BestXI: Building an all-time West Indies Championship – Windward Islands

By May 17, 2020

The Windward Islands have waited for a long time to get going in the production of long-standing West Indies players since the grouping of islands never started playing in the region’s first-class competition until 1959.

The group of islands made up of Dominica, Grenada, St Lucia and St Vincent and the Grenadines have never won the West Indies Championship as it is called today, but they have produced some good cricketers along the way.

In continuance of creating an all-time West Indies Championship we have sought to have a look at the best players from each territory in a bid to see just what that competition would look like.

 

Windward Islands Best XI


Devon Smith (Grenada)

Devon Smith is one of the most prolific scorers in the history of first-class cricket in the region and over the last 22 years, he has almost consistently put his hands up for a chance to play at the Test level. He has not performed particularly well there, with just one century and eight half-centuries in 43 games, but at the first-class level, in 217 matches the opener has scored 38 centuries and 63 half-centuries at an average of 39.78.        

 

First-class Career: Grenada 1998-present

Mat    Inns    NO     Runs      HS        Ave      100s      50s   

217     395      26     14681     212      39.78       38        63


 

Irvine Shillingford

Irvine Shillingford was so talented that he made his first-class debut at just 16 years old, though he never played again until he was 20. Batting against a touring Australian side, and despite enjoying a fruitful career for the Combined Islands with 11 centuries and 28 half-centuries, he would not get a West Indies opportunity until he was 32 years old. Still, in just four games, he scored a century of 120, but there was little in between and he was dropped.

First-class Career: Dominica 1961–1982

Mat    Inns    NO     Runs     HS     Ave     100s     50s   

92       157       8      5449     238    36.57      11       28

 

Lockhart Sebastien (Dominica)

Lockhart Sebastien earned his place among the greats of Windward Islands cricket with 19 years of dedicated service. It didn’t hurt that he was super talented as well, scoring five centuries and 33 half-centuries in 92 first-class games. His average of 32.89 along with his attitude to leadership makes him a good fit for any batting line-up.

First-class career: 1971-1989

Mat    Inns    NO     Runs   HS     Ave    100s     50s   

92       162      12     4934   219    32.89     5        33

Andre Fletcher (Grenada)

Andre Fletcher, now a veteran of the Windward Islands set-up, has time and again, saved his team from a worse fate than it would first appear they were destined to suffer.

However, Fletcher has had the tendency to be inconsistent, but when he gets it right there are few bowlers in the region to contain him.

First-class career: Grenada 2004–present

Mat    Inns    NO     Runs     HS     Ave    100s      50s   

71       126       8       3678    123    31.16    5          22    

 

Dawnley Joseph (St Vincent)

Dawnley Joseph is possibly the most popular cricketer from the Windward Islands not to have played for the West Indies. Joseph scored five first-class centuries and 18 half-centuries on his way to a 30.89 average.

First-class career: 1986-1999

Mat    Inns    NO     Runs    HS     Ave     100s   50s   

68       124      5       3676    149    30.89     5       18    

 

 

Daren Sammy (St. Lucia)

Daren Sammy’s exploits in first-class cricket as an allrounder certainly help him make this list. As a bowler, he has taken 10 five-wicket hauls and bagged four on six occasions, while scoring two hundreds and 22 half-centuries to boot. But Sammy is also the man you want fighting in the trenches with you, leading the troops. He is the man for tight situations. With the ball, he has 217 wickets and with the bat, 3,549 runs.

        

First-class career (Batting): 2002–2013

Mat    Inns    NO     Runs          HS     Ave     100s    50s        

96       158      9       3549          121    23.81      2       22                     

 

First-class career (Bowling): 2002–2013

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

96                  13744   6312       217    7/66   29.08   2.75    63.3      6       10

 

Junior Murray (Grenada)

Junior Murray wasn’t originally a wicketkeeper but rather a batsman. He began keeping wicket but never looked very elegant because he was seen as too tall and heavy-handed, however, the combination of his keeping and his batting in combination were dangerous for opposition. His 368 dismissals in just 149 matches is an impressive statistic, while his average of 30 means he is always in the game.

 

First-class career: 1992–2002

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

149    251       30     6830     218    30.90   11       30     337         31

Kenroy Peters (St Vincent)

While just a medium-pacer of diminutive stature, Kenroy Peters could sometimes hit the bat hard with his skiddy kind of action and found a fair amount of success bowling for the Windward Islands over the course of 18 years. He bagged 232 wickets in just 78 matches at an average of just over 20.

 

First-Class Career: 1999-2017

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

78      11601  4726      232    7/36     20.37     2.44     50.0      9          0

 

Shane Shillingford (Dominica)

It is hard to believe that Shane Shillingford has been playing first-class cricket for 20 years but he has. In those 20 years the right arm offspinner has managed 587 wickets at an average of 24.32. Shillingford could produce a mixed bag. He would bowl quickly, exchanging flight and guile for bounce and bite. But those flight variations could come as well if it needed to.

 

First-Class Career: 2000-present

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

132     31564      14278     587     8/33    24.32    2.71   53.7    43       11

 

Winston Davis (St Vincent)

Had Winston Davis been born in any era except the one he was, he would have been a regular Test-playing quick.

And Davis was quick. That pace brought him 608 wickets at an average of 28.48 with a strike rate of 54.2. He took four wickets in an innings on 28 occasions and had seven fivers.

 

First-class career: 1979-1992

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

181     32987   17316    608     7/52    28.48   3.14   54.2    28       7

 

Nixon McLean (St Vincent)

Tall and muscular, Nixon McLean could get quick and while he never made a very effective Test bowler, at the first-class level, the 506 wickets he took said different. McLean didn’t move the ball too often, but on a good pitch for fast bowling, he could be a handful. He hit the pitch hard enough to cause problems.

 

First-class career: 1992-2006

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

149    26258    13925    506    7/28    27.51   3.18   51.8     19     3

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.

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