The history of double playing By Imran Khan
Stabroek News
December 15, 2003

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In addition to the shock selection of Dwayne Smith and the recall of Adam Sanford to the West Indies team, of late Ricardo Powell has been cricketing quite a bit of stir in Caribbean cricket circles. This time though his willowed blade is not the source of the buzz but rather it is his decision to opt to play for Trinidad where he now resides with his pregnant Trini wife instead of making the expensive trek back to his native Jamaica to play the trial matches for the Carib Beer Series squad.

Here in Jamaica the decision has been generally understood but has been received with regret and a growing uneasiness. Powell's critics who include the popular CMC CricketPlus commentator Simon Crosskill accuse him of being unpatriotic. His supporters cast blame on the Jamaica Cricket Association for not arranging for the young West Indies One Day specialists' air fare to be defrayed through sponsorship or some other beneficiary financial mechanism. They also point to the fact that Jamaica has benefited in a like manner, most notably from the West Indies super captain Sir Frank Worrell who played for the island ahead of his Barbadian homeland.

Apart from Sir Frank though, which other West Indies players hold special privilege of having representing two separate territories at the regional level? It is an intriguing question.

The likes if Sir Viv Richards and Andy Roberts along with other Leewards and Windwards players would have that honour having first been a part of the Combined Islands team before the islands were divided. But their decision was not one where they chose one over the other but rather were confirming to the machinations of the WICB regulations which were existent at that time.

They played for the Combined Islands, then went with either the Leewards or Windwards team when those two units obtained full status as a regional unit.

Sir Frank did choose and so did ten others who went on to play cricket at the highest level for the West Indies. Sir Frank who ended his Test career with an average of 49.48 played 15 matches for Barbados but only two less for Jamaica. He was fortunate in a strange way though, as while wearing Jamaican colours he never faced Barbados.

The second of the Three Ws, Sir Clyde Walcott also did the trick. In addition to his 25 matches for Barbados he played 16 for our own country, the then British Guiana. Sir Clyde, as the championship board at Bourda proudly declares, is Guyana's winningest captain have led Guyana in the 1950s and 60s.

There is one Guyanese Test player who followed in the footsteps of Worrell and Walcott. And he is arguably Guyana's finest batting product, Rohan Kanhai who played one match for Trinidad against the touring Australians.

But Cyril 'Snuffie' Brown who was actually born in Barbados in 1890 suited up for British Guiana 21 times in addition to the seven outings for Barbados. During that same early 20th Century period, Learie Constantine appeared once for Barbados and 18 times for Trinidad.

Later on former West Indies Cricket Board president Rev. Wes Hall reciprocated, turning out for Trinidad nine times to add to his 13 Barbadian games.

Barbados always seems to be involved one way or the other. A relative unknown, Michael Frederick who played one Test for the Windies against England in 1954 played once for his birthland Barbados in 1944. Ten years later he donned Jamaican colours twice.

Another Bajan, David Holford the leg spinner with 51 Test wickets played one match for Trinidad and 57 for Barbados.

Dereck Sealy who played 11 Tests in the 1930s had a cruel time when he turned up to play for either Trinidad or Barbados. Sealy was born in the flying fish island but nine of the seventeen times he played for Trinidad it was against his countrymen and 13 of the 22 times he took the field for Barbados it was against the good ol' boys from Trinidad. Clearly Sealy was not as fortunate as Sir Frank.

Richie Richardson and Adam Sanford are the only two players who showed up for both the Windward Islands and Leeward Islands. Richardson, the Antiguan hard hitter bolstered the Windwards' batting for four matches in 1998. And Sanford played one game for the Windwards before moving from Dominica to Antigua and playing 15 games for the Leewards team.

All of the players above are West Indian players of varying pedigrees who all played for two separate countries in the regional tournaments but there is one player who has the unique honour of playing for three different countries. He is Shane Julien, a Grenadian by birth who played one match for Barbados, 9 for the Leewards and 22 for the Windwards.

Julien never played for the senior West Indies team but along with Clyde Butts and legendary paceman Courtney Walsh did represent a young West Indies team against Zimbabwe in 1983. That team though was not an Under 19 one.

Powell will be only the twelfth player to do the double for two regional teams but he is unique as he will be the first player to represent both Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago should he make their final eleven in January. Not very many expect him not to and when he does, that record should be all his.

Imran Khan

Cricket Writer