In the 93-year history of West Indies test cricket, there have been only 326 players to represent the region.
There have been outstanding batsmen like Brian Lara, Vivian Richards, George Headley, and Clive Lloyd.
Additionally, there have been superb bowlers like Michael Holding, Joel Garner, Courtney Walsh, and Lance Gibbs.
However, a look at the 5 best players in history to score the most runs and take the most wickets for the men in maroon is intriguing.
Surprisingly, my analysis yielded 11 players that appeared in both top 50 lists. Then, I have ranked their contributions and careers to provide these surprising findings.
Number 5-Frank Worrell
The millennials will immediately complain why Jason Holder is not on this list because he is already an accomplished pure all-rounder.
Interestingly, in his career, Frank Worrell played 51 test matches in his career which is identical to how many games Jason has already played in his career.
Worrell is ranked 18th all-time with 3860 runs, an average of 49.48, scored 9 centuries and 22 fifties. Jason is a decent batsman at 32nd all-time with 2434 runs at an average of 32.02 with 3 centuries and 11 fifties.
Therefore, Worrell triple Holder’s centuries and double his fifties. Holder has the edge in the bowling department at 16th all-time with 137 wickets, at an average of 26.66.
He has produced 8 five-wicket innings and 1 ten-wicket match. Worrell was a useful left-arm seam bowler and is ranked 35th all-time with 69 wickets at an average of 38.72. He also recorded only 2 five-wicket innings.
The statistics indicate that Worrell was the better overall because his strength as a batter is better than Holder’s strength as a bowler and the deficiency in their other department seems to balance out.
Also, remember that Worrell was revered in the deadly trio with Everton Weeks and Clyde Walcott.
Number 4-Malcolm Marshall
Malcolm Marshall played in 81 matches and ranks 3rd overall with 376 wickets. He has a career bowling average of 20.94 with 22 five-wicket innings and four 10 wicket matches.
Marshall dominated batting lineups with his pace, brilliant ability to seam the ball in any direction, and a devastating bouncer. Even if Holder could double his output of 137 wickets over 51 matches, it would yield only 274 wickets in 102 matches which is far less than Marshall’s overall total.
Marshall was also a capable batsman and batted at number 8 for most of his career.
In the 81 matches Marshall played, he batted in 107 innings, ranked 42nd all-time with 1810 runs at an average of 18.85. He also scored ten half-centuries in his test career.
Jason is the better batsman, but his 2434 runs scored came from 91 innings. It is 16 innings less than Marshall, but just 624 runs more than him. Hence, Marshall has the edge for now in this list.
However, Jason is currently playing and has the potential to surpass Worrell and Marshall in these rankings.
Number 3-Carl Hooper
Carl was a classic West Indian right-handed batsman. He could play all the shots in the book but was exceptional in his caressing drives through the cover.
Hooper played 102 matches, ranks 12th all-time by scoring 5762 runs at an average of 36.46. He also scored 27 fifties and 13 centuries.
In April 2002, Carl dominated the Indian bowling unit by scoring 233 against India on his home patch in Georgetown, Guyana.
Hooper was also a good off break spin bowler and took 114 wickets in his career. He is ranked 21st overall on the all-time list.
Carl has taken 4 five-wicket hauls, and his best bowling performance is 5 for 26 against Sri Lanka in June 2001.
Number 2-Chris Gayle
The “Universe Boss” is known mostly for his excellence in limited-overs cricket especially in the T-20 format. However, early in his career, Gayle achieved several milestones in Test cricket.
He played in 103 matches, ranks 8th all-time with 7214 runs at an average of 42.18. In his career, he scored 37 fifties and 15 centuries.
Gayle’s best score was a stupendous 333 against Sri Lanka in November 2010, and he has the 3rd most sixes in his Test career with 98 in total. Gayle was also a decent test bowler because he took 73 wickets that rank 32nd on the all-time list.
His bowling career includes 2 five-wicket hauls. His off-breaks always seem to keep things tight without much spin on his delivery. He would frustrate batsmen into bad strokes leading to their downfall.
Number 1-Garfield Sobers
Sobers is ranked number 1 because he is simply the greatest player to contribute with bat and ball the region has ever seen.
Sobers is the only player on this list that was equally dominant as a bowler and batsman. Sobers was a tremendous and flamboyant batsman. In only 93 matches, Sir Gary is ranked 4th overall with 8,032 runs and the highest average by a West Indian of 57.78.
He scored 30 fifties and 26 centuries with a high score of 365 against Pakistan in Kingston, Jamaica. The massive score stood as the world record from February 1958 until it was broken by Brian Lara in 1994.
Sobers was remarkably versatile with the ball. He could bowl two styles of spin that included left-arm orthodox and wrist spin. He could also add variety by bowling fast-medium pace.
He took 235 wickets which ranks 7th overall, and it includes six five-wicket innings. He was also a fantastic fielder and would assign himself the role of catching close to the batsman.
Yes, Sobers was the best all-rounder to play in Maroon.
Readers Bureau, Contributor
Edited by Jesus Chan
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