BestXI: Building an all-time West Indies Championship – T&T

By May 23, 2020

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

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

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

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

But here is our effort at doing so.

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

Best XI

Jeffrey Stollmeyer

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

 

First-Class career: 1938-1957

Mat    Inns    NO     Runs     HS     Ave     100s     50s

117      194     16     7942      324    44.61     14       38 

 

 

Joey Carew

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

 

First-Class career: 1955-1974

Mat    Inns    NO     Runs    HS     Ave     100s     50s 

129      221    18      7810     182    38.47     13       43  

 

 

Brian Lara

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

 

First-Class career: 1987-2008

Mat    Inns    NO     Runs     HS      Ave    100s    50s  

261      440     13     22156    501*   51.88     65      88    

 

 

Larry Gomes

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

 

First-Class career: 1971-1988

Mat    Inns    NO     Runs    HS      Ave       100s    50s

231      370     50     12982   200*   40.56        32      63 

 

 

Gerry Gomez

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

 

First-Class career: 1937-1956

Batting

Mat    Inns    NO     Runs     HS      Ave      100s     50s    

126      182     27      6764     216*   43.63      14       29      

Bowling

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

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

 

 

Charlie Davis

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

 

First-Class career: 1960-1976

Mat    Inns    NO     Runs     HS     Ave     100s     50s   

90       152     18      5538     183    41.32      14       28 

 

 

Denesh Ramdin (wicketkeeper) 1.59 dismissals per innings

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

 

First-Class career: 2004-present

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

161      273     36     7115     166*   30.02      15      33       393        40

 

 

Learie Constantine

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

 

First-Class career: 1955-1974

Batting

Mat    Inns    NO     Runs    HS     Ave    100s    50s   

119      197     11     4475     133    24.05     5       28     

Bowling

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

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

 

 

Tony Gray

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

 

First-Class career: 1983-1995

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

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

 

 

Sonny Ramadhin

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

 

First-Class career: 1949-1965

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

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

 

 

Ian Bishop

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

 

First-Class career: 1986-1999

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

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

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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