Batting legends voted greatest ever

Stabroek News
July 29, 2004

Related Links: Articles on Windies cricket
Letters Menu Archival Menu

BIRMINGHAM, England - George Headley. Brian Lara. Sir Vivian Richards. Sir Garfield Sobers. Sir Frank Worrell.

All are former West Indies batting legends. All were West Indies captains. And all were chosen as the Five West Indies Jubilee Cricketers on Tuesday at a lavish awards ceremony held at the Birmingham Symphony Hall.

The occasion was to mark 75 years of West Indies cricket, but the judging panel, headed by noted Jamaica cricket writer Tony Becca, surprisingly left out all (with the exception of Sobers) of the great bowlers that have served the game in the Caribbean well.

Lara also received the award for the Jubilee Best Test Batting performance for his undefeated 153 against Australia at Bridgetown five years ago, and fast bowler Michael Holding took the Jubilee Best Test Bowling performance for his eight for 92 against England at The Oval 28 years ago.

Richards collected the award for the Jubilee Limited-Over International performance for his 189 against England at Manchester two decades ago.

Sir Garfield was unable to attend the event because he was busy with commitments at the final of the international schools' competition that bears his name being contested in his native Barbados.

Everyone in the Hall watched on a giant screen the presentation of his trophy in Barbados.

"It is a great honour to be one of the West Indies' Jubilee cricketers of all time and to receive this unusual trophy," Sir Garfield said.

"I am really honoured that I have been chosen among so many great West Indians - those in the present and those in the past."

Two of the chosen five, Sir Vivian and Lara, were in the Hall to receive their awards, while the trophy for the late Headley was accepted by his son Ron, himself a former West Indies Test player, and the trophy for the late Sir Frank was presented to Barbados High Commiss-ioner to London, Edwin Pollard.

Sir Vivian, the only West Indies captain not to lose a Test series, paid tribute to the legacy of West Indies cricket.

"Not because I'm in this five that I feel elated, but some of those who are not in the five have been the greatest inspiration to me," Sir Vivian said.

Lara, who captured the world record for the highest Tests score twice, thanked his many teammates for their support.

"When you play team sport, it is hard to look singular," he said. "I've had great teammates over 15 years of Test cricket. I want to thank them. It' s all about them. Without them nothing could have been achieved."

The ceremony lasted nearly three hours, with video footage from the glory years of West Indies cricket, played out in front of an audience that also included Joel Garner, Gordon Greenidge and Sir Everton Weekes, as well as members of the West Indies team preparing for the second match of their four-Test series against England, starting at Edgbaston today. (Windies