Honoring Guyana's Best

Date Published: 
Stabroek News
Stabroek Staff

Eight of the most successful cricketers to represent Guyana will be inducted into the Guyana Cricket BOard's Hall of Fame tomorrow night at the GCC pavilion.

Today we feature four of eight:

Basil Butcher

A former right handed batsman who began his test career in 1958 for the West Indies against India and struck his maiden test century at Calcutta, sharing a double century stand with Rohan Kanhai. He went on to make 142 at Madras and ended the series with an average of almost 70.

He soon lost favour with the selectors after some puzzling poor performances at home against England in the 1959-60 tour, but returned to the fold for the West Indies tour of England in 1963. It was there he enjoyed a vintage season scoring almost 1300 runs including a match saving century in the Lord's Test. He subsequently did well at Headingly and the Oval to keep his place in the team.

The teams he represented: British Guiana, Guyana, Berbice, West Indies, Commonwealth XI, Rest of World XI, Frank Worrell's XI, Indian President's XI.

  • First Class debut: 29/1/55 - British Guiana vs Barbados
  • First-class record: 11,628 runs ( ave 49.90) and 40 wickets ( ave 30.42)
  • Tests: 44
  • Test debut: 28/11/58 West Indies vs India
  • Test record: 3,104 runs (43.11) and five wickets (18.00).

Roy Fredricks

He was one of West Indies' finest opening batsman who was relatively guarded in his approach in the position. This was personified by his innings against England at Ebgbaston in 1973, when he took eight-and-a-half hours score over 150.

He was selected for the West Indies for the 1968-69 tour of Australia - prompted by two splendid hundreds against Barbados in the 1967 Shell Shield - it was in England in 1969 that he established himself, underlying his ability with 63 and 60 in the Lord's Test. He scored his maiden Test century versus New Zealand - 1971-72 - at Kingston and together with Lawerence Rowe put on a partnership of 269.

What can be termed his best innings was in Australia when he struck 169 in 217 minutes off the mighty duo of Dennis Lillee and Jeff Thompson to help his team to the only success of the series.

Teams: British Guiana, Guyana, Berbice, Demerara, West Indies, Glamorgan, Cavaliers XI, New Zealand Governor's XI.

  • First-class debut: 5/3/64 British Guiana versus Jamaica
  • First-class record: 16,384 runs (45.89) and 75 wickets (37.94)
  • Tests: 59
  • Test debut: 26/12/68 West Indies vs Australia
  • Test record: 4,334 runs ( ave 42.49) and seven wickets.

Lance Gibbs

A product of the powerful Demerara Cricket Club, Gibbs began his career as a leg-spinner but after getting on the wrong side of Robert Christiani's bat he became an off-spinner. Gibbs had a dream start to his test career, heading the bowling average with 17 wickets (23.05) in the home series against Pakistan in 1958.

Gibbs' contribution to West Indian cricket is perhaps best summoned up by his cousin and long-time colleague, Clive Lloyd. He said: "There was never a more whole-hearted cricketer for the West Indies, nor an off-spinner in anything like his class. He was by no means a mechanical spinner, instead always thinking about the game, working an opponent out, assessing his strengths and weaknesses and laying the trap for him. A fierce competitor, he would be given a total effort, no matter if the pitch was flat and docile, no matter if the total was 300 for two and the sun scorching, no matter if his finger had been rubbed raw".

Teams: British Guiana, Guyana, Demerara, West Indies, Warwickshire, Rest of World XI, Commonwealth XI, South Australia, Conrad Hunte's XI.

  • First-class debut: 17/2/54 British Guiana vs MCC
  • First-class record: 1,204 wickets (27.22) and 1,729 runs (8.55).
  • Tests: 79
  • Test debut: 5/2/58 West Indies vs Pakistan
  • Test record: 309 wickets (29.09) and 488 runs (6.97).

Rohan Kanhai

Rohan Kanhai was one of the finest batsmen of his generation who began his career as a wicket-keeper. On his first overseas tour to England in 1957, Kanhai kept wicket in the first three Tests and served as a make shift opener. He made a sparkling 96 in the second test in Trinidad and 62 at Bourda against the touring Pakistanis in 1958 to earn a place on the Test team to India and pakistan in 1958-59.

He was seen at his best when batting at number three in the third Test versus India at Calcutta when he made 256 and shared in a double century partnership with Basil Butcher. His extravagant stroke-play marked him out as a player of high quality and when West Indies' openers struggled in Pakistan, Kanhai was once again drafted into that role.

Kanhai has gone down in cricketing history as one of West Indies' greatest batsmen, although his obsession with scoring runs quickly occasionally hampered the West Indies as much as his more careful innings helped them.

He was the first Guyanese to lead the West Indies for an extended period and, in his 13 tests as captain, he instilled the killer instinct into the side that Clive Lloyd would use to such great effect over the next decade.

  • Teams: British Guiana, Guyana, Berbice, West Indies, Trinidad, Commonwealth XI, A.E.R. Gilligan's XI, Conrad Hunte's XI, Indian President's XI, Warwickshire, Tasmania, International XI.
  • First-class debut: 5/2/55 British Guiana vs Barbados
  • First-class record: 28,774 runs (49.01) 318 catches, seven stumpings and 18 wickets (56.05)
  • Tests: 79 Test debut: 30/5/57 West Indies vs England
  • Test record: 6,227 runs (47.53), 50 catches and 0-85.