King, Gayle top Busta averages

Stabroek News
February 9, 2000

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, (CANA) - Improving West Indies fast bowler Reon King and promising Jamaica opening batsman Chris Gayle topped the bowling and batting averages at the end of the fifth series of matches in the preliminary stage of the 2000 Busta Cup regional cricket competition.

King, 24, who played in just two matches after returning home from the Windies' ill-starred tour of New Zealand, captured 17 wickets at an average of 10.47.

His best bowling performance was five for 24 off 20 overs against Trinidad and Tobago in the third round when he achieved match figures of 10 for 95 in 51 overs

Gayle, an exciting 20-year-old left-hander, with a penchant for stroke-making, amassed 411 runs at an average of 58.71.

In a disappointing season for batsmen, Gayle, who has represented the West Indies in One-day cricket, is the lone player with over 400 runs and one of only two, who managed to reach the 300-mark leading up to the semi-finals.

Gayle's highest score was a maiden first-class century (121 not out) against Guyana in the second round while other noteworthy scores were 86 not out against the Windwards, 39 and 69 versus Barbados and 69 against Trinidad and Tobago.

Gayle, however, endured a lean game against the Leeward Islands, when he was out cheaply for scores of 12 and seven as Jamaica crashed to an innings and 46 runs defeat.

Guyana's leg-spinner Mahendra Nagamootoo was the most successful bowler with 27 wickets at an average of 18.77 apiece. Even though, he did not grab a five-wicket innings haul, Nagamootoo was very consistent, twice taking four for 45.

Another leg break bowler Dave Marshall of Barbados had the second most wickets. He snared 24 scalps at 15.83 runs each with the best innings haul of seven for 47 against the Windward Islands when he gained match figures of 11 for 145.

Three seam-bowling all-rounders, Barbadian Hendy Bryan, Jamaican Laurie Williams and Nevisian Carl Tuckett, who have all represented the West Indies in One-day cricket but never on the Test arena, performed well with bat and ball.

Bryan hauled in 21 wickets at 17.95 apiece and scored 175 runs (average 29.16) while Williams grabbed 15 wickets at 15.46 each and scored 297 runs (average 37.12), including a career-best 135 in the first round against the Windwards.

It was 31-year-old Williams' first regional century and third in first-class cricket.

Tuckett, who had to miss the Leewards' fourth-round match against Guyana because of food poisoning, captured 12 wickets at 14.91 apiece and scored 131 runs in four completed innings at an average of 32.75.

Veteran West Indies' pacer Curtly Ambrose was second in the bowling averages with 19 wickets at 12.52.

The lanky 36-year-old Antiguan has been easily the tournament's most miserly bowler, sending down 78 maidens in 171.2 overs for 238 runs.

The reliable Ridley Jacobs is among three wicket-keepers in the first seven positions in the batting averages.

Jacobs has 148 runs (average 49.33) while the two glovemen he replaced in the West Indies team, Barbadian Courtney Browne (256 runs, average 42.66) and Grenadian Junior Murray (228 runs, average 38.00), have outshone some of the more accomplished batsmen.

So far, nine centuries have been recorded with Barbados' captain Philo Wallace, with knocks of 117 versus Guyana and exactly 100 against Trinidad and Tobago, the only player with two hundreds.

Wallace, who is facing a one-match suspension for questioning a couple of decisions made by Trinidadian umpire Zainul Maccum in Barbados' narrow one-run victory over Trinidad and Tobago on Sunday, has the second highest aggregate of 360 runs at an average of 45.00.