Robert Christiani

Full name: Robert Julian Christiani
Born: 19 Jul 1920, Georgetown, Demerara, Guyana
Died: 04 Jan 2005, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Batting: Right-hand batsman
Fieldling: Right-arm off-break, Wicketkeeper
Relations: Brother: CM Christiani; Brother: ES Christiani; Brother: H Christiani
Teams: Guyana (FC: 1938-1954); West Indies (Test: 1948-1954); All teams
Club: Demerara Cricket Club
Lists of matches and more detailed statistics

Robert Christiani was one of West Indies' best and most attractive batsmen of the immediate post-war era, but found himself overshadowed when the three Ws broke into the side. A correct, bespectacled right-hander who could also keep wicket and bowl serviceable off-spin, Christiani came from a prominent cricket family. His eldest brother Cyril kept wicket in four Tests against England in 1934-35 before dying young of malaria, and two other brothers also played for British Guiana.

Even as a teenager, Robert was considered unlucky to miss the 1939 tour of England, but after the war a career-best 181 against Jamaica cemented his place against Gubby Allen's England in 1947-48. "Sugarfoot" Christiani marked his debut with 99, before being trapped lbw by Ken Cranston (and bursting into tears back in the dressing-room).

He did reach a century the following year, against India at Delhi, with 107 - the first Test hundred by a Guyanese batsman - after going in at No. 8. This was a recurring problem: the presence of the three Ws often forced him lower in the order than his strokeplay warranted. "He played all the shots and was not the least bit inhibited by bowling," said his West Indian team-mate Andy Ganteaume. Christiani played in all four Tests on West Indies' coming-of-age tour in England in 1950, scoring consistently, and acting as reserve wicketkeeper to Clyde Walcott.

He was equally solid during the less successful tour of Australia in 1951-52, scoring 76 at Sydney and hitting the winning run - halfway through Christmas Day - as West Indies turned the tables in the Third Test at Adelaide. But he played only four more Tests after that trip, and retired after England's 1953-54 tour. He emigrated to Canada, and worked at Toronto City Hall. (Wisden)

Batting and Fielding Averages
Team Format M I NO Runs HS Ave 100 50 6s Ct St
Guyana FC 26 50 2 2178 181 45.37 6 11   37 3
All FC 88 142 16 5103 181 40.50 12 27   96 12
West Indies Test 22 37 3 896 107 26.35 1 4 2 19 2
Bowling Averages
Team Format Mat Balls Runs Wkts BBI BBM Ave Econ SR 4w 5w 10
Guyana FC 26 1063 767 13 3/31   59.00 4.33 81.8 0 0 0
All FC 88 1609 1088 18 3/11   60.44 4.05 89.3   0 0
West Indies Test 22 234 108 3 3/52 3/58 36.00 2.76 78.0 0 0 0