West Indian “Whodats” Part 2

Amidst struggles for consistency and success, the rotation of West Indies players in recent times has been rather impressive. In and out, or in for too long, it has never been dull as far as studies of international faces go.

Some of these bids have paid off, such as Ramnaresh Sarwan, who now averages over 40 in Test cricket, despite entering with a First Class average in the low 30s. Dwayne Smith scored an unbeaten century on debut – his first in First Class cricket, and Fidel Edwards claimed his maiden 5-wicket haul in his second First Class match, which happened to be his Test debut.

It is of present interest, however, to look at the far more common end of the spectrum, with the challenge of selecting a West Indies XI of “blunderous” or entirely bizarre selections over recent years.

A reminder of the top three:

Opener #1
Suruj Ragoonath
2 Tests; 4 Innings
Average: 4.33
HS: 9

Opener #2
Leon Garrick
1 Test; 2 innings
Average: 13.50
HS: 27

One Drop
Lincoln Roberts
1 Test; 1 Innings
Average: 0.00
HS: 0

Part Two: The Middle Order
Three More For A Crowd

Moving on we come to the difficult selection of the middle order, where the West Indies selectors have not made significant blunders in recent times. The mistakes that have been made have been persisted with sufficiently to negate reasonable selection to this list.

Number Four
David Joseph
4 Tests; 7 innings
Average: 20.14
HS: 50

Occupying the most important middle order slot is David Joseph. He debuted with a half-century against Australia, but never left the Caribbean. Indeed, Joseph’s 7 Test innings all came in his debut series, as Australia drew 2-2 with the West Indies in 1999. Selected on the back of a terrific domestic season (401 runs at 50.12), Joseph seemed primed to take on Australia as one of three debutants for the first Test.

He proceeded to further encourage the excitement, smashing four boundaries and a huge six off MacGill in his first innings. Joseph rolled along to his fifty, then received an unfortunate LBW decision against McGrath. His second effort required no misfortune, as a lame fend to first slip gave McGrath another wicket.

Dave Joseph’s brief Test career was characterized by starts with less than significant progress, and he scored 100 of his 141 runs in his first and last Tests. At the age of 29, his days in the sun were over as far as international cricket was concerned. Much like Garrick after him, Joseph may have deserved a further run at Test level, but the return of Chanderpaul and the “emergence” of Ricardo Powell ended any such thoughts.

Number Five – the misplaced allrounder
Dave Bernard jr.
1 Test; 2 Innings
Batting Average: 5.50
Bowling Average: – (0/61)

Perhaps batting a bit higher (ok, a LOT higher) than he should in this XI (or any XI), Bernard was picked to debut against Australia, and is the fourth player on the list with such an honour, thus far. Marketed around domestic cricket as an allrounder, Dave Bernard jr. only managed 11 expensive overs in his lone Test.

Currently at 24 years of age, Bernard is still young and may well play for the West Indies again, but his selection at the time proved a bit of a blunder. Rarely ever has a player looked so undercooked upon introduction to Test cricket. In fact, Bernard might as well have not played at all – so slight was his presence on debut.

Always more than handy with bat and ball for Jamaica, Bernard is a true allrounder. When picked to play Australia at the Queen’s Park Oval in 2003, it was at the expense of a fourth specialist bowler, and Australia made sure to hammer that mistake home. Bernard was not used until part-timer Marlon Samuels had been introduced into the attack, and didn’t even bowl half as many overs of his Jamaican team-mate. In the end he had figures of 11-1-61-0 amidst the carnage of 576/4 declared.

In two turns at the crease, Bernard fared little better, and compiled a total of 11 runs, hitting a four in each innings. Both dismissals featured poor footwork and loose strokeplay – typically uncharacteristic of the man. Drafted in and drafted right back out – the Dave Bernard jr. story.

Number Six – the traditional allrounder?
Darryl Brown
3 ODIs; 2 Innings
Bat Average: 10.00
Bowl Average: 24.80

Daryl Brown’s selection to this team breaks the mold entirely. Unlike the players before him, Brown is picked on One Day International merit, or lack thereof. Undoubtedly the most bizarre selection on this list, he still posed a moderate international record.

Despite a batting average of 10 and a bowling average of 50.50 outside of international one day matches, Brown was picked to debut against Zimbabwe in 2001. He operated as the first change bowler, and returned exceptional figures of 10-3-21-3. It wasn’t to be long before he was set back into place, however, and Sri Lanka did so a game later.

En route to victory in the final of the LG Abans Triangular Series, the Sri Lankans decked Brown for 72 runs off his 10 overs, and Sangakkara was his lone wicket. He would add 1 more wicket to his career tally from then on, playing his third and final One Day International against Pakistan the following year. Brown returned figures of 5-0-31-1, following up a career high of 9 with the bat.

Six in the shack…

Not satisfied? Understandable. It’s clear that the middle order composition is left wanting somewhat, distinctly lacking worthy middle order players. Alas, that is what this list is all about. Without frailty on paper and in actuality, this most outstanding of batting line-ups is worth naught (though it is hardly worth more at the moment).

A top six that would send shivers down the spine of the typical West Indian supporter, if only due the curiosity either as to why these players ever donned the regional colours, or who they are at all.

The initial warning holds relevance once more:
If, by chance you are one of the above mentioned, many apologies for the cruel reminder.

Leave a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until they have been approved

More articles by Liam Camps