Moments in time: Kanhai, Sobers, Butcher collar India in Kolkata

By June 01, 2020
Sir Garfield Sobers, Rohan Kanhai, and Basil Butcher Sir Garfield Sobers, Rohan Kanhai, and Basil Butcher

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.

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.

Related items

  • Gayle reaches career milestone but Royals reign over Kings XI Gayle reaches career milestone but Royals reign over Kings XI

    Rajasthan Royals came through a six-hitting onslaught from Chris Gayle to beat Kings XI Punjab, keeping them firmly in contention for the Indian Premier League play-offs. 

    Gayle surpassed 1,000 career maximums in Twenty20 cricket - the first player to reach that number - before being dismissed for 99, bowled by Jofra Archer (2-26).

    The left-hander's wonderful 63-ball knock, coupled with a late cameo from fellow West Indian Nicholas Pooran (22), powered Kings XI to 185-4. 

    However, the Royals overhauled that total with seven wickets in hand, moving them level with their fourth-placed opponents on 12 points as the round-robin stage draws towards a close. 

    Ben Stokes led the way in the chase with a 26-ball 50 at the top of the order, while Sanju Samson made 48 and Rajasthan skipper Steve Smith finished up unbeaten on 31. 

    Jos Buttler hurried his team to their target with two late sixes as he made 22 not out from 11 deliveries, the Royals clinching victory thanks to a Chris Jordan wide midway through the 18th over. 

     

    GAYLE LAUNCHES INTO ROYALS

    There was to be no 23rd T20 century for Gayle, though the 41-year-old still reached a notable milestone during his innings. He boosted his career sixes total with eight more on Friday, including one off Archer in the 20th over that took him to 1,001.

    However, the bowler got his revenge with the next ball, aided by a deflection off bat and pad. Gayle threw his bat after falling just short, then shared a handshake with Archer before departing.

    ROYALS RUNNING INTO FORM

    Having returned figures of 2-32 with the ball, Stokes gave Rajasthan's reply the early impetus it required. His half-century here followed on from an unbeaten 107 against Mumbai Indians last time out.

    The England international appears to be coming into form at the perfect time for the Royals, though they still remain outside the top four in the table. They have one game remaining - against fellow play-off hopefuls Kolkata Knight Riders on Sunday - and the fight to qualify could well come down to net run-rate.

  • Taylor dazzles but Shaheen and Wahab bowl Pakistan to victory Taylor dazzles but Shaheen and Wahab bowl Pakistan to victory

    Shaheen Afridi took five wickets as Pakistan fended off a Zimbabwe side who were almost propelled to a shock ODI victory by Brendan Taylor.

    Pakistan landed a 26-run victory in the first game of a three-match ODI series, the first step for both teams on the road to the 2023 World Cup, inflicting on Zimbabwe their 500th international defeat.

    The home side posted 281-8 before bowling out Zimbabwe for 255, but the visitors had been firmly in the hunt until wicketkeeper-batsman Taylor fell for a battling 112 to the penultimate ball of the 47th over. He had earlier taken three catches and played his part in a run out.

    It was Shaheen who ended his stay on the way to figures of 5-49, while fellow left-arm paceman Wahab Riaz also claimed a priceless 4-41, wrapping up the win by bowling last man Blessing Muzarabani.

    Babar Azam, in his first ODI as Pakistan captain, was able to celebrate a hard-fought success - a seventh in a row for the team.

    Pakistan's innings was built on half-centuries from opener Imam-ul-Haq (58) and Haris Sohail (71), but wickets fell at such regular intervals that there was no defining partnership. Indeed, the opening pair of Imam and Abid Ali put on more than any other pair. 

    Imad Wasim clubbed a pair of late sixes late in the innings on his way to an unbeaten 34 from 26 balls, but Zimbabwe were still in the game. 

    Shaheen accounted for openers Brian Chari and Chamu Chibhabha, bowling both to leave Zimbabwe wobbling on 28-2 in reply, but Craig Ervine (41) and Taylor put on 71 for the third wicket, and it was game on when Taylor and Wesley Madhevere produced a century stand for the fifth. 

    Yet losing Madhevere (55) early in the 46th over was a major blow, with Wahab disrupting the established partnership and giving Pakistan the breakthrough they craved. 

    Taylor was next to go, top-edging to Wahab at mid-off, and the Zimbabwe lower order was blown away, along with the prospect of a tight finish. 

    It meant a success for Pakistan in their first ODI since October 2019, and in the first such match played at Rawalpindi since 2006. 

    Having lost 17 of their previous 18 ODIs in Pakistan, it was a largely predictable outcome for Zimbabwe, with the teams due back in action in the second match of this series on Sunday.

  • Roddy Estwick urges Windies players to step up performance for New Zealand tour Roddy Estwick urges Windies players to step up performance for New Zealand tour

    West Indies bowling coach Roddy Estwick has urged the players to raise their game for the series against New Zealand set to run from November 27 to December 15.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.