The island nation of Barbados has produced some of the greatest cricketers in the world.
For an island with a population of less than 300,000, it is staggering that a nation of its size has produced so many great cricketers. Cricket statistician Andrew Samson recently told the Guardian that “everything suggests that it is highly likely the most verdant place in the history of the sport. If not in terms of square miles then at least per capita. And I would imagine it would be in the conversation for any international sport, not just cricket.”
We bring you an all-time Barbados Test XI, a side that stands up against any all-time team put up by any other domestic first-class side in the world.
Test record: 7,758 runs @ 44.72, HS 226, 19 hundreds, 34 fifties
Gordon Greenidge formed one of the all-time great opening partnerships along with Desmond Haynes in the 80s. They are the most-successful Test openers in terms of partnership runs: 6,482 at 47.31. They were also a force in the early days of ODI cricket, their partnership averaging 52.58.
Greenidge played many destructive knocks in his career, but among his best was the 242-ball 214 at Lord’s which made a mockery of the 342-run target set by England.
Test record: 7,487 runs @ 42.29, HS 184, 18 hundreds, 39 fifties
Starting a few years after Greendige but every bit as effective, Desmond Haynes was an important member of the West Indies cricketing dynasty that dominated the game for almost two decades. He smashed a 136-ball 148 on his international and ODI debut at St John’s, and never looked back. An honourable mention to Conrad Hunte who just misses out on selection, despite a Test average of more than 45.
Test record: 4,455 @ 58.61, HS 207, 15 hundreds, 19 fifties
To the middle order and we begin with the first of Three Ws. Everton Weekes had a golden run early on in his career, hitting seven fifty-plus totals in a row (the run finished when Weekes was bowled on 48 by Vijay Hazare in Bombay). This still remains the joint-world record for most consecutive Test fifties in a row. His average of 58.61 is the fifth best of all time among batters to score more than 4,000 Test runs.
Test record: 3,860 @ 49.48, HS 261, 9 hundreds, 22 fifties
Statistics alone do little justice to the legacy of Frank Worrell. He was the man who made the West Indies team a side which represented the people of West Indies. In addition to being a brilliant batter and an astute leader – he was the first black man to captain West Indies. His death at the age of 42 was a great loss for the cricketing world.
Test record: 3,798 runs @ 56.58, HS 220, 15 hundreds, 14 fifties, Catches 53, stumpings 11
The fact that Walcott kept wicket during the early phase of his career, allows him to become this team’s wicketkeeper. One of his most important contributions came early in his career at Lord’s, where he kept wicket and scored a magnificent 168 in the second innings. This was West Indies’ maiden triumph in England.
Test record: 8,032 runs @ 57.78, HS 365*, 26 hundreds, 30 fifties, 235 wickets @ 34.03, BBI 6-73, Econ 2.22
Garry Sobers was a genius in all aspects of the game. A once-in-a-generation talent, his batting numbers were supreme but he held his own with the ball as well – with six five-fors and eight four-fors to his name. He was the first man to hit six sixes in an over at competitive level, and was adept at bowling left-arm medium pace, left-arm orthodox and wrist-spin.
Test record: 2,559 runs @ 31.59, HS 202*, 3 hundreds, 11 fifties, 141 wickets @ 27.12, BBI 6-42, Econ 2.5
Jason Holder is one of the two active West Indies cricketers who make it to this XI. Holder was made West Indies skipper at a young age, and despite his early struggles as a leader helped keep West Indies competitive in the late 2010s. Holder has spent much of the past three years as the number one ranked Test all-rounder in the world.
Test record: 376 wickets @ 20.94, BBI 7-22, 22 five-fors, Econ 2.68
Perhaps the most effective of the deadly four-man pace attack, Malcolm Marshall was one of the greatest bowlers of all-time. He had the pace, he had the swing, and he had it in him to combine both to devastating effects. His average of 20.76 is the lowest among bowlers with more than 200 Test wickets. He was only 41 when he was lost to cancer.
Test record: 192 wickets @ 26.38, BBI 7-69, 9 five-fors, 11 four-fors, Econ 2.91
During the 60s, Wes Hall partnered with Charlie Griffith to get the better of Australia and England on a number of occasions.
He bowled the final over of the famous tied Test, won a great Test series in England in 1963 and was also a part of first West Indies Test series win over Australia in 1964.
Test record: 259 wickets @ 20.97, BBI 6-56, 7 five-fors, 18 four-fors, Econ 2.47
One of the most devastating bowlers of his era, Joel Garner used his great height and pace to good effect. His average of 20.97 is only marginally worse than Marshall’s record figure.
Test record: 235 wickets @ 27.35, BBI 6-48, 5 five-fors, 14 four-fors, Econ 3.07
Just when it was felt that the legendary West Indian fast bowler had become a thing of the past, Kemar Roach walked in to breathe life into that narrative arc. At 70 Tests and counting, Roach might very well be aiming for the landmark 300 wicket mark.