By Keith Holder
Bridgetown, Barbados – (www.barbadoscricket.org) -Three greats of West Indies cricket – Sir Gordon Greenidge, Desmond Haynes and Sir Andy Roberts – have been lauded by regional Boards after receiving Honorary Doctor of Laws degrees from the University of West Indies (UWI).
The Barbados Cricket Association (BCA), Cricket West Indies (CWI) and the West Indies Players Association (WIPA) all expressed congratulations.
Barbadians Greenidge and Haynes are arguably the most successful opening batting pair in the history of West Indies and global cricket, while Roberts, an Antiguan, excelled as a fast bowler.
They all formed part of the formidable West Indies team, which dominated world cricket in the 1970s and 1980s. Sir Andy and Sir Gordon were members of the first two World Cup winning teams under the captaincy of Clive Lloyd (now Sir Clive) in 1975 and 1979 in England, while Haynes was a member of the 1979 side.
All three are members of the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Hall of Fame.
Sir Gordon and Haynes are former Barbados and West Indies captains.
In varied capacities following the end of their playing careers, the 70-year-old Greenidge was also a West Indies selector, serving as chairman, Bangladesh coach and cricket columnist for the Sagicor West Indies Quarterly, while Haynes, 65, was a former chairman of the Barbados senior selection committee, Barbados team manager, First vice-president of the BCA, director of the West Indies Cricket Board and a Barbados Government senator (Please see their bios later in this story).
Sir Gordon and Dr. Haynes received their awards in a virtual graduation ceremony at the UWI Cave Hill Campus in Barbados on October 23, while Sir Andy, 70, was honoured by the UWI Five Islands Campus in Antigua.
“The Board of Directors, Management and Staff extend heartfelt congratulations to Sir Gordon Greenidge and Desmond Haynes on receiving Honorary Degrees of Doctors of Laws. We celebrate you as you preserve the legacy of our National Sport,” the BCA said in a newspaper advertisement.
During a brief ceremony in Antigua, the CWI as well as the Board of Directors and staff of Coolidge Cricket Ground (CCG) presented Sir Andy with a token of appreciation. The presentation of the special hamper was made by Enoch Lewis, a veteran CWI director and former Leeward Islands batter, and Nelecia Yeates, General Manager of CCG.
WIPA President and Chief Executive Officer, Wavell Hinds, a former Jamaica and West Indies batter, expressed his commendations.
“We salute Sir Gordon Greenidge, Desmond Haynes and Sir Andy Roberts for their contribution to West Indies and international cricket and the award of Honorary Doctorates in recognition of that contribution. It is a well-deserved honour that all West Indians can be proud of.”
Following are bios on Sir Gordon Greenidge, Dr. Desmond Haynes and Sir Andy Roberts:
Sir Cuthbert Gordon Greenidge
Sir Cuthbert Gordon Greenidge joined his fellow Barbadian Desmond Haynes in forming arguably the world’s most famous opening batting pair in modern cricket history, if not all told.
In 108 Tests, Greenidge amassed 7 558 runs at an average of 44.72, with a highest score of 226. He scored 19 centuries and 34 half-centuries, and was also an excellent slip fielder. He held 96 catches.
Greenidge was a prolific scorer in One-Day Internationals as well with 5 134 runs including 11 centuries and 31 half-centuries, at an average of 45.03 in 128 matches. His highest score was 133 not out.
His first-class career shows 523 matches with an aggregate of 37 354 runs including 92 centuries and 183 half-centuries (ave: 45.88). His highest score was 273 not out, while in 440 List A matches, he made 16 349 runs containing 33 hundreds, 94 fifties (ave: 40.56) and a highest of 186 not out.
A former Barbados and West Indies captain, Greenidge was a powerful striker of the ball with the square cut as his favourite stroke.
Born May 1, 1951 and christened Cuthbert Gordon Lavine, he resided at Black Bess in the northern Barbados parish of St. Peter.
He took a keen interest in cricket from a very early age and represented St. Peter’s Boys’ School before emigrating to England before the age of ten.
Greenidge learnt a lot about the game in England, and it was to prove vital to his technique, which was one of the best any batsman should copy.
For many years, Greenidge was a household name at Hampshire County Club after attending Sutton Secondary School in Reading. It was his prolific batting that eventually led the Barbados selectors to invite him back home to prepare for the regional first-class championship.
Greenidge was the eighth West Indian to score a hundred on his Test debut – 107 in the second innings after he was run out for 93 in the first innings against India at Bangalore in November 1974 – and the seventh to reach three figures in each innings of a Test.
Of his 19 Test centuries, four were past 200 including an unforgettable 226 against Australia before ecstatic home fans at Kensington Oval in 1991 when he was going through a lean period with the bat.
With Haynes, Greenidge featured in 16 century stands, four of them in excess of 200.
Greenidge became the first player in ODI history to score a century in his 100th ODI when he hit 102 not out against Pakistan in 1988. In that game he achieved the milestone as captain, with his century eventually going in vain as West Indies lost.
He played his 100th Test match in 1990 – the fifth and final against England at the Antigua Recreation Ground. He and Haynes added 298 for the first wicket with Greenidge scoring 149 before he was run out, while Player of The Match Haynes made 167. West Indies triumphed by an innings and 32 runs to wrap up the series 2-1.
Greenidge was a Wisden Cricketer of the Year in 1977.
He was coach of the Bangladesh national team, and as though his partnership with Haynes was meant to carry on, both worked in the same office with Gems of Barbados, a tourist oriented company.
At Kensington Oval, their names stand out on the Greenidge & Haynes stand.
There is also the Gordon Greenidge Primary School, located at Bakers, St. Peter on the border with St. James (Upper Rock Dundo). With the motto, Truth and Excellence, the school is an amalgamation of St. Boniface and Black Bess Primary Schools and was officially opened in 1993.
For his services to cricket, Greenidge was appointed Knight Commander of the Order of St. Michael and St. George (KCMG) in the 2020 New Year Honours. He was also awarded an MBE in the New Year’s honours list in 1985.
As a columnist for the Sagicor West Indies Cricket Quarterly, which was edited by veteran sports journalist Keith Holder, Greenidge was forthright in his views, even when he was a West Indies selector.
After Brian Lara was appointed as West Indies captain for the second time in 2003, replacing Carl Hooper, Greenidge wrote in his column: “There is no God-given right that anyone should be selected because of territorial feelings that he is a good player, certainly not in my view. This is not an individual game. This is West Indies cricket and long after all of us are gone West Indies cricket will remain.
“As selectors our job is to select the best possible available team to play, and the players’ job is to continue to uphold the best tradition of West Indies cricket and improve on performances of their predecessors.
“The cricket seems to have gone totally a different way now where players are forgetting what they are expected to do. It seems to be an individual game. If you fit the game plan, then there is a likelihood that you will be included. If you don’t, then we look to see who is available that can do the job.”
Locally, Greenidge played for Carlton and Banks (now renamed Wildey) in major BCA Championships. Later he became president of the Central Club, which competes in lower divisions of the BCA.
Dr. Desmond Leo Haynes
Desmond Haynes rose to fame as the opening partner to Gordon Greenidge as the pair flogged bowling the world over.
Haynes played in 116 Tests, scoring 7 487 runs including 18 centuries and 39 half-centuries at an average of 42.29. His highest score was 184.
He finished his One-Day International career with an aggregate of 8 648 runs at an average of 41.37 in 238 matches. He hit 17 centuries and 57 fifties with a best of 152 not out. At one time he was the world’s highest run-scorer in One-Day Internationals.
Haynes is also one of the few players to have scored a century on his ODI debut.
In his first-class career of 376 matches, he amassed 26 030 runs with 61 centuries and 138 half-centuries – his highest score was an unbeaten 255 – at an average of 45.90.
And in 419 List A matches, he made 15 651 runs (ave: 42.07), slamming 28 hundreds and 110 fifties.
Always a pugnacious opening batsman, Haynes was nurtured in Holder’s Hill, a village in the western Barbados parish of St. James known for producing many cricketers who played for the island and several for West Indies.
Born February 15, 1956, Haynes received his primary school education at St. John Baptist before going on the Barbados Academy and Federal High Schools, both now defunct.
Once he got into the West Indies team, he was content to play second fiddle to Greenidge but eventually blossomed into his natural game.
Haynes boasts of the world record of carrying his bat through an innings in Tests three times and is the only player to bat through both innings of a Test – against New Zealand at Dunedin in 1980.
After captaining the West Indies on tour to Pakistan in 1990-91 in the absence of an ill Vivian Richards (now Sir Vivian), he soon had the disappointment of being overlooked for the job in preference to Richie Richardson when Richards retired after the 1991 tour to England.
Yet, Haynes continued to give of his best but he had a major fall-out with the WICB in 1995 after they ruled that he was ineligible to play in the home series against Australia because he had not taken part fully in the regional first-class season due to a contract with Western Province in South Africa, along with family commitments.
Haynes also played for Middlesex in the English county championship.
From a regional perspective, I want to state emphatically that covering the 1991 Red Stripe Cup first-class Championship was sweet, sweet, sweet.
Barbados not only captured the title by a very wide margin – they virtually doubled second-placed Trinidad & Tobago – but Haynes as the captain was brilliant both on and off the field.
In fact, of Barbados’ record 23 titles since 1966 when the regional first-class Tournament was first sponsored (Shell Shield), the margin of success by Haynes’ team in relation to the number of points over the runners-up is the widest ever.
Barbados won four of the five matches, ending on 72 points. Trinidad & Tobago gained 37, Guyana 36, Leeward Islands 36, Jamaica 20 and Windward Islands 12.
Nicknamed “Joe Louis”, Haynes brought a unique freshness from the start of the season by warmly embracing the media for a press conference after each day’s play. It was a boss move.
And he silenced his critics of the previous season, especially one radio commentator who had given him nought out of ten for captaincy.
As if to say “tek dat”, Haynes punched his way with the bat in a style that would have made the great American heavyweight boxer after whom he got his nickname very proud.
Haynes was brutal at the crease, amassing 654 runs including four centuries at a remarkable average of 109.00.
He was awarded the Silver Crown of Merit by the Barbados Government on Independence Day in 1989.
In retirement, Haynes became the chairman of the Barbados senior selection panel and also re-joined his partnership with Greenidge in working for Gems of Barbados.
Haynes was elected vice-president of the BCA in a keenly contested election in 2005, as he upstaged his former highly successful Barbados captain and West Indies leg-spinning all-rounder David Holford. He was also elected as a WICB director at the same meeting.
Haynes was the Barbados team manager for the Caribbean Twenty20 Tournament in 2010. He was the West Indies batting consultant for the home series against Pakistan and India the following year.
Always a favourite at the once all-White Carlton Cricket Club in Black Rock, St. Michael, he became president and also had the honour of the ground being renamed the Desmond Haynes Oval.
Haynes is a former Barbados Government Senator and also served as Chairman of the National Sports Council and secretary of the West Indies Players Association.
He boasts as well of setting up the Desmond Haynes Foundation with events including a Golf Invitational, Coaching and Membership Programmes and Promotion and Product Marketing.
Back in early 2016, in explaining the thinking behind the establishment of the scholarship, Haynes said he was making an investment in the future of young cricketers, remembering the kindness which was bestowed upon him during his early years in the game.
“In my life I got a lot of help and decided to start the Desmond Haynes Foundation, where I looked to raise some money to help young cricketers to further their education because I want them to have that mix with education and sport,” he said.
Sir Anderson Montgomery Everton Roberts
Quiet in demeanour, Sir Andy Roberts was a sharp contrast with a ball in his hand.
He was in the forefront of a famous West Indies pace quartet and carried with him the likes of Michael Holding, Joel Garner and Colin Croft, later to be joined by the late Malcolm Marshall as those who stood out.
The fact that in 47 Tests, Roberts took five wickets in an innings 11 times and had two hauls of ten or more wickets in a match en route to 202 wickets at 25.61 runs each, with a best of seven for 54, go a long way in underlying his stature as a great fast bowler.
In 56 ODIs, Roberts took 87 wickets (ave: 20.35; Econ: 3.40; best 5 for 22) and in 228 first-class matches, he hauled in 889 wickets (ave: 21.01; best 8 for 47).
Roberts was born January 29, 1951 at Urlings Village.
Like former West Indies captain and batting ace Sir Vivian Richards, Roberts put Antigua on the world cricketing map and like Richards, had a stand at the Antigua Recreation Ground in St. John’s named after him before a similar honour at the much more modern Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in North Sound.
There are some observers who still argue that he was pushed out of international cricket prematurely but the writing was on the wall on the 1983-84 tour to India when he played in only the last two of the six-Test series.
“It’s always good for people to say that you should have gone on longer. Personally I thought I could have played for another year or two but I wasn’t given the opportunity but you cannot look back at that. I have had a good career and I enjoyed it,” he said in an interview.
Roberts was also a former president of the Antigua Cricket Association and served West Indies cricket, helping with coaching stints, in addition to being a highly respected grounds curator.
Apart from a player, he was also the coach, manager and a selector of the West Indies senior team. He complained that there were a few players who did not listen to advice.
“I can say that all three (before becoming a selector) were cut short. As a player, I think I could have played on, as manager I would never like to be because I never believed that I was cut out for that and as coach I think I wasn’t given the fullest opportunity to do what I thought I could do,” he said.
Roberts was a Wisden Cricketer of the Year 1975. He was also another of the many West Indians cricketers to play professionally in England for Hampshire and Leicestershire and also represented New South Wales in Australia.
In relation to his UWI award, Sir Andy said: “I felt it was an honour, and you know, I appreciate anything that is given to me because of my contribution towards the game of cricket and towards the development of Antigua and Barbuda.”
Keith Holder is a veteran, award-winning freelance sports journalist, who has been covering local, regional and International cricket since 1980 as a writer and commentator. He has compiled statistics on the Barbados Cricket Association (BCA) Division 1 (rebranded Elite in 2012) Championship for four decades and provides statistics and stories for the BCA website (www.barbadoscricket.org). Email: Keithfholder@gmail.com