Calypso cricket changes under Worrell

Stabroek News
June 23, 2003

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Stabroek Sports continues its review of 75 years of West Indies cricket. Today’s instalment by freelance journalist Sean Devers continues from his opening piece published on Friday.

The 1960/61 series to Australia marked a new era in West Indies cricket as the players became professionals.

Style, flair, aggression and showmanship have always been and will always be a part of West Indies cricket. However, Sir Frank Worrell, the best of all West Indian skippers, made his players understand that they were role models and that being successful was important.

Until 1960, the West Indies captain was always a `white’ person as the tradition of `white being better’ was still alive in the West Indies although slavery had been abolished for over 75 years.

While Headley had led the West Indies in a solitary test, Worrell became the first black captain for a full series and soon became the players’ skipper.

Clive Lloyd, later to become the most successful leader of any test side, had this to say about Worrell.

“Worrell cultivated a new attitude to the problems of West Indian cricket. There was insularity, the call for arithmetical representation from each territory, there was prejudice and there was a lack of confidence that the general and particular methods of selection guaranteed that the best talent emerged.

“The social distinction between amateurs and professionals still held sway. But the onerous problem was how to provide depth and continuity to a system based on week-end cricket. I suppose these problems have not all been satisfactorily solved, but Frank Worrell took us a long way on the road of solution,” Lloyd explained.

Cricket is not just a game to West Indians. It represents our hopes and aspirations, our joys and sorrows, our yesterdays and tomorrows. Deeds on the cricket field become our landmarks in history.

Worrell insisted that his team played as a team and not for individual glory, something the West Indies had been guilty of since their first test match. Discipline, commitment and professionalism were key elements of Worrell’s leadership. He was above all respected by the players and won nine of his 15 tests as captain to earn a sixty percent victory rate, the best among all West Indian skippers.

Worrell died in 1967 after suffering from Leukemia. He paved the way for skippers like Lloyd to build on the foundation he started and the West Indies eventually became the most professional, exciting, complete and invincible side for almost two decades.

Worrell scored nine centuries from 51 tests, averaged 49.48 and captured 69 wickets. He was also the first West Indies captain to win every match in a five test series when India lost 5-nil in 1962.

“My aim was always to see West Indies moulded from a rabble of brilliant island individualists into a real team-and I’ve done it,” were Worrell’s words after his final tour of England in 1963. He had changed the image of West Indies cricket. Sobers, the best all-rounder the world has ever seen, was given the captaincy for the 1965 Australia series but just managed nine wins in 39 matches as skipper before making way for Rohan Kanhai to become the first Windies skipper of East Indian descent in 1973.

In December 1960 at Bris-bane in Australia the first ever tie in Test cricket was achieved when Joe Solomon ran out Ian Mckkiff with a direct hit.

With the scores leveled Solomon had one stump to aim. While Solomon just managed a solitary hundred from his 27 tests he will always be remembered for his part in the tied test.

He got out in a bizarre fashion in the first innings when he trod on his wicket after making a solid 65 and then, with a direct hit, ended a century partnership between Alan Davidson and Richie Benaud by running out Davidson for 80 with Australia closing in on victory.

Two overs later, with the scores level, Solomon ran out Meckiff to write his name in the history books of West Indies cricket. Although Sobers had scored 132 and O’Neill responded with 181, the hero of the match was Solomon, the man with the magic arm.


Kanhai led the West Indies 13 times before the Clive Lloyd era began in 1974 when the West Indies toured India.

Viv Richards, the most successful West Indian batsman and Gordon Greenidge, one of the world’s best openers, both made their debuts under Lloyd on that tour, which the West Indies won 3-2.

Greenidge made 93 and 107 in his first match while Richards slammed an unbeaten 192 in the second test as the invincible team of the 1980’s began to take shape.

With Roy Fredricks in ripping form with two tons in the India series and the first World Cup (1975) under their belt, confidence was high as Lloyd’s men travelled to Australia for the 1976 series.

The West Indies boasted a powerful batting line-up - Greendige, Fredricks, Kallicharran, Rowe, Lloyd, Murray, Julien and Boyce. Their confidence was high.

That they lost the six test series 5-1 is now history. West Indies had no answer for the relentless and hostile pace attack spearheaded by Denis Lillie and Jeff Thompson.

Things got so bad that Fredricks, who hit an explosive 169 at Perth in the only game the West Indies won, changed three opening partners-Greenidge, Julien and Richards.

Richards scored 30, 101, 50 and 98 in his four innings as opener while Lloyd scored a century when West Indies won the second test, but the pace was just too much for the Caribbean batsmen on the lightening fast pitches. Lance Gibbs, West Indies’ most experienced bowler and the first bowler to reach 300 test wickets took 5-102 in the first test but, not assisted by the hard tracks, only managed nine wickets in the next five matches.

It was a true thrashing which brought the West Indies back to earth after their World Cup and test success the year before.


After the 5-1 loss to Australia, Lloyd was ready to fight fire with fire and introduced a four-prong pace attack which soon became the feared weapon that the Windies used to dominated world cricket on all types of pitches.

Roberts, Julien, Holder and Daniel comprised the pace quartet with a young Holding waiting in the wings for the 1976 tour to England.

Smarting from their Australia defeat, West Indies was keen to do well. Before the series began Tony Greg said he would make the West Indies grovel.

The word grovel means ‘to crawl on the ground, especially in a show of fear or humility’ and reminded West Indians of the days of slavery when the slaves groveled at the feet of white plantation owners who beat them to work. Greg’s comment ignited the passion to prove that West Indies people no longer suffered from inferiority complex when they came up against their old masters.

England were beaten 3-nill as the specialist spinners, Albert Padmore and Rafik Jumadeen were just given one match each as Lloyd relied on pace, his new weapon of destruction.

Shepherd, Christiani receive cricket quiz prize

Desmond Shepherd and Ralf Christiani yesterday received their Caribbean Cricket Quiz third place prize from the sponsors, Grace Kennedy Remittance Service/Western Union.

According to a release from sponsors, Shepherd and Christiani who placed third in the quiz that was held in Barbados last November, won an all expense paid trip to Jamaica for the second Cable and Wireless Test match between West Indies and Sri Lanka. They also received US$500 spending money.

Co-sponsors LIAT, also participated in yesterday’s presentation ceremony at the GKRS Guyana Head Office, Water Street.

It was 1978 and the 50th year of West Indies cricket. Everyone was anticipating the visit of Bobby Simpson’s Australians and seeing the raw pace of Jeff Thompson.

West Indies won the first two tests with Kallicharranget-ing a hundred in the first test and Desmond Haynes, whommade his debut in this series to replace Fredricks who retired, getting half-centuries in his first three innings.

Haynes had signed for the Kerry Packer series organized by the Australian millionaire and was dropped by the West Indies selectors for the third test in Guyana.

The rest of the Packer contracted players decided not to play when Lloyd could no longer carry on as captain and Alvin Kallicharran took over as skipper.

Larry Gomes got his chance to enter test cricket and the West Indies, although weakened, won the fourth test to win the series 3-1.

Kallicharran, who had earlier signed with Packer but had subsequently changed his mind, was given the captaincy and was skipper of the side which toured India in 1979.

The West Indies team under Kallicharran and without the Packer players narrowly lost the six test series 1-0.

The late Malcolm Marshall made his debut on this tour while Faoud Bacchus made 250 in the final test before being out hit wicket.

The 1979 World Cup was just around the corner and the West Indies were the defending champions. Winning was important.

The Packer players were reinstated, West Indies retained the World Cup and then went to Australia where they beat the home team 2-0.

This was the series which saw the pace team of Andy Roberts, Michael Holding, Colin Croft and Joel Garner being formed.

West Indies toured New Zealand and suffered from some very poor umpiring to lose the three test series 1-nil despite two hundreds from Haynes.

Tempers flared on that tour as Croft ran into an umpire and Holding kicked out the stumps in frustration.

This was to be the last series defeat for the West Indies in 15 years as they proved almost invincible with aggressive batting, hostile fast bowling, brilliant fielding and great team spirit and commitment.

Determined to prove that the 1980 demise in New Zealand was more due to the umpiring than lack of ability of his team, Lloyd led from the front and, along with the young Haynes and Viv Richards, scored centuries in the three-test 1980 series against England which his team won 1-nil to start their reign as heavyweight champ-ions of the cricketing world until Alan Border’s Australians beat the home team 2-1 in the 1995 series in the West Indies.

With Gordon Greenidge and Haynes firmly established as the game’s premier opening pair and Roberts, Holding, Marshall, Garner and Croft giving opposing batsmen countless nightmares, the West Indies were unbeatable during the 1980’s.

Another reason for the West Indies success apart from their magnificent fielding and hectic fitness programmes conducted by Australian trainer Dennis Waithe, was the batting of their ‘keeper Jeff Dujon. Dujon made his debut as a batsman in the 1981/82 tour to Australia and scored 41, 43, 44 and 48 in his first two test matches. He then made 51 and 0 not out in the next test when he took over the gloves from Derek Murray who had 189 dismissals from his 62 test matches.

The West Indies, now with a specialist batsman who was acrobatically efficient to the fast bowlers as wicket-keeper, proceeded to whitewash England 5-nil in the 1984 series in England and beat Australia 3-1 down under as the career of Lloyd (110 matches, 7,515 runs, H/S 242*, Ave.46.67, 100’s 19, 50’s 39) came to an end and Viv Richards took over as captain.

Richards continued the dominance of Lloyd’s team by beating England 5-nil in the 1986 series in the Caribbean and won a record 11 consec-utive test victories from April 4-December 1984 - three against Australia at home, five in England and another three in Australia. This record was broken by Australia in 2001.

West Indies, who enjoyed 27 matches without a defeat between January 1982 and December 1984, was the most feared team in International cricket although India had scored an upset victory over them in the 1983 World Cup final.

Greenidge and Haynes built solid foundations for Richardson, Richards, Gomes, Logie, Dujon and the bowlers to work on. Both openers scored their first century against Australia in the second innings of the first test in the 1984 series at Bourda to register tons against every team they had played against.

Off-spinner Roger Harper took 46 wickets and played 25 test matches - the most by any spinner - during the West Indies era of pace and fire, but this was mainly due to his brilliant fielding and ability with the bat. A twenty-year-old Hooper made his debut in the 1987 series in India and scored a classy hundred in his second test. Richards, West Indies coach Gus Logie and Greenidge also scored centuries on that tour which the West Indies drew 1-1.

While specialist spinner Clyde Butts failed to take a wicket in the match, leg spinner Narendra Hirwani took eight wickets in both innings of the last test to give India victory reinforcing the ‘all pace’ policy by Richards’ team.

With Marshall the spearhead and Walsh and Ambrose now key players in the team, England narrowly avoided another whitewash in the 1988 series in England when they lost 4-0 after drawing the first test.

Haynes led the West Indies in the three test 1991 series to Pakistan and Brian Lara, who had scored consist -ently at all levels, finally made his test debut in the third test and scored 44 in an import -ant partnership with Hooper who scored 134. The series was drawn 1-1 and Richards, who missed the Pakistan series due to injury, took back the captaincy and beat Australia 2-1 in the 1991 home series.

After drawing the 1991 away series against England 2-2, when Clayton Lambert made his debut, Richards was replaced by Richardson for the inaugural test against South Africa in 1992 in Barbados. West Indies came back to win that match as Ambrose took 6-34 as the visitors, set 200 to win, fell for 148 with Adams (79* and 4-43) taking the man-of-the-match on debut.

In 1993, Sri Lanka drew their inaugural test in the one test series against the West Indies in Sri Lanka.

Lara broke Sir Garfield Sobers’ record in the final test of the 1994 series against England at the ARG after Shivnarine Chanderpaul had become the youngest Guyanese and sixth youngest West Indian test player in the second test of that series in Guyana. Walsh also became the first specialist bowler to captain the West Indies in the final test of that series.

The next year saw the West Indies losing their first series in 15 years when Australia won 2-1 at home to start a downhill journey for the once invincible team.

Windies cricket took nose dive from ‘95
Since losing the 1995 home series to Australia, Jerome Taylor has become the forty- first player to debut for the regional team. Five debutants played in the last series against Australia while Lara became the first captain to lose three consecutive test matches at home when Australia won the series 3-1.

Captains Richardson, Walsh, Lara, Adams and Hooper in addition to three WICB Presidents (Peter Short, Pat Rousseau and now Wes Hall) have come and gone since 1995. Hall is not seeking re-election due to health reasons and Chetram Singh is tipped to become the first Guyanese to be elected WICB President when the regional Board holds its AGM next month.

Richardson (suffering from acute fatigue syndrome) resigned during the 1996 World Cup after four years in the job.

Walsh was dismissed after the 3-0 defeat in Pakistan and Lara given the job he had been groomed for since his days at the youth level. After two years of what he called “moderate success and devastating failure” Lara quit before the 2000 series against Zimbabwe and Pakistan and took a break from the game.

Adams was next and although he won at home he became the first captain to lose a series in England in 31 years before being hammered 5-nil in Australia. Loss of form and failure as skipper resulted in the end of Adams’ career prior to the 2001 home series against South Africa.

Hooper, the fifth captain in six years, was appointed in 2001 after the 2003 World Cup, Hooper was replaced by Lara. Hooper, hurt by the WICB’s manner in sacking him as skipper, pulled out of the squad for the 2003 home series days before the start of the first test in his homeland Guyana.

West Indies has lost 25 of their last 32 ‘away’ matches since 1997 and are in danger of losing two home series in the same year for the first time if they lose the second test to Sri Lanka.

When West Indies lost 3-nil to Pakistan in 1997 in Pakistan it was the first time they had been whitewashed in a series since 1928.

The regional team was then white washed 5-nil in South Africa in the 1998 series.

Off the field there was more embarrassment when seven players selected for the youth World Cup in South Africa had to be withdrawn because they were over the age limit.

Another forgettable West Indies record was achieved at the start of the 1998 home series against England when Sabina Park became the venue for the first abandoned test match due to a dangerous pitch since test cricket began in 1877.

If 1998 was bad 1999 was worse. Former West Indies fast bowler Malcolm Marshall died in November after losing a battle with cancer at age 41. One month later, Sir Conrad Hunt (67) died of a heart attack while ex-Windies pacer Sylvester Clarke (44) died a week later.

On the field the West Indies, led by Lara, who was criticised for his leadership skills and put on a two-match probation by the WICB, drew the Australia home series 2-2 after West Indies fell for 51 (their lowest total) in the first test in Trinidad. Lara scored 546 runs (Ave. 91) in the series including a brilliant unbeaten 153 in Barbados and a magnificent 213 in Jamaica.

Crowd invasion in Guyana and an ugly bottle throwing episode in Barbados marred the one-day series and further stained the image of West Indies cricket in 1999.

Hooper retired during the penultimate game of the one-day series leaving a big hole in the one-day side which had already been picked for the 1999 world Cup.

“I don’t think I am giving one hundred percent and I think it is time to go. I hope to do something else with my life. I have made a decision and that’s final” Hooper told reporters at that time.

Hooper however returned to regional first class cricket in 2001 and was given the captaincy for the 2001 home series against South Africa after scoring 954 runs and leading Guyana to the Busta final. Television commentator and former West Indies pacer Michael Holding withdraw from the series in protest of the decision to replace Adams with Hooper as captain.

The West Indies lost the series 2-1 to South Africa after an emotional victory in the final test in Jamaica ensured Walsh ended his test career on home soil with a victory. The great Jamaican fast bowler became the first bowler to take 500 tests wickets when he had Jacques Kallis LBW in the Trinidad test and ended his final series with 25 wickets.

West Indies was whitewashed again, this time in Sri Lanka, losing all three tests under Hooper’s captaincy in the 2001 series despite three tons and over 688 runs from Lara.

West Indies suffered another whitewash losing both tests in New Zealand despite a record first wicket stand of 276 between Adrian Griffith and Sherwin Campbell who both scored centuries in the first test. The woeful Windies had now lost a record 10 consecutive tests.

Once again the Windies played well at home beating India 2-1 with Hooper leading the way with 579 runs and Chanderpaul taking the player of the series award with 562 runs.

But the ‘away’ problems again surfaced as West Indies lost to India 2-1 in 2002. Led by Ridley Jacobs and without Hooper and Lara (both injured), West Indies won both test matches against the weak Bangladesh team later that year as Ramnaresh Sarwan finally got his first test hundred in his forty-ninth innings.

The manner in which Marlon Samuels was picked, dropped and then picked again for the 2003 World Cup after a knee complaint surfaced during the training camp in Antigua just prior to the team’s departure for South Africa was just another indication that all was not well with the way West Indies cricket was being administered.

While the West Indies beat Zimbabwe 1-nil in their last two-test series in Zimbabwe their next tour to that country and the one after that to South Africa at the end of this year could be the biggest test for the young players hoping to regain the glory days of their predecessors.

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