Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 14th 2015 Contents A42
Sunday Guardian www.guardian.co.tt June 14, 2015
If you were at
Kingston s Jamaica Pega-
sus Hotel last week, as
were five of the seven sur-
viving West Indies crick-
eting "Sirs" when they
attended the awards cer-
emony hosted by West
Indies Cricket Board and
West Indies Players Asso-
ciation, then you ought to
have been inspired.
That room had to be dripping with cricket great-
ness. What a night it must have been!
Realistically, it will not be often again in the
future that Sir Everton Weekes, Sir Wesley Hall,
Sir Andy Roberts, Sir Curtly Ambrose, and Sir
Richard Richardson, tremendous cricketers for
their respective countries and past WI teams, could
be in the same place again. What a wonderful
opportunity to reminisce on WI cricketing style.
Missing were Sir Garfield Sobers and Sir Vivian
These seven knights have an astonishing 541
Tests; 644 ODI s; 43,834 international runs and
1,499 international wickets between them.
On paper, all they need to have an unbeatable
but imaginary proper team, for any format, would
be a real wicket-keeper, two real opening batsmen
and perhaps another front-line spinner.
That timely opportunity last week afforded a
chance of a lifetime for present WI cricketing
underlings to rub shoulders with greats, hoping
that something could "rub off" from them, espe-
cially with that word "great" having been so badly
diluted over the past few decades.
If you are a present WI cricketer or aspirant and
you were there, you ought to have taken every
chance, with risks too I expect, to enquire from
these stalwarts as to what was it that they did
over their careers to make them not only special
to WI cricket but revered worldwide.
Denesh Ramdin, present WI captain, and the
rest of his squad for Test No 2 versus Australia;
even the Australians too; must have taken that
opportunity to admire those knights with awe.
Unfortunately, I had to be elsewhere, attending to
more important personal situations. Pity!
1950 s, 60 s, 70 s and 80 s, cricket s "time of
romance," and 1990 s and 2000 s, were very dif-
ferent times cricket-wise, even if Sir Curtly and
Sir Richie played during international cricket s
"time of transition." Sir Richie s career ended in
1995 while Sir Curtly played until 2000.
The greatest, Sir Gary, is like boxer Muhammed
Ali. They cannot be duplicated. Truth be told, I
doubt, even after so much elapsed time, that Sir
Gary knew, or even now realises, how massive a
cricketer he was!
Having seen him play for the first time in 1971
versus India and as a Guyana Under-19 player
even actually bowling to him at WI practice then;
with achievements on cricket arenas, might it have
been UK, India, Australia or Caribbean, that man
is the last of cricket s all-around geniuses.
Sir Everton, third of "Three W s"
, following Sir
Clyde Walcott and Sir Frank Worrell, is still my
personal favourite WI cricketer of all time, and
not only because I am similarly named, as Sir
Andy probably was too, after Sir Everton s big
exploits around the time we were born; early 1950 s.
Like Brian Lara, Sir Richie and Sir Viv, Sir Everton
is a batting luminary, but unlike Sir Everton and
Lara, Sir Viv was more openly destructive, like his
name-sake, "Smoking" Joe Frazier of boxing fame.
Sir Richie was not far behind Sir Viv either in bat-
Sir Everton was somewhat more classical, as
smooth and effective as perhaps another boxer,
Floyd Patterson. If Lara was a boxer, he might
have been Sugar Ray Leonard.
Lara, Sir Everton, Sir Viv and Sir Gary are always
included in "All-time WI XI s
, regardless of whom
the selectors are. That alone confirms
their own cricketing immortality.
With modern cricket, so many avenues
to endure, so many shorter competitions
to manipulate, so many political and other
obstacles to overcome, it is conceivable
that these seven cricketing knights could
be some of the very last that we might
ever know here.
Barbados could still maybe suggest Gor-
don Greenidge, Desmond Haynes and Joel
Garner for knighthoods, while Jamaica
might even think about giving similar
acknowledgements to Chris Gayle,
Michael Holding and Courtney Walsh,
but few other ex-players deserve such
Guyana and T&T are both republics,
so if Clive Lloyd and Rohan Kanhai are
to be knighted, then they will have to get
those gongs through their adopted domi-
Guyana s Shiv Chanderpaul and
Lancelot Gibbs, and T&T s Deryck Murray
and Lara, all for tremendous services ren-
dered sometimes beyond duty for Pres-
ident or Prime Minister, will simply have
to miss out due to each respective coun-
try s political foundations.
Darren Sammy could be knighted by
St Lucia too, as were Sir Viv, Sir Andy,
Sir Richie and Sir Curtly honoured by
Antigua & Barbuda, but that barrel of
knighthoods is becoming empty.
Sir Curtly and Sir Andy have been head-
liners for recent successful WI fast bowling
culture, but if one is to nominate "The
real father of modern WI fast bowling"
then that additional accolade must go to
Sir Wes, the only man ever described as
"pace like fire"
, always leading from the
We may never see such justifiably hon-
oured cricketing knights again in our his-
Inspirational WI cricket excellence all in one place
COLIN EH CROFT
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