Roy Clifton Fredericks
|Full name:||Roy Clifton Fredericks|
|Born:||11 Nov 1942, Blairmont, East Bank Berbice, Guyana|
|Died:||05 Sep 2000, New York, United States of America|
|Bowling:||Left-arm off-break & chinaman|
|Teams:||Berbice (FC: 1972); Demerara (FC: 1979); Guyana (FC: 1964-1983); Guyana (ListA: 1977-1983); West Indies (Test: 1968-1977); West Indies (ODI: 1973-1977); Glamorgan (FC, ListA: 1971-1973); All teams|
|Glamorgan cap: 1971|
|Wisden Cricketer of the Year: 1974|
|Lists of matches and more detailed statistics|
Roy Ferdericks was a small but very tough left-handed opening batsman of high class who hit the ball exceptionally hard, an occasional slow left-arm bowler and a brilliant close fielder, especially on the leg-side. He had a tendency to have inspired bursts of form as when he hit two hundreds in a match against MCC for Guyana in 1973/4, a feat he had already achieved against Barbados in 1966/7.
Fredericks was one of a handful of batsmen who distinguished themselves by counter-attacking the great pace bowlers of the 1970s. He is remembered best for his blazing performance at Perth in 1975-76, when he raced to one of the most astonishing of all Test centuries. This series was eventually won 5-1 by Australia, with Lillee and Thomson at full pelt. (Wisden)
But in the second Test, on an incredibly fast WACA pitch, Fredericks took them on in amazing fashion. The harder they banged the ball in, the harder he cut and hooked. Into the second morning, he opened what might have been a diffident reply to Australia's 329: at lunch West Indies were 130 for on off 14 eight-ball overs; the 200 came up in the 22nd. Fredericks went on to reach a hundred from 71 balls and, though he grew tired, turned it into a match-winning 169. (Wisden)
This was merely a distillation of his entire career. "There has," as Mike Selvey wrote, "probably never been a better or more willing exponent of the hook." His most famous single shot was a failure, however: right at the start of the first World Cup final, he hooked a ball from Lillee over long-leg - only to tread on his wicket in the process. (Wisden)
Playing for Guyana
Roy Clinton Fredericks made his first class debut at Bourda in 1964, for Guyana (British Guiana then) against Jamaica, opening the batting and scoring 25. Leslie Amsterdam, his opening partner in that match, scored 110 and Guyana won by an innings. Nothing special, but better than the 11 scored by another debutante in that same match - one Clive Hubert Lloyd, who scored 11.
Fredericks struggled early in his first class career, playing only 6 matches in his first 3 years, with a highest score of 31. Thus, he was lucky to find himself in the Guyana team to oppose Barbados in a Shell Shield match starting on 28 February 1967, at Bourda. Regular opener Stephen Camacho was injured during the pre-match warm-up and the back-up, Romain Etwaroo, had to return to work in distant Berbice after exhausting his leave for the trials.
Fredericks scored a century in each innings (127 and 115) in a match full of drama, and never looked back. He scored another century (128) against Jamaica 3 matches later, and late in the following year (1968) he was in the West Indies party touring Australia and New Zealand.
Fredericks announced his retirement for Guyana in 1983, batted twice, and scored 103 against Trinidad & Tobago and 217 against Jamaica. It was an astonishing way to finish. By then, he was already a junior minister in the Guyana government, with responsibility for youth and sport. (Wisden)
Playing for West Indies
He made his Test debut in the 2nd Test against Australia in 1968, opening and topscoring in the first innings with 76. Fredericks enjoyed moderate in the Test series in Australia but had a poor Test series in New Zealand, at the beginning of 1969. In mid-1969 the West Indies toured England and Fredericks consolidated his position as opener with 3 fifties in the 3-Test series.
A small (about 5ft 6in) left-hander, Fredericks provided half the answer to the conundrum of who should open for West Indies. This had been intractable even when Conrad Hunte was playing, and remained a source of constant change and argument until Gordon Greenidge emerged to join Fredericks in the mid-1970s. He preferred to tilt his cap back, rock on to his left foot and smash the ball hard, but he was capable of playing as a traditional opener. (Wisden)
When West Indies first brought him in, for the 1968 Boxing Day Test at Melbourne after Clive Lloyd was injured, he batted throughout a slightly shortened, bitterly cold opening day while the rest of the batting collapsed around him. With 76 and 47 he emerged with distinction from a drab performance. (Wisden)
This was a period of steep but brief West Indies decline and, though it took him a while to perform as well, Fredericks became an important brick in the rebuilding process. He scored 3 fifties in 6 innings when West Indies lost a series to England (for the last time until 2000) in 1969 but did not score a century until February 1972 against New Zealand at Sabina Park, when his 163 was overshadowed by the double-century from debutant Lawrence Rose. They put on 269. (Wisden)
At Edgbaston in 1973, he scored 150 in patient mode - taking 8 hours and surviving a crisis when he was completely bogged down against Ray Illingworth - and a cautious 138 to ensure the draw when West Indies were unexpectedly up against it in the Lord's Test of 1976. A month later at Headingley, he returned to the attack, scoring 79 before lunch and reaching 109 in 156 minutes. (Wisden)
However, even then he was just doing an opener's job: on that day everyone else really cut loose and West Indies had 437 by the close. Though he scored eight Test hundreds in his 109 innings, this was a low ratio for a player who averaged above 40 - he preferred the blistering fifty. (Wisden)
In his 3 years with Glamorgan (1971-1973), Fredericks was less consistent than he was for Guyana but spasmodically magnificent and extremely popular - not least with his opening partner Alan Jones, even though Jones described his calling as "terrible" and suffered from his musical tastes when they roomed together. On an amazing day at Swansea, they put on 330 (Fredericks scored 228 not-out) against Northamptonshire, at the time a record for any Glamorgan wicket; they still lost.
Earlier in his playing days he had generally endeared himself by calling everyone "old chap".
Fredericks toured Zambia with Glamorgan in 1972, where he scored a fifty (54) and 4-54 in an innings. He played for 48 matches for WSC West Indies in Kerry Packer's World Series Cricket from 1977 to 1979, scoring 2 centuries and 9 fifties, with a highest score of 110 and average of 30.92. He also took 19 catches and 5 wickets at an average of 30.80.
Fredericks remained attached to the Guyana government after retiring from first class cricket, but later concentrated on coaching. By then, openers around the world were batting in anonymous helmets. He was one of the last players who not only relished facing the best bowlers but looked as though he did. (Wisden)
In April 1999 Roy Fredericks was inducted into the Guyana Cricket Board Hall of Fame at the Georgetown Cricket Club ground, in Guyana.
Roy Fredericks died of throat cancer on September 5, 2000, aged 57. (Wisden)