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JEFF BROOMES: My local cricket dream team


JEFF BROOMES: My local cricket dream team

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IT HAS OFTEN been suggested that Barbados has risen to international fame mainly through education and cricket. I have consistently accepted this to be factual. Although we continue to soar in the area of education our cricket progress has been somewhat retarded.

In an attempt to document the greatness of our cricket tradition, I will today select an all-time great Barbados squad (11 plus four) to tour the Caribbean and ultimately the world to allow our competitive excellence to speak for us. After all, we took on the world in 1967.

As I begin the process, I will structure my selection in the traditional way with two opening batsmen, three middle order batsmen, an all-rounder, a wicketkeeper, and four established bowlers. I will allow the analysis to determine the make-up of these bowlers (pace and spin).

There are five opening batsmen that present themselves for discussion. Yes, I have included young Kraigg Brathwaite in the discussion because of his strength of character and performance at this embryonic stage of his career. I have also included Carlisle Best. Unfortunately, they both miss the initial cut.

This leaves us with three: Conrad Hunte, Gordon Greenidge and Desmond Haynes. Each of these batsmen with his exceptional qualities can make a loud and imposing statement for inclusion. After an in-depth study of performance and dominance, I accept that only two can be selected and have eliminated Haynes.

The middle order cohort presents many options and the obvious need for clear decision making. Should Gary Sobers be seen as a front line batsman? Worrell? Is there room for Seymour Nurse or Roland Holder? Should Clyde Walcott qualify as batsman or wicketkeeper?

I spun my head and turned a million cartwheels before settling on those that I see would make the most dominant and dominating middle order batting line-up. These will form a never-ending debate, but I have settled on Everton Weekes, Sobers and Walcott.

Having chosen Sobers as a front line batsman lends all-round strength to the team and qualifies Frank Worrell, almost by elimination to be the team’s all-rounder. In similar vein, the selection of Walcott in the middle order allows David Murray to claim the wicketkeeper’s position over David Allan.

Now the bowlers, oh the bowlers! Barbados has a long history of producing outstanding fast bowlers, so should we go with four of those and no spinner, simply leaving that role to Sobers if needed? What about “Boogles” Williams, David Holford, Albert Padmore, George Linton or Sulieman Benn?

If the decision is to go with the four “quicks,” who should they be? Where do we place Herman and Charles Griffith? How about Manny Martindale? Is there room for Joel Garner or Sylvester Clarke? How about Malcolm Marshall or Wes Hall? Do we take in the swing of Dennis Atkinson?    

Maybe I was driven by my limited experience and emotional pull, but in the end I chose to go with four fast bowlers. These would be led by the greatest of all Marshall to be joined by Hall, Garner and Clarke.

The selection process is never easy but my team would read Conrad Hunte, Gordon Greenidge, Everton Weekes, Gary Sobers, Clyde Walcott, Frank Worrell, David Murray, Malcolm Marshall, Wes Hall, Joel Garner and Clarke.   

To complete my squad, I then include Desmond Haynes, Seymour Nurse, Charles Griffith and David Holford. That’s the “Barbados at fifty Broomer fifteen!”

Jeff Broomes is an experienced educator, principal and community organiser who also served as vice-president of the BCA and director of the WICB. Email: [email protected]