In the game of cricket, it is the batsmen that bring excitement and pleasure to the lovely sport. For nearly 100 years, the West Indies batsmen have brought flamboyance, flair, and splendor to Caribbean fans and the world alike.
From as far back as George Headley to Chris Gayle, the West Indies have produced exhilarating batters and contributed to some of the sport’s greatest.
Having to narrow the list to 5 is a hard job, but we have taken the responsibility and think we have arrived at the right conclusions.
Honorable mentions in the debate include the 2 men mentioned earlier in the piece but also comprised: Everton Weeks, Frank Worrell, Clive Walcott, Gordon Greenidge, Desmond Haynes, Rohan Kanhai, and Alvin Kallicharan.
The men in the list below each played at least 93 matches and averaged more than every other player except Weeks, Clive Walcott, Kanhai, who played 48, 44, and 79 matches, respectively. These three men also averaged 58.61, 56.68, and 47.53, respectively. With that out of the way, below is our list.
Number 5-Clive Lloyd
Lloyd is remembered as the batsman with a big mustache, thick glasses, heavy bat, and powerful shoulders who could change the complexion of a game in the wink of an eye.
Clive Lloyd represented the West Indies for over 21 years, playing in 110 test matches, scoring 7515 runs, and averaging 46.67. Lloyd’s highest score in a test came in the decisive 5th match in a Test series in India. Lloyd scored a blistering 242 not out in Mumbai to set up a 3-2 series decided.
Lloyd was the sort of player that dug his team out when they were under pressure. Lloyd’s batting average is a little lower than Weeks, Walcott, and Kanhai, so what made him better, in my opinion? The longevity of his career and the fact that he led from the front as the team captain.
Lloyd’s final record as captain was phenomenal because he went on a run of 26 Tests without defeat and 11 successive wins. He also led the Windies to back-to-back World Cup wins in 1975 and 1979, including a man of the match with a century in the 1975 finals.
Number 4-Shivnarine Chanderpaul
Chanderpaul is not one of the greats from the golden era because he launched his career in the near mid-90s when the region’s team began its slow descent. However, his contribution to cricket in the region is invaluable. With his unorthodox batting stance and dogged approach, he was not as flamboyant as the past greats, but he was the steady run-scorer who held his head high in tough times.
He holds the record for the most caps by a West Indian player at 164 matches and the fifth-highest average overall at 51.37.
Shiv has scored 11,867 runs in his career, including 30 centuries and 66 half-centuries – a mammoth total and among the highest of all Windies batsmen.
In 2003, he famously led the West Indies in a successful world-record chase of 418 in the final Test against the mighty Australians in Antigua. He was also the cog in the 2004 ICC Champions Trophy victory.
Number 3-Vivian Richards
He was nicknamed the Master Blaster, and no better description describes the terror and fear he brought to the opposition. He was known to produce sweet cover drives, pulls, hooks, and cut shots, making it hard for bowlers to get him out.
In 121 matches, Sir Viv scored 8540 runs at an average of 50.23.
In 1976, Richards scored 1710 runs at an average of 90 with 7 centuries from 11 Tests. It remained a record for nearly 30 years before Mohammad Yousuf broke it in 2006.
In 1986, he also scored the fastest ever Test century, when he smashed a ton in just 56 balls against England in 1986. The record was equaled by Misbah-ul-Haq in 2014 and was finally broken by Brendon McCullum in 2016.
His highest score came in a 1976 test against England when he demoralized the English attack by scoring 291.
He also had a man-of-the-match performance in the 1979 World Cup Finals by scoring 138 runs. Vivian Richards brought swagger to the game, and his batting performance will long live in the memory.
Number 2-Garfield Sobers
Sir Garry was a revolutionary player that forever changed the game of cricket. He was the true all-rounder before there were all-rounders in the sport.
He was a great bowler and his 235 wickets at an average of 34.03 support that fact.
However, Sobers was an exceptional batsman. In 93 matches, he scored 8,032 runs at an average of 57.78. He scored 26 centuries and 50 half-centuries during his illustrious career.
During an English county cricket game in 1968 for Nottinghamshire against Glamorgan, Sobers hit six sixes in an over against Malcolm Nash. He became the first man to achieve the feat. His greatest feat as a batsman occurred when he scored his very first century in 1958. He laid down a marker by piling on the runs in that inning by scoring 365, not out at Sabina Park against Pakistan.
The record stood for 36 years until it was broken by the guy at number 1.
Number 1-Brian Lara
The Prince of Port of Spain was the batsman that most regard as the greatest batsman from the West Indies. Statistically, it is hard to argue against this conclusion.
In 130 matches, Lara scored 11,912 runs at an average of 53.17. He also scored 48 fifties and 34 hundreds. Lara was a stylish left-handed batsman who posed after many shots and embarrassed bowlers who strayed in line and length.
In 1994, he was the batsman to break Sobers record against England by scoring 375 in Antigua. Ten years later, he beat his record by scoring 400, not out at the same ground and against the same opposition.
In a struggling team, he was the prized wicket that the opposition desired, perhaps triggering a batting collapse. More often than not, he stood up tall even in the face of incredible bowlers like Glen McGrath, Shane Warne, Muttiah Muralitharan, and Wasim Akram.
Therefore, the stats and entertainment value prove that he was the West Indian batsman of all time.
Clive Lloyd background: http://www.sporting-heroes.net/cricket/west-indies/clive-lloyd-1936/test-record-v-india_a01702/
Shivnarine Chanderpaul background: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tagenarine_Chanderpaul
Vivian Richards big score: https://www.cricketcountry.com/articles/viv-richards-demoralises-england-with-a-stupendous-291-29897
Readers Bureau, Contributor
Edited by Jesus Chan
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