jessica Ennis, Greg Rutherford and Mo Farah in quick succession.

The drama only continued the next day, too, as Andy Murray finally sealed a Wimbledon win over Federer in the tennis event, while Usain Bolt lit up London Stadium in the 100m.

JUNE 1, 2019

It is 12 months to the day since another epic sporting stretch, one that concluded in stunning fashion with one of boxing's great modern upsets.

Rugby union and football each had their respective turns in the spotlight earlier, with Saracens following up their European Champions Cup success - a third in four years - by retaining the Premiership title with victory over Exeter Chiefs.

In Madrid, two more English teams were in action as Liverpool edged past Tottenham in the Champions League final.

But as Sarries and the Reds celebrated, focus turned towards Madison Square Garden where Anthony Joshua was expected to make light work of Andy Ruiz Jr, a replacement for Jarrell Miller following a failed drugs test.

The heavyweight title match did not go to script, however, as Ruiz floored Joshua four times and forced a stoppage to claim his belts, albeit only until the rematch where the Briton saved face.

JULY 14, 2019

These crazy spectacles have largely seen sport spread throughout the day, but three sets of eyes were required to keep up with the action on an epic afternoon last July.

With England hosting and then reaching the Cricket World Cup final, the scene-stealing decider fell on the same day as the Wimbledon men's final and the British Grand Prix, ensuring the United Kingdom was the focus of the sporting world.

The cricket started off several hours before either the tennis or the F1 but still managed to outlast its rival events, with Ben Stokes determined to put on a show as England won via a dramatic Super Over at the end of a nine-hour saga against New Zealand.

Novak Djokovic was battling Stokes for attention as he was taken all the way by that man Federer at the All England Club before finally prevailing 7-6 (7-5) 1-6 7-6 (7-4) 4-6 13-12 (7-3) in the tournament's longest singles final.

The respective classics made the British GP, completed earlier in the day, something of an afterthought - but not for Lewis Hamilton, who claimed a record sixth victory.

Roger Federer and Anthony Joshua have become accustomed to winning in their respective sports, but both suffered notable defeats on June 1 through the years.

Federer saw his hopes of a second successive title at the French Open dashed in 2010, while nine years later Joshua lost his heavyweight titles - and his perfect record - to Andy Ruiz.

The date has better memories for Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League, plus it is also memorable for marking the end of Shaquille O'Neal's stellar NBA career.

Take a look back at some of the great sporting moments to happen on this day.

 

2008 – Royals overcome Kings to be crowned

The inaugural IPL season concluded with a last-ball thriller. 

Rajasthan Royals, who were the top seeds at the end of the round-robin stage, just about overcame Chennai Super Kings in Mumbai, Sohail Tanvir the unlikely hero with the bat as he hit the single they required from the final delivery of the match.

Captain Shane Warne was also out in the middle for the winning run but Yusuf Pathan was the star performer for the Royals in the final, following up figures of 3-22 with the ball by making 56 in their successful chase. 

2010 – Federer's slam streak comes to an end

For a second successive year, Robin Soderling caused a huge upset at Roland Garros. 

The Swede had sensationally knocked out Rafael Nadal in the fourth round in 2009, though he went on to lose in the final to Federer. However, 12 months on, he gained revenge in the French capital, ending the champion's reign with a 3-6 6-3 7-5 6-4 win in their last-eight meeting.

With the loss, Federer saw his impressive run of reaching 23 consecutive grand slam semi-finals come to an end. 

2011 – Shaq stops: NBA legend announces retirement

After a 19-year career that saw him score 28,596 points, O'Neal decided the time was right to retire. The man nicknamed 'The Big Diesel' had come to the end of the road.

Drafted by the Orlando Magic with the first overall pick in 1992, the center won three successive titles after moving to the Los Angeles Lakers, where he teamed up with Kobe Bryant.

O'Neal - voted the league's MVP in 2000 - won a further championship after switching to the Miami Heat. There were also stints with the Phoenix Suns and the Cleveland Cavaliers in the latter stages before a final stop in Boston with the Celtics.

2019 – Replacement Ruiz stuns AJ in New York

Ruiz was not even originally due to be in the opposite corner to Joshua in Madison Square Garden.

The challenger was called in as a replacement when Jarrell Miller was removed from the headline act - and he seized the unexpected opportunity by producing a stunning result that sent shockwaves through the boxing world.

Joshua had won 22 straight as a pro and came into the bout as the IBF, WBA and WBO champion. However, he was dropped and stopped by Ruiz, who climbed off the canvas in the third round to sensationally turn the fight around. 

The prospect of facing towering West Indies batsman Chris Gayle is enough for most bowlers to break into a cold sweat, not veteran Indian veteran spinner Harbhajan Singh, however, who recently admitted that he never had any apprehension facing the often brutal left-hander.

The 40-year-old Windies superstar is renowned for being an equal opportunity destroyer of all types of bowling attacks and has racked up some big scores in all three formats of the game.  Singh, however, insists that he always had a strategy that was effective in keeping the big left-hander under wraps.

“Warner is very good on the back foot - he will cut you. He can switch-hit, he can sweep pretty nicely, he can hit you over cover. He can step out too. Compared to Gayle, Warner is more difficult for me to bowl to,” Singh told Espncricnfo’s Cricket Monthly.

“Gayle, if someone bowls quick to him, he will keep hitting sixes. If someone bowls slow to him, he’ll have to come out of the crease, which he is not comfortable with. I have never ever felt it difficult to bowl against Gayle,” he added.

 “I have bowled a lot at him in powerplays. He did not have the sweep. He did not have the shot over mid-on.”

The Indian spinner can point to some tangible success against Gayle, having dismissed the West Indian 5 times in One Day internationals, which makes him statistically the third most successful bowler to have faced the batsman in the format.

 

 

A country blessed with elegant batsmen, picking an all-time best Guyana line-up has been the most difficult of all the countries to date.

While many of the other territories in our all-time West Indies Championship have been blessed with talent throughout, no other country, it seems, has as many talented batsmen on equal footing at the First-Class level.

That is a good problem for a coach to have and if you were coaching this Guyana outfit, it is hardly likely that you come up against a team who could manage a total your line-up could not overhaul.

As usual, we welcome your feedback on whether or not we got this Best XI right. Tell us who we should have kept or who we should not have included, leave a comment under the story on Facebook and we can have a good old-fashioned debate.

 

Guyana’s Best XI

 

 

Roy Fredericks

Roy Fredericks significant ability made him a mainstay in the West Indies side, batting first with another Guyanese opener in Steve Camacho before joining forces with Gordon Greenidge. At the First-Class level, Fredericks was a powerful batsman, relishing the challenge of attacking the most fearsome of pace bowlers of which the West Indies had many. Fredericks, a master of the cut and hook shots, was known at the international level for scoring quick 50s but not converting them to centuries. At the First-Class level, this wasn’t true as Fredericks slammed 40 centuries to his 80 half-centuries on his way to 16,384 career runs at a more-than-respectable average of 45.89. Fredericks would play two more innings after announcing his retirement in 1983, slamming 103 against Trinidad and 217 against Jamaica.

 

First-class career: 1963-1983

Mat    Inns    NO     Runs    HS     Ave       100s    50s    6s      Ct   

223     391      34     16384   250    45.89       40      80      177     0

 

 

Rohan Kanhai (wicketkeeping opener)

With such a dearth of batting in an all-time Guyana line-up, it is interesting that Rohan Kanhai, a lifelong number-three batsman, would be asked to open and wicketkeep, but a stacked middle-order which could take the batting down to eight or nine without much of a shift in quality means Kanhai gets to face the new ball with Fredericks. At the first-class level, Khanai was absolutely brilliant, scoring 86 centuries and 120 half-centuries in a 23-year-long career. Kanhai’s average of 45.89 after 421 games is no small feat, but more than the runs he accumulated, was the way he did it and when he did it. Kanhai was elegance personified but there was real power too. An ESPN Cricinfo article by noted poet, novelist and columnist in Georgetown, Guyana, Ian McDonald, summed it up best.

“You could feel it charge the air around him as he walked to the wicket. I do not know quite how to describe it. It was something that kept the heart beating hard with a special sort of excited fear all through a Kanhai innings, as if something marvellous or terrible or even sacred was about to happen.”

 

First-class career: 1954-1977

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

421      675     83     29250    256    49.40    86     120       325      7

 

 

Shivnarine Chanderpaul

The raw emotion of Fredericks’ batting along with the unequalled grace of Kanhai’s may best be tempered with the obdurate efforts of Shivnarine Chanderpaul. Unorthodox technique and all, Chanderpaul could bat for days without bothering himself too much about scoring and this patience made him into a legend of West Indies cricket. But he could get aggressive too when it called for it. On other days, when he was in the mood like the day he faced 478 deliveries against Jamaica in a Red Stripe Cup game at Sabina Park to score an unbeaten 303, he was impossible to remove from the wicket. That determination and those powers of concentration are a big reason behind his 53.17 average after 385 First-Class games. In all, Chanderpaul would notch a whopping 77 centuries and 144 half-centuries during a career lasting 27 years.

 

First-class career: 1991-2018

Mat    Inns    NO     Runs      HS      Ave    100s    50s         

385      626    108    27545     303*   53.17     77     144               

 

Basil Butcher

Very ‘wristy’ was one way to describe Basil Butcher, a batsman who was extremely reliable for both the West Indies and Guyana. His ability to turn deliveries around the ground belied his name, he certainly was no butcher, but rather thrived on the art of batsmanship. He was also notoriously good at blocking out his circumstances and there is a famous story about him opening a letter that told him of his wife’s miscarriage during a match against England at Lord’s. Butcher would go onto the field after reading the letter and while visibly upset, score a match-saving 133. For British Guiana in the first instance, and for Guyana in the second, innings like that became quite a bit of a staple for Butcher. In 169 matches he would score 31 centuries and 54 half-centuries. Australian commentator, without seeing his exploits at the First-Class level, described Butcher as the most difficult of all West Indians to get out. Butcher was also a competent leg spinner, taking 40 wickets in his career at an average of 30.42 and with a strike rate of 54.8.

 

Mat    Inns    NO     Runs     HS     Ave    100s     50s    

169      262    29      11628    209*  49.90     31       54   

 

 

Carl Hooper

Carl Hooper was a cool customer, rarely ever looking troubled at the crease. At the international level, this proved problematic because he would get out and it was rarely understandable how it happened. At the First-Class level though, those lapses of concentration that led to him ending with a 36.46 average were absent. Hooper scored 69 centuries at the First-Class level and was one of the most prolific West Indies batsmen of all time, more than 23,000 runs at an average of 47.68. He had 104 half-centuries to boot in a career that spanned 21 years. In those 21 years, Hooper also turned his arm over a few times, ending his career with 555 wickets at an average of 35.30.

 

First-class career (batting): 1984-2004

Mat    Inns    NO     Runs      HS      Ave      100s    50s         

339      535     52     23034     236*   47.68       69     104                     

 

First-class career (bowling): 1984-2004

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

339                46464    19595     555      7/93    35.30    2.53    83.7    18        0

 

 

Clive Lloyd

Standing at 6ft 5in, Clive Lloyd was a dominant figure in World Cricket, but as a First-Class cricketer, those 6 feet plus grew to at least 10. Averaging just south of 50, the hard-hitting former West Indies captain was a man for the moment. If you wanted to see Lloyd at his best, put his team in trouble and that would be an almost eventuality. Seventy-nine times Lloyd would pass the three-figure mark including a career-best 242 not out, and he would get to a half-century or more on 172 other occasions.

 

First-class career: 1963-1986

Mat    Inns    NO     Runs     HS      Ave    100s    50s         

490     730      96     31232    242*   49.26     79     172      

 

      

 

Alvin Kallicharran

Alvin Kallicharran could play all the shots in the book, but not only that, he could do it with a certain poise and grace almost unparalleled even today. Usually, with the kind of genius Kallicharran displayed, there comes episodes that may hinder that genius. There was none of that for Kallicharran who averaged 43.64 over the course of 505 first-class games. That average had been coming down as well, because Kallicharran, played long past the point where he was still at his best. He holds the record for the highest number of centuries from a Guyanese bat, the figure standing at 87, and 160 half-centuries to boot, with only Clive Lloyd having scored more. He would end his career with 32,650 first-class runs under his belt, again, another record for a Guyanese batsman.

 

First-class career: 1966-1990

Mat    Inns    NO     Runs      HS      Ave     100s    50s        

505      834     86     32650     243*   43.64      87     160           

 

Colin Croft

Colin Croft’s modus operandi was aggression and you couldn’t tell if he really meant to kill you after a vicious bouncer whizzed by your ear. With his very noticeable lean to the left side of the wicket, Croft would get the ball to angle towards a right-hander quite sharply before it would straighten off the pitch. That movement with pace and bounce was difficult to navigate for even the most proper of batsmen and only the very talented would survive for too long. In just 121 first-class matches, Croft would claim 428 scalps and some of those wickets were literally scalps, at the incredibly low average of 24.59. His strike rate of 49.3 makes him the most dangerous bowler Guyana has ever produced.

 

First-class career: 1971-1982

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

121     21101   10527    428     8/29    24.59   2.99    49.3     17        1

 

        

Roger Harper (allrounder)

With 567 wickets under his belt, Roger Harper is most decidedly a bowling allrounder. His average of 25.97 at a strike rate of 66.7 bares this truth out but he could also bat, having scored 10 centuries and 36 half-centuries in the 200 first-class matches he has played. Harper, like many allrounders, never wanted to be left out of the game and would make his presence felt in the field as well, picking up and throwing down the stumps all in one motion or cutting off a certain boundary. You couldn’t hit it in the air to him either because his buckets for hands would make no mistake. A tall offspinner, Harper turned the ball depending on the pitch he was bowling on but depended more on deception in flight to get him wickets. His height meant he could make a ball look like it was in the air for a long time when it really wasn’t, as well as he could spare in quick yorkers that would leave a batsman strangled for time to get his feet out of the way.

 

First-class career (batting): 1979-1997

Mat    Inns    NO     Runs     HS      Ave    100s    50s         

200      263     43     7480      234    34.00     10      36                      

 

First-class career (bowling): 1979-1997

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

200     37825    14726      567     6/24    25.97   2.33     66.7     28       3

 

 

Reon King

Reon King is quite possibly the most underrated bowler in the history of West Indies cricket, especially after fast-bowling royalty, Michael Holding, said he could neither bat, bowl nor field. King only played in 19 Tests for the West Indies but lost a yard of pace largely because of a niggling heel injury. Before that though, King generated good pace through an effortless run-up that some ironically likened to Holding’s. Before his career came to an end though, King managed 95 first-class games and 293 wickets at an average of 27.48. His figures, had he been able to remain fit may have surprised Holding. His 11 five-wicket hauls and one 10-wicket haul suggests he could turn a match.

 

First-class career: 1995-2007

Mat    Balls    Runs     wkts   BBI     Ave     Econ   SR     5w     10w

95      16120   8053      293    7/82    27.48   2.99    55.0    11       1

 

Lance Gibbs

Lance Gibbs is the most successful spinner in West Indies history, once holding the world record for most number of wickets in Test cricket history. He was no less of a standout in regional cricket. Generating immense spin with his long fingers, Gibbs was also accurate to a fault. More than a thousand batsmen at the first-class level found him impossible to deal with and his strike rate of 27.22 is proof positive of the danger he posed to them. But Gibbs’ ability to single-handedly turn a match was the real gift the spinner possessed, having taken five wickets in an innings on an unbelievable 50 occasions, and laying claim to ten 10-wicket hauls.

 

First-class career: 1953-1975

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

330     78430  27878     1024   8/37    27.22   2.13   76.5     50     10

SA Rugby and Cricket South Africa have welcomed the decision for players to be able to return to training as part of revised lockdown regulations in the country. 

Nathi Mthethwa, minister for sports, arts and culture, announced the changes at a media briefing on Saturday, with non-contact sports cleared to resume both training and playing.  

As for contact sports, Mthethwa revealed while reporting on the department’s COVID-19 sector relief fund that they will be able to go back in a staggered, controlled manner. 

All professional teams now have 14 days to submit proposals to explain how they will ensure the safety of players and officials. 

"This is the news sport has been waiting to hear as it allows us to begin to ramp up preparations for an eventual return to play," said Jurie Roux, CEO of SA Rugby. 

"We submitted a comprehensive, staged return-to-play protocols document to the department five weeks ago and we are ready to begin medical screening of players immediately. 

"We will seek further clarity from the department on the application of the guidelines as they apply to contact training. 

"But this is an opportunity for our players to enhance their lockdown training regimes by increasing their fitness work for an eventual return to play."

South Africa’s cricketers can also now prepare to resume training again, though no individual will be forced to do so if they are not comfortable with the current situation.

The updated conditions only apply to the professional game, too.

"This is a big boost for the operational side of our cricket," commented Cricket South Africa's acting chief executive Jacques Faul.  

He added: “I have already had discussions with the South African Cricketers' Association (SACA) and I would like to stress that no player, coach, support staff or administrator will be forced to return to training if they are uncomfortable with it at this stage.”

Fanalysts attempting to have their say in the makeup of SportsMax’s Ultimate XI One-Day International (ODI) XI have begun to come around to the idea of axing Chris Gayle from their team even as the Zone and a panel of experts have chopped the list of batsmen 3-5 in half.

Yesterday, fans had been in agreement that Chris Gayle should be one of the openers in its Ultimate XI ODI team, but today, many of those minds have changed, with Gayle now trailing in the voting behind Sachin Tendulkar and Rohit Sharma, the two Indian batsmen the SportsMax Zone and the panel had agreed upon.

Today the SportsMax Zone asked its panel of experts to cut its list of 12 players vying for the spot to six and despite the number of big names, there was ruthless efficiency in dismissing a number of greats.

First to go was one of Pakistan’s most respected batsmen in Inzamum-ul-Haq, who statistics say, bat too slowly to compete with the all-time great middle-order batsmen.

Inzy was competing against the likes of Australia’s Ricky Ponting, Michael Bevan and Mike Hussey, India’s Virat Kohli and Mahendra Singh Dhoni, South Africa’s AB de Villiers, the west Indies’ Brian Lara and Sir Vivian Richards, Sri Lanka’s Kumar Sangakkara and Aravinda de Silva, as well as New Zealand’s Ross Taylor.

Joining Inzy in the dressing room are Dhoni, Bevan, Hussey, de Silva, and Taylor.

Taylor was seen as the best from New Zealand but not a standout when compared to the other great middle-order batsmen of his era, while Dhoni was chopped, presumably because he is expected to compete favourably for a spot as the Ultimate XI’s wicketkeeper.

Bevan and Hussey, despite great averages and the latter’s ‘Mr Cricket’ moniker, were seen as a little outclassed by the other batsmen, while de Silva boasted an average that was too low to compete with the others in the group.

Tomorrow, the panel will discuss the merits and demerits, if there are any, from a group of Sangakarra, Ponting, Kohli, Lara, de Villiers, and Sir Viv.

Remember, no matter what has happened so far, votes are still open for all positions and you can have your say by going to SportsMax.tv and clicking on the banner, or following the link here.

Cricket West Indies has agreed in principle to send a West Indies team to England for a three-Test series in July. The decision was arrived at during a meeting of the board on Thursday.

The decision comes only after CWI medical and cricket-related representatives and advisors have been involved in detailed discussions with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), and their own medical and public health advisers over the past few weeks.

These discussions involved the local and international logistics and protocols, which are already being put in place to minimize risk and optimize the health and safety of all concerned.  CWI has also received and reviewed detailed plans for players and staff to be kept in a bio-secure environment for the duration of the tour, with all matches being played “behind closed doors”.

The CWI will now be awaiting the England Cricket Board who is to get approval from the UK Government sometime over the next few days.

CWI’s management is also now in the process of seeking to put all of the approvals and logistics in place within the Caribbean, including seeking permission from the various governments to facilitate the movement of players and support staff, using private charter planes and conducting medical screenings and individual COVID-19 testing for all members of the touring party.

“I would like to thank the CWI management, the Medical Advisory Committee, and the Financial Strategic Advisory Committee for their detailed and timely presentations given to the Board meeting,” said CWI President Ricky Skerritt.

“In addition to our approval in principle of the proposed Test Tour of England, we made some significant financial management decisions that will be announced and implemented in due course.  The great detail to which the Board engaged in these matters is testimony to their urgency and importance, but it meant that we had to defer a few agenda items until next Wednesday (June 3), when we have scheduled to reconvene”.

Most of Thursday’s lengthy meeting focused on discussing the initial short-term recommendations from the Financial Strategy Advisory Committee (FSAC), a special purpose committee that was put in place by CWI President Ricky Skerritt on April 2, 2020.

The committee comprised a joint membership of Directors and Executive Management, all with significant financial management expertise, chaired by JCA President, Wilford “Billy” Heaven.

The Board agreed to the committee’s business continuity plan of action, for how CWI would have to operate in order to survive its cash flow crisis, in the context of the debilitating economic uncertainties of the global pandemic COVID-19.

 

Cricket West Indies offered condolences to the family and friends of Cleon Smith, head coach of the Jamaica Women’s cricket team. He passed away on Thursday.

Smith played a crucial role in the development of several players on the island, including Stafanie Taylor, the West Indies women’s captain.

He is credited with the success of the Jamaica team in the CWI Women’s tournaments where they won several titles in the last decade. He also coached the St Ann’s parish team several clubs and in schools. Smith was a regular co-ordinator of the Kiddy Cricket programme, which was part of the CWI age-group and junior development pathway.

CWI’s Director of Cricket Jimmy Adams paid tribute to Smith.

“It is with a deep sense of loss that all of us at CWI heard of the passing of Cleon Smith. He has been an integral part of the Jamaica cricketing landscape serving as head coach of the country’s women’s national programme for over ten years,” Adams said.

“Cleon dedicated his life to coaching the game at community, school and regional levels and the game will be left that much poorer by his passing. All of us at CWI wish to convey our deepest condolences to Cleon’s family as we share their grief during this period of mourning

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