|Full name:||Bruce Hamilton Pairaudeau|
|Born:||14 Apr 1931, Georgetown, Demerara, Guyana|
|Bowling:||Leg-break and googly|
|Relations:||Uncle: JS Dare|
|Teams:||Guyana (FC: 1947-1958); West Indies (Test: 1953-1957); Northern Districts (FC: 1958-1967); All teams|
|School:||Queen's College, Georgetown|
|New Zealand Cricket Almanack Player of the Year: 1959|
|Lists of matches and more detailed statistics|
Bruce Hamilton Pairaudeau was a stylish, orthodox, bespectacled right-handed opening batsman who sometimes batted in the middle order. As a youth attending Queen's College, the leading high school in British Guiana, he seemed to possess prodigious talent. He held the record individual score of 216 not out made by a Queens College batsman in second division cricket, which was also a record for any division for Queen's College.
He was also the first Queen's College boy to score a century in an inter-colonial match (130 vs. Jamaica, 1947) and the youngest player at that time to represent Guyana in inter-colonial first class cricket, when he made his first-class debut for British Guiana against Trinidad in March 1947 at Queen's Park Oval, a month before his sixteenth birthday. (Ramnaresh Sarwan later became the youngest player to represent Guyana in first class cricket.)
In the two games on debut at the Queen’s Park Oval he failed dismally, recording scores of 18 and 8 and 1 and 4. In his next inter-colonial game six months later, however, he redeemed himself by scoring 130 against Jamaica at Bourda at the age of only 16 years and five months.
Many Guyanese felt that Pairaudeau was unfortunate not to have been selected on the West Indies team which toured England in 1950 just after he made a century (161) against Barbados at Kensington Oval.
Eventually, after outstanding success in the Lancashire League (with Burnley) and three impressive innings (77 and 101 and 126) in two matches against Jamaica at Bourda in October 1952, he was able to force his way into the West Indies team for the first Test against India at the Queen’s Park Oval in January 1953. One Guyanese commentator described Pairaudeau’s selection as “more like postponed justice.”
Pairaudeau was the only Guyanese in the team and one of three West Indian Test debutants, the others being Frank King, the Barbadian fast bowler, and Alfred Binns, the Jamaican wicket-keeper. The match was historic in several ways. It was the first time the Caribbean was hosting an Indian team and the first occasion the West Indies was involved in a Test of six days’ duration.
Furthermore, a crowd of 22,000, then a record for a cricket match in the Caribbean, watched Pairaudeau when he began his first Test innings late on the third day.
In that innings Pairaudeau, then only 21 years old, had the distinction of scoring a century (115). He became only the third West Indian to score a first-appearance Test hundred, following the example set by the legendary Jamaican, George Headley (176), in 1930 and the Trinidadian, Andrew Ganteume (112), in 1948, both against England in the Caribbean.
The press in Guyana hailed Pairaudeau’s achievement, with the Daily Argosy having as its headline, “Pairaudeau Carves Name in ‘Hall of Fame’ With First Appearance 100”. Pairaudeau became the first of only three Guyanese to perform this comparatively rare feat, the others being Alvin Kallicharran (100 not out) against New Zealand in 1972 at Bourda and Leonard Baichan (105 not out) against Pakistan at Lahore in 1975.
Batting at Number 6 because of the presence of the established openers, Jeffrey Stollmeyer and Allan Rae, Pairaudeau came to the wicket with his team’s score at 190 for 4 in reply to India’s first innings total of 417. These two openers, Frank Worrell and Clyde Walcott were already back in the pavilion when Pairaudeau joined Everton Weekes.
Pairaudeau opened his account with a fierce pull for four off a short-pitched ball from the world-class leg spinner, Subhash Gupte. He proceeded to delight the spectators with exhilarating drives. Admittedly he profited from one chance when on 82, he was dropped by wicket-keeper Padmanabh Joshi, trying to tickle the medium-paced opening bowler, Gulabrai Ramchand, to leg.
Pairaudeau and Weekes shared a substantial partnership of 219 runs which was historic in at least three ways. Firstly, it eclipsed the fifth-wicket record of 170 for the West Indies against India set by Weekes and Christiani at Bombay in 1948. The new record was to remain for 49 years, that is, until 2002 when the Guyanese, Carl Hooper (233) and Shivnarine Chanderpaul (140), had a stand of 293 for that wicket at Bourda in the first Test of a series.
Secondly, the partnership between Pairaudeau and Weekes was a fifth-wicket record for the West Indies in all Tests until then. Thirdly, it was a record for the ground for that wicket and remained so for 56 years, that is, until Chanderpaul (147 not out) and Brendan Nash (109) surpassed it with a stand of 234 against England in March 2009.
The partnership between Weekes and Pairaudeau was broken with the score at 409 when the Barbadian was dismissed for 207, the first of his two Test double centuries. The team then collapsed, routed by Gupte, the last five wickets falling for the addition of only 29 runs. Pairaudeau, who was 94 when Weekes was out, saw Gerry Gomez (0), Binns (2) and King (0) dismissed quickly and had to wait for Sonny Ramadhin, to help him reach his hundred.
When he was dismissed finally, stumped on 115 gunning for the bowling, the entire ground rose and cheered him as he made his way back to the pavilion. His brilliant knock was only the second century by a Guyanese in Test cricket, following on the heels of Christiani’s innings, just over four years before.
For the remaining four Tests in the series he was promoted to open the innings and, though he made only one score of more than 50, he finished the series with 257 runs at an average of more than 32 runs per innings.
The following winter against the England tourists, though, he was picked for only two of the Tests, scoring 71 in the second match but failing in the fourth, and when the Australians toured in 1954-55, he was not chosen at all.
He was picked, however, for the somewhat makeshift West Indies side which made the first official tour of New Zealand in 1955-56. Lacking Clyde Walcott and Frank Worrell of the established West Indian batsman, the side often struggled for runs, and Pairaudeau scored just 101 runs in six innings in the four Tests. The fourth Test of the series at Auckland provided New Zealand with its first-ever victory in Test cricket.
Pairaudeau's final Tests came on the tour of England in 1957, which was not a success for him. He hit 127 against Cambridge University and a career-best 163 against Hampshire, but in 31 other innings on the tour he managed fewer than 500 runs. He played in the first and fourth Tests, but failed to get into double figures in his four innings. Those matches were the end of his Test career, at the age of 26.
In 1958 Pairaudeau’s involvement in West Indies cricket ended when he migrated to New Zealand, where he still resides. There he represented Northern Districts in the Plunkett Shield for eight seasons until 1967.
He later stated that he migrated to New Zealand after fulfilling his three main cricket ambitions (playing for the West Indies, scoring a Test century and touring England). The main reason for migrating was the worsening political situation in British Guiana at that time. Pairaudeau recalls that the national constitution being suspended in 1953 (for leftist politics), the day his team was supposed to be playing against Trinidad.
Pairaudeau chose the city of Hamilton, on New Zealand's North Island, as his home in new Zealand. With Bert Sutcliffe, one of New Zealand’s finest batsmen also in the team, he made regular runs for Northern Districts and captained the province to its first Plunkett Shield title in 1962-63. His name remains etched on the Bruce Pairaudeau Trophy for the Under-19 tournament in Hamilton. (Parts of the above are based on an article by Winston McGowan)