Sir Gary is tops
April 22, 2004
THERE WAS little surprise last week when Sir Garfield -Sobers, the greatest all-rounder to ever play the game, was voted the best player to come out of the Caribbean nursery of cricket, Barbados.
At that island's Scotiabank West Indian Jubilee Gala at the Sherbourne Centre, Sir Garfield emerged head and shoulders above an all-star cast of nominees.
He made 8,032 runs in 93 Tests, took 235 wickets and held 109 catches. Throughout the night there was footage of his many great performances, including his 254 for the Rest Of The World against Australia at the Melbourne Cricket Ground; a spectacular catch at pick-pocket distance; and a brilliant inswinger with his left-arm medium pace.
Sir Garfield, 67, also collected the award for the best batting performance with his 365 not out against Pakistan in 1958 at Sabina Park. The late Malcolm Marshall, the best fast bowler in Test history, won the award for best bowling display with his seven for 22 against England in 1988.
In a humble speech, Sir Garfield said: "Barbados has given the world many outstanding players and we should be grateful. Many have gone before and they did really well. We all did well. When I think of Barbados' cricket, it is hard to think of any place in the world which has produced better cricketers than this island."
The other players nominated for the final stage were: former captain, the late Sir Frank Worrell;, fellow batting great Sir Everton Weekes; bowling heroes the late Malcolm Marshall and Joel Garner; as well as Gordon Greenidge and Desmond Haynes, the game's best opening partnership.
Barbados had seven all-time great nominees, two more than any other island or Guyana owing to the high percentage of Barbadians to have represented the region.
"Many greats, what can I say about them all?" Sir Garfield asked.
"Sir Everton. He was my idol and the greatest player I've ever seen. Greenidge and Haynes, there couldn't have been a better pair; and Joel was probably the best one-day bowler in the history of the game," said Sir Garfield.
All received great ovations from the crowd.
Sir Garfield received a standing ovation at the end of the night when he left with these words: "I am very grateful and thankful to Barbados for making me its Jubilee Cricketer. Thank you, we all thank you!" (Barbados Nation)