Alvin Kallicharran

Full name: Alvin Isaac Kallicharran
Born: 21 Mar 1949, Paidama, Berbice, Guyana
Batting: Left-hand batsman
Bowling: Right-arm off-break
Teams: Guyana U19 (2in: 1966-1968); Guyana Colts (1in: 1968); Berbice (FC: 1972-1973); Guyana (FC: 1967-1981); Guyana (ListA: 1973-1978); West Indies (Test: 1972-1980); West Indies (ODI: 1973-1981); Rest of World (FC: 1974); Warwickshire (Var: 1971-1990); Queensland (FC: 1977/78); Transvaal (Var: 1981-1984); Orange Free State (1984-1988);  All teams
Relations: Dereck Kallicharran (brother), Mahendra Nagamootoo (nephew), Vishal Nagamootoo (nephew);
Club: Port Mourant (Berbice)
School: St Joseph Anglican; Port Mourant Comprehensive High
Lists of matches and more detailed statistics

A small man, Alvin Kallicharran had poise, balance, orthodoxy, a full range of strokes off either foot, and a bat that because of its size relative to him, appeared far too large to a generation of hapless bowlers. He was named Indian Cricket Cricketer of the Year in 1975, South African Cricket Annual Cricketer of the Year in 1983 and Wisden Cricketer of the Year in 1983.

Early days

Alvin came from a large family, with four brothers and six sisters. Family members from both parents were avid cricketers. His father played for Berbice county in Flood Cup competition between Indo-Guyanese, older brother Stanley played for the Guyana youth team and younger brother Derek played for Guyana. Two nephews, the Nagamootoo brothers, represented Guyana, with Mahendra playing Test cricket.

With no formal coaching, Alvin began playing on the unpaved streets of Port Mourant, with homemade bats and balls. Without pads, he had to perfect his defense quickly to stay in the game. Not from a wealthy family, he welcomed the financial assistance he received by members of the cricket-loving community in which he grew up, which helped to pay for club dues, travelling, formal cricket gear and even school expenses.

Alvin first appeared in West Indies regional cricket in 1966, as captain of the first Guyana Under-19 team, which played matches in Dominica, Barbados and Guyana. He scored 90's against the Combined Islands and Trinidad & Tobago. His brother Stanley was in that team.

First class and List A cricket

He made his first class debut for Guyana against the Windwards, on 15 March 1967 in Grenada, in the regional Shell Shield competition, just 6 days short of his eighteenth birthday. His first first class century, 137 against the Combined Islands at Bourda, came in March 1970, but it was not until March 1972 that he scored his second, 154 for Guyana against New Zealand.

Possibly through Rohan Kanhai, who came from the same village, news of Alvin's promise as a batsman reached England and Glamorgan tried to recruit him. It was Kanhai's county Warwickshire, however, that succeeded in recruiting him first. Alvin played for the Warwickshire Second XI in 1971, but moved up to the senior team in 1972, after making his Test debut.

In January 1974 Alvin scored 197 for Guyana against Jamaica at Sabina Park, adding 241 runs with Clive Lloyd for the fifth wicket, in a high-scoring match. This was his highest score ever for Guyana. The following year, he scored 110 for Guyana against Barbados in Bridgetown, adding 297 for the second wicket with Roy Fredericks, who went on to score 250.

In January 1981, Alvin scored 184 for Guyana against Trinidad & Tobago in Georgetown, adding 286 for the seventh wicket with Clive Lloyd. This turned out to be his last century and last season for Guyana, even though his first class career would continue for another eight years.

After being dropped by the West Indies in 1981, Transvaal stepped in with a lucrative winter contract. The first West Indian to compete in South Africa's Currie Cup, he averaged nearly 60 to finish third in the national list and inspire Transvaal to win the Benson and Hedges Floodlit Cup.

In a tortured 1982 season, when they usually had to sit and suffer, Warwickshire's followers could at least take comfort from Alvin Kallicharran's disciplined brilliance.

He was the only batsman on the county circuit to score 2,000 first-class runs, hitting three double-centuries and five other hundreds in the Schweppes Championship. He also played one great innings in limited-overs cricket, his 141 not out against Somerset at Taunton securing a shock NatWest Trophy quarter-final success.

One shot in this innings will be particularly treasured by those who saw it. When the 6ft 8in Joel Garner came round the wicket to bounce one at him, perfectly positioned, 5ft 5in Alvin hooked his towering adversary high over square leg for 6 with stunning power.

Warwickshire captain Bob Willis provided an apt testimony when he said, "Alvin's Taunton knock contained a myriad of high-class shots. His stock-in-trade pulls and hooks were supplemented by a series of silken drives on the rise through the off. Somerset came apart at the seams."

Banned by West Indies for playing in South Africa and with the added incentive his 1983 county benefit being just a year away, Alvin had plenty of incentive to score heavily. His first century came at Dartford, followed by a career-best 235 at Worcester, his maiden double-hundred in first-class cricket.

Then, the day after Warwickshire had been swept aside for 43 by Sussex, he lifted them out of the dumps with 210 at Leicester. Gloucestershire were next on the list, being taken for 173 at Nuneaton. A week later came the Southport saga, Alvin scoring an undefeated 230 in an English record fourth-wicket stand of 470 with Geoff Humpage.

Edgbaston had yet to sample a Kallicharran special, but any voodoo was dispelled with 195 against Surrey, followed by 109 not out in the return against Worcestershire. Finally came the climax at Southampton. Kallicharran, the country's leading run-maker, versus Malcolm Marshall, the leading wicket-taker - a contest to savour.

Alvin countered Marshall's extreme pace with unrivalled expertise, his second-innings 131 raising him past 2,000 runs for the first time in his career. Eight centuries in a summer equalled the Warwickshire record held jointly by R. E. S. Wyatt (1937) and Rohan Kanhai (1972).

He played for Orange Free State from 1981 to 1984 and Transvaal from 1984 to 1988 in South African domestic cricket.

While playing against minor county Oxfordshire in the 1984 one day Natwest Trophy he scored 206 and took 6 for 32.

Playing for the West Indies

By the time New Zealand was touring the West Indies in early 1972, Alvin Kallicharran was competing with Lawrence Rowe of Jamaica for a place as a batsman in the West Indies Test team. Alvin made his Test debut against New Zealand in Georgetown, scoring 100 not out. He then scored 101 in his very next Test innings, against New Zealand in Port-of-Spain.

What many regard as his finest innings, 158 against England in Port of Spain in February 1974, was shrouded in controversy. Having made 142, he watched Bernard Julien play the last ball of the first day to Tony Greig at silly point before walking down the pitch towards the pavilion never having returned to his crease from backing up.

Greig threw down the bowlers stumps and Alvin was given out by Douglas Sang Hue only to be reinstated next morning after the mood of the tour had been soured. Good mood was soon restored, however, as Kallicharran scored 119 in Bridgetown, adding 249 with Lawrence Rowe, who went on to score a mammoth 302.

A century in India in November 1974, followed by another in Pakistan in March 1975, helped to enhance Alvin's reputation as a Test batsman. In Australia at the end of 1975, however, Lillee and Thomson was a whole new challenge. Despite getting a century in the first Test, his nose was broken by a top edge while hooking a Lillee delivery in the second Test.

In April 1976, a second innings century against India in Port-of-Spain failed to prevent India from scoring 406 for the loss of 4 wickets to win the Test. This was the highest successful run chase in Test cricket at that time. 

Alvin's 1976 tour of England was ruined by a shoulder dislocation that necessitated an operation. It prevented him from throwing a cricket ball for a whole year but his recovery was total, restoring one of the best throwing arms in the game.

Another century in Port-of-Spain, in the first Test against Australia in early March 1978, helped West Indies to win by an innings. By the end of March, however, the series thrown into chaos, with only two Tests of the the five-Test series completed. West Indies captain Clive Lloyd and most of the Test team had defected to Kerry Packer's World Series cricket.

Alvin's own attempt to join Packer foundered when it was discovered he had contravened a contract with a Queensland radio station. He was made captain of what was essentially a West Indies second string team, but gallant performances by the new players helped to save the series against Australia. Alvin scored another century in the fifth Test to help West Indies save the match and win the series 3-1, after taking over the captaincy with the West Indies leading 2-0.

At the end of 1978, with the leading West Indies players still playing for Packer, Alvin led a second string West Indies team in a 6-Test series in India. He made 187, his highest Test score, to help West Indies draw the first Test. India barely won the fourth Test to take the series 1-0.

By late 1979 the Packer issue was resolved and Packer cricket was disbanded. Clive Lloyd resumed the West Indies Test captaincy for the tour to Australia. Alvin scored a century in the third Test, to help West Indies win the series 2-0. This proved to be his last century, or half century, in Test cricket.

The tour to Australia was followed by the infamous tour to New Zealand, in which Croft and Holding expressed their displeasure with the umpiring in very emphatic terms. Alvin had a rather ordinary tour, bagging a pair of ducks in the first Test but scoring a half century in the second.

Following two lean series, in England and Pakistan in 1980, he was dropped unceremoniously by West Indies, having scored 4,399 runs in 66 Tests at an average of 44.

Alvin Kallicharran was part of the 1975 and 1979 team that won the Cricket World Cup. In a famous encounter in the preliminary rounds in the 1975 World Cup in England, he scored a brilliant 78 against Australia, in which he punished Lillee severely.

After West Indies

Alvin Kallicharran was part of unofficial rebel tours to South Africa in 1983, in defiance of the Gleneagles Agreement and was banned from West Indies as a result. The ban was lifted in 1989. Years later, he stated that he played and coached a lot in the black townships in South Africa and helped in the development of many blacks and Indians who lived there.

In 1999, Alvin Kallicharran was the national cricket coach for Kenya. His contract was extended for another year after it first expired.

In 2010, Alvin and his wife signed up to be volunteer tour guides for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. He stated that he knew how important it was for visitors to be greeted by friendly, well-informed and helpful local people. He quickly became the poster-boy of the recruitment campaign.

Between 2011 and 2013, Alvin held training sessions in the United States, on both the east and west coasts, including North Carolina and California.

In 2014 he held training sessions for youth players in Trinidad & Tobago, on behalf of the Trinidad & Tobago Cricket Board. He graciously agreed to extend his stay in Trinidad & Tobago by a week to make up for time lost because of rain.

Career Batting and Fielding (27 Aug 2012)
Team Format M I NO Runs HS Ave 100 50 Ct
Guyana Colts 1in 1 1 0 18 18 18.00 0 0 0
Berbice FC 2 3 0 6 4 2.00 0 0 0
Guyana FC 37 58 4 2552 197 47.25 6 17 28
All FC 505 834 86 32650 243* 43.64 87 160 324
Guyana ListA 4 4 0 97 53 24.25 0 1 2
All ListA 383 363 36 11336 206 34.66 15 71 86
West Indies Test 66 109 10 4399 187 44.43 12 21 51
West Indies ODI 31 28 4 826 78 34.41 0 6 8
Career Bowling (27 Aug 2012)
Team Format Balls Mdns Runs Wkts BB Ave 5wI 10wM SR Econ
Guyana Colts 1in 6 0 8 0 0-8 - 0 0 - 8.00
Berbice FC 6 0 4 0 0-4 - 0 0 - 4.00
Guyana FC 485 13 286 3 1-1 95.33 0 0 161.67 3.54
All FC 7133 183 4030 84 5-45 47.97 1 0 84.91 3.38
All ListA 2294 18 1823 42 6-32 43.40 1 0 54.61 4.76
West Indies Test 406 14 158 4 2-16 39.50 0 0 101.50 2.33
West Indies ODI 105 3 64 3 2-10 21.33 0 0 35.00 3.65