Selecting The Windies Greatest Test XI Of All-Time

Curtly Ambrose, Brian Lara, Malcolm Marshall and Sir Viv Richards are perhaps unanimous picks in the Windies Greatest Test XI of All-Time.

A Legendary Windies Greatest Test XI 

The West Indies have had some amazing test match cricketers over the years. From Brian Lara and Sir Vivian Richards to Malcolm Marshall and Curtly Ambrose. Therefore, choosing the Windies greatest test XI of all-time is not going to be an easy task.

The West Indies dominated test match cricket in the 1980s and did not lose a single series between 1980 and 1995. They are perhaps one of cricket’s greatest ever test teams. Perhaps rivalled only by the great Australian team of the late 1990s and mid-2000s and Bradman’s Invincibles.

South Africa’s test team between 2006-15 did not lose a single Test series away from home. They also lost at home only to Australia. Yet, they are probably a level below this side. This shows just how powerful this team was.

So, who makes it into the Windies greatest test XI of all-time?

The Openers 

Gordon Greenidge and Desmond Haynes

Gordon Greenidge and Desmond Haynes open the batting for the West Indies. Picking the Windies Greatest Test XI of all-time.
West Indian opening batsmen Gordon Greenidge (left) and Desmond Haynes during the 5th Test match against England at the Kennington Oval in London on the 8th August 1988. The West Indies won the match by 8 wickets. (Photo by David Munden/Popperfoto via Getty Images/Getty Images)

The iconic opening partnership. The Windies greatest test XI requires a superb opening partnership.

Sir Gordon Greenidge and Desmond Haynes opened the batting for the Windies during their period of dominance. They would more often than not give a very good start. Both were naturally aggressive batsmen.

Greenidge scored an amazing 214 at Lords on the final day after England declared the innings to try and win the test match. He also scored 223 vs England at Old Trafford in that same series in 1984. His best performance, however, could be the 226 he scored against Australia at the Kensington Oval in 1991.

Desmond Haynes was also a great opening batsman. He scored big hundreds against England home and away in 1980. Together they averaged 47.31 opening the batting and they still holds the record for the most test runs as an opening partnership – 6482.

Two of the finest test match openers make it into the Windies greatest test XI of all-time.

Also, Read – England v Windies – What’s your combined Test XI?

The Middle-Order

Brian Lara, Sir Vivian Richards and Clive Lloyd (C)

Brian Lara scores 375 vs England and he has to be part of the Windies Greatest Test XI of all-time.
18 APR 1994: ENGLAND WICKET KEEPER JACK RUSSELL WATCHES AS BRIAN LARA OF THE WEST INDIES SCORES 375 RUNS DURING THE FIFTH TEST IN ANTIGUA Mandatory Credit: Ben Radford/ALLSPORT

Brian Lara is perhaps best known for his scores of 375 and 400 against England at Antigua in 1994 and 2004 respectively. In fact, he churned out ridiculously high scores whenever he was in the mood. His idea was simple – when set he goes big. He averaged over 50 against England and Australia. Plus he averaged over 50 against Pakistan and Sri Lanka. In his pomp, he was beautiful to watch and a genuine game-changer. One of the greatest ever.

Sir Viv Richards was the West Indies’s best batsman in his era. He intimidated bowlers with his swagger and his confidence. He averaged 50 in test cricket when not many players in his era could achieve such figures. Viv Richards scored 24 test match centuries and was one of the main reasons why the West Indies were dominant throughout his career.

Sir Clive Lloyd is the most successful West Indies captain ever. He led them to two world cup victories and was equally impressive in the test arena. As a batsman, he scored over 7500 test match runs at an average of 46.67. He was, in particular, an excellent player of spin and averaged over 75 in India. Edges Shivnarine Chanderpaul out of the West Indies all-time test XI due to his captaincy.

The backbone of the Windies Greatest Test XI of all-time.

The All-Rounder and Wicketkeeper

BIRMINGHAM – AUGUST 14: Garfield Sobers batting, Alan Knott the wicket-keeper and Frank Hayes at slip, 2nd Test England v West Indies Edgbaston August 1973. (Photo by Patrick Eagar/Popperfoto via Getty Images)

Sir Garfield Sobers and Jeffery Dujon (WK)

Sir Garfield Sobers is widely rated by some as perhaps the greatest all-rounder of all time. Jacques Kallis and Sobers often are seen as the two best. Sobers started off as a left-arm spinner and in Geoffery Boycott’s words “became one of the greatest batsmen of all-time.” Gary Sobers averages 57 in test match cricket as a batsman alone. His first century was a marathon 365 against Pakistan. He is the only all-rounder in the West Indies all-time test XI.

He also has over 200 test match wickets. Sobers could open the bowling with pace, bowl left-arm spin or bowl chinaman. One of the greatest of all-time and easily makes it into the Windies greatest test XI of all time.

Sir Gary Sobers – Cricketer of the Century?

Jeffery Dujon is perhaps the West Indies’s best wicketkeeper of all time. He kept to the pace quartet that dominated world cricket in the 1980s. He was also a very handy batsman. Dujon played 81 test matches and scored 3322 runs at a batting average of just below 32.

The Bowling Attack – Windies Greatest Test XI

Malcolm Marshall, Curtly Ambrose, Joel Garner and Michael Holding

Malcolm Marshall of West Indies bowling with a broken thumb on his left hand during the 3rd Test match between England and West Indies at Headingley, Leeds, 14th July 1984. The umpire is David Evans; the batsman for England is Graeme Fowler. West Indies won the match by 8 wickets. (Photo by Patrick Eagar/Popperfoto via Getty Images)

Perhaps the greatest bowling attack of all time. These are four genuine pace bowlers in the Windies greatest Test XI.

Malcolm Marshall is arguably the greatest fast bowler of all time. In 81 test matches, he took 376 wickets at a bowling average of just 20.94. He also had a strike rate of 46.7. Malcolm Marshall dominated worldwide, averaging under 25 with the ball in five of the six countries that he played test match cricket in. Perhaps the first pick bowler in the Windies Greatest Test XI.

Watch – Malcolm Marshall Dominates in Adelaide

Joel Garner and Michael Holding were also two of the other bowlers who formed the pace quartet. Joel Garner was known mainly for bowling economically and the enormous bounce that he generated from his height. Michael Holding had a smooth and rhythmical action. He is perhaps most famously known for the over he bowled to Geoffery Boycott in Barbados in 1981. Both make it into the West Indies’s best test team.

Curtly Ambrose was one of the few great players that the West Indies had throughout the 1990s. He bowled in tandem with Courtney Walsh and was devastating on his day. He helped bowl England out for 46 in 1994 and took 7-1 in a Spell against Australia in 1992/93.

Watch – Curtly Ambrose 7-1 against Australia 1992/93 Perth

All four are hugely deserving of being in the Windies Greatest Test XI.

The Reserve Players – Windies Greatest Test XI

Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Lance Gibbs, Sir Andy Roberts and Courtney Walsh

West Indies batsman Shivnarine Chanderpaul plays a shot off a delivery by Al-Amin Hossain of Bangladesh on day two of the second and final Test between West Indies and Bangladesh on September 14, 2014 at the Beausejour Cricket Cricket Ground in Gros Islet, St Lucia. AFP PHOTO / Frederic J. BROWN (Photo credit should read FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)

Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Lance Gibbs, Sir Andy Roberts and Courtney Walsh can all think of themselves as unlucky not to be part of the Windies greatest Test XI.

Chanderpaul was underrated throughout his test career. After Brian Lara retired, he was their only reliable test match batsmen for a prolonged period of time. He has scored over 10,000 test match runs at an average above 50. If it was just based purely on runs and batting average, he would definitely make the West Indies all-time test XI.

Sir Andy Roberts and Courtney Walsh are two of the West Indies’s greatest ever fast bowlers. Such is the depth in the history of West Indies cricket, that they struggle to make the list. They would perhaps both feature in most other test match XI’s.

Lance Gibbs should perhaps have made the side and will feature in the subcontinent or if the West Indies decide to pick a spinner. He was the first bowler to reach 300 test match wickets and still remains the West Indies’s greatest ever spinner.

A fantastic Windies greatest Test XI. An all-time team that could challenge any other test eleven in the world.

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