Thelston Payne, the former Barbados and West Indies wicketkeeper batsman died on Wednesday at the age of 66. Reports emerging from Barbados said he died of pancreatic cancer. He had been ailing for some time.

A capable wicketkeeper, the floppy-hat wearing Payne spent most of his Test career as an understudy to Jeff Dujon with whom he shared a resemblance.

He served as Dujon’s back up during the 1984 tour of England, in Australia 1984-85, and on later trips to New Zealand, Pakistan and Sharjah. His only chance came when Dujon missed the second Test against England at Port-of-Spain in 1986 through injury, and he held five catches in a comprehensive win.

He played seven One Day Internationals for the West Indies scoring 126 runs at an average of 31.50 and took six catches.

He was more successful in his first-class career that spanned more than a decade.

Payne played 68 first class matches, scoring 3391 runs at an average of 36.85 for Barbados with six hundreds and 25 half centuries. Behind the stumps, he took 103 catches and completed eight stumpings.

In paying tribute, Cricket West Indies President Dr Kishore Shallow said Payne's contributions to West Indies Cricket will be cherished.

“On behalf of CWI, I offer sincere condolences to the family and friends of Thelston Payne. He is one of those unsung heroes of West Indies cricket who served the game at all levels for over four decades. During his playing career, he was a dynamic keeper and stylish batsman and was part of the great era of West Indies cricket when we dominated world cricket, under Sir Clive Lloyd and Sir Viv Richards.," Dr Shallow said.

“After his playing days were over, he made a meaningful contribution as a coach and mentor in Barbados at the grassroots level. He also played a key role in the development of many players. His contribution will be remembered and we will remain grateful to this stalwart of cricket.”


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