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The all-time West Indies Test XI, according to the ICC rankings

by Wisden Staff 15 minute read

Who should make the cut in a West Indies all-time Test XI?

It’s a tough ask: the Caribbean has unearthed some of the greats of the game, with the West Indies famed for their dominant sides in the fourth quarter of the 20th century.

We’ve decided to take a look at the what the ICC’s all-time rankings tell us to help form an XI, with a few rules thrown into the mix: the side should include West Indies’ five highest-rated batsmen, the wicketkeeper with the highest batting rating (min. 10 Tests with the gloves), the highest-rated all-rounder and the four highest-rated bowlers (not including the chosen all-rounder, as long as there is at least one spinner and at least three seamers in the XI).

Here’s what we came up.

George Headley

Career best batting ranking: 2 | Career best batting rating: 915

22 Tests, 2,190 runs @ 60.83

Of the men to have batted in at least 20 Test innings, only four hold a higher batting average than Headley. In the 1934 Wisden Almanack, the Panama-born batsman was dubbed the “best batsman the West Indies has ever produced”.

Viv Richards

Career best batting ranking: 1 | Career best batting rating: 938

121 Tests, 8,540 runs @ 50.23

Named one of Wisden’s Cricketers of the Century in 2000, Richards’ power at the crease saw him dominate attacks in an international career that spanned three decades. His exploits in 1976 deserve close attention – in one calendar year, the great Richards hit seven Test centuries in 11 matches.

Brian Lara

Career best batting ranking: 1 | Career best batting rating: 911

130 Tests, 11,912 runs @ 53.17

The audacious left-hander who loved going big, Lara twice broke the record for the highest individual Test score. After hitting 375 against England in 1994, Lara surpassed Matthew Hayden’s Test-best of 380 10 years later against the same opposition.

Everton Weekes

Career best batting ranking: 1 | Career best batting rating: 927

48 Tests, 4,455 runs @ 58.61

The only man in the history of the game to have hit five Test centuries in consecutive innings. The outstanding run began in March 1948 against England, but it was India who suffered the most as as Weekes reeled off four hundreds in three matches when he toured the country at the end of the year.

Shivnarine Chanderpaul

Career best batting ranking: 1 | Career best batting rating: 901

164 Tests, 11,867 runs @ 51.37

Only Lara has made more Test runs for West Indies than Chanderpaul, who enjoyed a 21-year-long career at international level. Six years on from his last appearance, he remains West Indies’ most capped Test cricketer.

Clyde Walcott (wk)

Career best batting ranking: 1 | Career best batting rating: 938

44 Tests, 3,798 runs @ 56.68

Walcott kept wicket in 15 of his 44 Tests, averaging 40.36 with the bat when he took the gloves. His peak arrived against Australia in 1955/56, when he hit 827 runs in one series at an average of 82.70.

Garry Sobers

Career best all-rounder ranking: 1 | Career best all-rounder rating: 669

93 Tests, 8,032 runs @ 57.78 | 235 wickets @ 34.03

Labelled by Wisden as “the finest all-round player in the history of cricket” upon his retirement from cricket, Sobers – nearly 50 years on – is still widely regarded as the greatest all-rounder of all time.

Malcolm Marshall

Career best bowling ranking: 1 | Career best bowling rating: 912

81 Tests, 376 wickets @ 20.94

Arguably the greatest of the great West Indies quicks. Marshall’s career record is extraordinary – no-one with as many Test wickets holds a lower average.

Wes Hall

Career best bowling ranking: 1 Career best bowling rating: 898

48 Tests, 192 wickets @ 26.38

Figures of 11-126 in Hall’s second Test kicked off a fast and fearsome career. He notably finished with nine wickets in the tied Test against Australia in 1960, bowling the final over of the match.

Curtly Ambrose

Career best bowling ranking: 1 Career best bowling rating: 912

98 Tests, 405 wickets @ 20.99

Only Courtney Walsh has more Test wickets for West Indies to his name. Ambrose once famously blasted Australia with a spell of 7-1 at Perth.

Lance Gibbs

Career best bowling ranking: 1 Career best bowling rating: 897

79 Tests, 309 wickets @ 29.09

West Indies’ most prolific spin bowler, Gibbs’ accuracy with the ball resulted in an economy rate of just 1.98.

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