As you are thinking about great batsmen which ones always come immediately to mind because of their brilliance, elegance and excellence -- the ones who always conjure up for you visions of magnificent performances and superlative skill -- those who stand out above the rest in your memory?
For me, there are three, in alphabetical order:
Sir Donald Bradman
Sir Everton Weekes
All three stirred my blood whenever I saw them bat -- there was always electricity in the air and a feeling of great expectation whenever they walked out of the Pavilion. Even when they didn't score well (not often) they inevitably dazzled with their power and remarkable skill.
Don Bradman -- The first time I saw this remarkable man bat I was amazed by his uncanny ability to always be in position to play just the shot he intended and the incredible versatility of his stroke play -- I had never seen a batter pull a ball pitched on his off-stump for a sceaming leg boundary before! Two other things stood out about his batting for me, and remain burned in my memory: the enormous power that he generated for every one of his offensive strokes (which it seemed was almost every one) and the fact that very rarely did he hit a ball in the air. Runs seemed to just flow off his bat as he sprayed the ball to every boundary.
George Headley -- I was lucky enough to see this marvelous batsman in his prime and his magnificent stroke play is etched in my memory -- particularly his impeccable driving. Clarrie Grimmett, the great Australian leg spinner, gave George Headley the sobriquet "The black Bradman" after Headley had demolished his bowling during a test match -- something that very rarely happened to Grimmett. Later, during a press conference, a reporter asked Learie Constantine about Grimmett's label. "Well", Constantine replied, "we refer to Don Bradman as 'the white Headley'"!
Everton Weekes -- How could anyone with the name "Everton De Courcey Weekes" be anything but a charismatic and brilliant batsman? Well, to me, he certainly was those things -- and more. No other batsman stirred my blood as he did. No other batter I have seen had his passion and panache. I saw him bat some memorable innings, none greater than the glorious double century century he hit during one afternoon in the Lancashire League (the first and only one) -- I was working the score board at Bunley CC that day and we could barely keep up with his run onslaught.
Of course, I saw many other truly great batsmen (including the other two members of "the three Ws" - Clyde Walcott and Frank Worrell), but none stand out in my memory as do those three.
So who are the most memorable batsmen you have seen -- those that are etched in your memory because of their brilliance, elegance and excellence?
There will no doubt be a generational bias here but these kind of personal selections have always been so affected -- one of these days, sooner than you now think, your children/grandchildren will be asking you "who was that and how come you think he was so great" when you reminisce about a past hero of yours. As a boy, Whenever I used to talk about how great Don Bradman was my father used to say "Ah, but you should have seen Jack Hobbs" to which my grandfather replied "Yes, but Victor Trumper was the best".