Who are the greatest Windies batsmen ever?
The West Indies are historically one of the greatest cricketing teams ever. They have won 2 ICC Cricket World Cups, 1 Champions Trophy and 2 World T20’s. Plus, they dominated Test cricket for over a decade in the 1980s. Their fast bowling prowess is well documented but in this article we will be exploring the best West Indies batsmen of all-time.
There were a lot of nominees to choose from and hence some very notable names are omitted. These players were chosen on consistency and match-winning ability.
So, who makes our top 5?
5. Shivnarine Chanderpaul
If there was an examination on orthodox techniques, Shivnarine Chanderpaul would fail miserably. In fact, his crabby stance was so unique that it left both teammates and opponents puzzled throughout his career. But, it had no effect on his run-scoring ability. He averaged 51 in Test cricket and 42 in ODI cricket, scoring over 11000 and over 8000 runs in those formats respectively.
His century against Australia while chasing 418 in the fourth-innings will go down as one of his very best in Test cricket. Against a bowling attack featuring Glenn McGrath, Jason Gillespie, Brett Lee and Stuart MacGill, he managed to help West Indies win an improbable game.
Shivnarine Chanderpaul is number five on our list of “Top 5 best West Indies batsmen of all-time.”
4. Sir Everton Weekes
Sir Everton Weekes was part of the “Big 3” best West Indian batsmen during his era, along with Clyde Walcott and Frank Worrell. He was diminutive in nature but unfurled superb attacking shots, all-round the wicket. He played 48 Tests for the West Indies, over a span of 10 years. Weekes scored over 4000 runs at a batting average of 59.
He was especially potent against India, both home and away. His overall record against the side is immaculate, averaging 107 against them, with 7 centuries and 4 half-centuries. Weekes remains the joint-fastest to 1000 Test runs, a record he shares with Sir Herbert Sutcliffe.
Sir Everton Weekes is number four on our list of “Top 5 best West Indies batsmen of all-time.”
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3. Brian Lara
The “Prince of Trinidad” has played some of the best innings ever witnessed in both formats of the game. He holds the record for the highest-ever score in both Test and First Class cricket – 400 and 500 respectively. But, his 153 against Australia in 1999 is arguably the best Test innings of all-time, rescuing his team under pressure.
Lara was a fantastic player of spin bowling and took on the best slow bowlers of his time. He dominated Muttiah Muralitharan during the 2001 series, despite his side coming off second best. He often waltzed down the track and got the pitch of the ball, before dispatching it over the infield and into the stands.
No game would be over as long as Brian Lara was still at the crease.
Brian Lara is number three on our list of “Top 5 best West Indies batsmen of all-time.”
2. Sir Garfield Sobers
Began his career batting in the lower-order, bowling left-arm chinaman but ended up being one of the greatest stroke players of all-time. He took a long time to get his first Test century but it ended up being a mammoth 365 against Pakistan – a record which stood as the highest Test score, until broken by his fellow countryman Brian Lara in 1994.
He represented the West Indies for two decades, scoring over 8000 runs at a batting average of 58. He is one of the few cricketers to excel on the off-side while batting. The likes of Kumar Sangakkara and Graeme Pollock are other examples.
Sir Garfield Sobers is number two on our list of “Top 5 best West Indies batsmen of all-time.”
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1. Sir Vivian Richards
Unarguably the greatest batsman to have played for the West Indies. Sir Vivian Richards was way ahead of his time in the way that he played the game. His aggressive batting style and counter-punching ability stood head and shoulders above his counterparts. An average of 47 in ODI cricket, along with a strike rate of 90 are healthy numbers, even in the modern era. His 138 not out in the 1979 Cricket World Cup final against England, will forever be his finest moment, guiding the West Indies to a second World Cup.
His swagger was no less evident in Test match cricket either. Richards averaged 50 in the format, scoring over 8000 runs. New Zealand aside, where he played only three Tests, Viv averaged above 40 in all other countries that he played in.
Sir Vivian Richards is number one on our list of “Top 5 best West Indies batsmen of all-time.”
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