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They may be known for developing some of the finest fast bowling talent that the game has ever seen, but the West Indies have also produced some world class batsmen. Here are six of the best.
Who is the Best Batsman in the West Indies?
Statistics show that the West Indies best ever batsman is Brian Lara. A left handed batter from Trinidad, Lara set the world record individual score in tests when he made 400 against England in 2004.
By the end of his final ODI against England in 2007, Lara had scored over 22,000 runs in international cricket with 53 centuries.
Top West Indies Batsmen of All-Time
As we have just seen, popular opinion backed up by real statistics suggests that Brian Lara is the best West Indian batter of all time. The man from Trinidad certainly has plenty of competition, but his record in international cricket is incomparable.
That innings of 400 in Antigua was the second time that he’d set a new world record for the highest individual score in tests. On the same ground against England ten years earlier, Lara made 375, breaking Garry Sobers’ milestone.
His statistics were incredible and his average of 52.88 in tests, coupled with his run aggregate of 11,953, underline just what a superb batter he was.
Shivnarine Chanderpaul is one of the longest serving cricketers of all time, and he eventually left the game having played no fewer than 454 international matches over 21 years.
He had an awkward batting stance, but it was certainly effective as ‘Shiv’ was always tough to dismiss. He was known as a ‘limpet’ among opponents for his ‘stickability’ and he eventually made 20,988 international runs across the three formats.
Chanderpaul scored 41 international centuries and his highest score of 203 came against South Africa in 2005.
Sir Everton Weekes
Any of the three ‘W’s could have made this list, but it’s Sir Everton Weekes who has made the cut. He was a determined accumulator of runs and his final test average of 58.61 is a testament to that. That’s the tenth highest out of all test cricketers and the best for any West Indian who has played 40 or more games.
Weekes made his test debut against England in Barbados in 1958. He was quickly dropped after a quiet game, but was recalled in Jamaica where he responded with a knock of 141. That century was one of 15 that Weekes made in just 48 tests. He liked to convert his starts and his highest score for the West Indies was 207 against India on their 1952/53 tour.
Sir Garfield Sobers
Sir Garfield Sobers is said by many to be the greatest all-round cricketer of all time. That’s a subject for debate, but what is certain is that he was an exceptional batsman and would have enjoyed a great career even if he hadn’t bowled a single delivery.
Prior to Brian Lara’s 375 against England in 1994, Sobers had held the world record for the highest individual test score for 36 years. The left hander made an unbeaten 365 against Pakistan in Jamaica in 1958.
After Sobers played his last test in 1974, he’d scored 8,032 test runs. The figures that stand out, aside from that 365, are his test average which stood at an exceptional 57.78.
Sir Vivian Richards
The original Master Blaster, Viv Richards went out to bat with the intention of dominating the bowling side, no matter what the situation might have been. He was never seen wearing a helmet and his fast hand/eye coordination meant that he had no issues with the short ball.
This is another example of figures speaking for themselves and Richards’ statistics are exceptional in an era where a test average of 40 was believed to be an impressive one. Viv’s test average was 50.23 and he made 8540 runs with 24 centuries and a highest score of 291.
Richards also held the world record for the highest score in a One Day International. His innings of 189 not out against England in 1984 set a new milestone which stood for 13 years until it was eventually overtaken by Saeed Anwar.
Gordon Greenidge contributed to some formidable opening partnerships for the West Indies. I remember watching him bat at the top of the order with Roy Fredericks before Desmond Haynes joined him on a longer term basis.
Greenidge made his test debut for the West Indies against India in 1974 and he made 93 not out and 107 in his first two innings. He’d set the standard for what was to follow and became the Windies’ first choice for over 15 years.
When he left the game, Gordon Greenidge had scored 12,692 runs across test matches and One Day Internationals. He averaged over 44 in both formats and scored 30 centuries with a highest score of 226.
All of my ‘best of’ lists are open for some debate, but I suspect that there will be more arguments here than with most others. I can just hear people saying, ‘where are the rest of the three Ws – Worrell and Walcott?‘ ‘What about Clive Lloyd, Desmond Haynes and George Headley?‘
Those are all good contenders and each one would certainly be included in an extended list. However, I’m happy with the players that are here and each of them were exceptional batters for the West Indies over long periods of time.
I would welcome any debate on these, and possible additional selections, for this West Indies all time list.