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Sunday, June 21, 2020

when WI ruled Cricket World ~ something on Clive Lloyd and .. .. Greenidge (3) !!!

This day (June 21) – 45 years ago ! culmination of the First World Cup – Prudential World Cup 1975 – a tense finals.  WI put in  by Ian Chappell were   in a spot of bother at 50 for 3, big Bertha strolled to the middle. A hooked six off Dennis Lillee set the tone as Clive  Lloyd careened to an 82-ball hundred -   led his team to 291 from their 60 overs. Australia were well placed in the chase, but a solid top-order foundation was undermined by three run-outs, each involving a young Viv Richards.   At 233 for 9, the result seemed confirmed, only for Lillee and Jeff Thomson to cobble together 41 for the last wicket, before the fifth run-out of the innings sparked a jubilant pitch invasion from the heavily Caribbean crowd.

Lesser known facts of that tall 6.4” stooped shoulders, thick glasses, large moustached man are : he is related to Lance Gibbs who was the first spinner to 300 wickets club and that he debuted in Mumbai in Dec 1966.  Reportedly his eyes were damaged when he was 12 in a fisticuff in school.   Clive Hubert Lloyd, born in Georgetown in 1944 became a big name and more importantly was instrumental in West Indies rule the Cricket World with opponents mortally  fearing them.  In 110 Tests he made 7515 runs and another 1977 runs in 87 one dayers.  During his tenure as captain he handed white-washes and blanked their opponents.

When West Indies came to England in 1976, they had won the WC but had been thrashed downunder, yet England realized  that Clive Lloyd's team would go on to dominate World cricket for a good decade or two.   Perhaps life was simple for the Captain who had Andy Roberts, Michael Holding, Collin Croft, Joel Garner, Malcolm Marshall and any fringe bowler of their team would walk into most other teams as prime bowler – added to this was the openers – Gordon Greenidge & Desmond Haynes, followed by Allwyn Kalicharan, Viv Richards, Clive himself (4 world class fierce pacers; 5 batsman + wicketkeeper Derryck Murray (Jeff Dujon) + someone like Larry Gomes) – you will have to search for combinations to beat them.   Gordon Greenidge made his debut in Nov 1974 at Bengaluru scoring well in his first test which WI won by 267 runs.  In the next test at Delhi, when Venkatraghavan was the captain, Viv Richards  who too had debuted at Bangalore, flourished.

Greenidge could be the murderer of bowling !  in the World cup there was Roy Fredericks (remember him hooking for a 6 and treading on to the wicket).  Whey Roy retired,  there was sort of a PR war among the islands of the Caribbean. Each had its candidate to replace the punchy left-hander - a veteran of 59 Tests, for 17 of which over the last three-and-a-half years he'd been partnered by a strong young strokemaker called Cuthbert Gordon Greenidge - as opening batsman for the West Indies. Picked to open in the West Indies' first post-Fredericks international in 1978 - an ODI against Australia in Antigua - the 22-year-old Haynes made a compelling claim for the spot.  Together they made a great pair amassing runs.  Greenidge retired in 1991, Haynes carried on until 1994 in international cricket, finally packing up in 1997. Since then they've made livings in the usual ways: some coaching (Haynes the more regular of the two), tour hosting, playing in exhibition matches, after-dinner speaking: generally being a professional ex-player, trading on their names, making back some of the money they didn't earn while playing for the best team in the world.

When Alvin Kallicharran led a depleted team to India in 1978 – there was another Greenidge - Alvin Greenidge,  a tall opening batsman for Barbados.   He scored a half-century on his debut in the third Test at Georgetown, and another in fourth Test at Port-of-Spain. He was picked for the tour of India in 1978-79 but struggled for form, and when the Packer rebels returned he was discarded. He had one more glimpse of the big time in 1980 when he was summoned from Holland - where he played club cricket - to field for the injury-hit West Indies at The Oval. Greenidge continued to score prolifically for Barbados without ever coming close to selection again, and his career ended when he toured South Africa with a rebel West Indies side in 1982-83.  Remember that he played in the Pongal test in 1979 when Vishy scored a century and India won by 3 wickets.

B u t, the end of the great Captain was different – in the 5th Test at Sydney in Dec 1984 – leggie Bob Holland and a little known left arm spinner Murray Bennet spun WI to a defeat – that was his last test.  Months later, in the Semis of  Benson & Hedges WC at Melbourne on 6.3.1985 – the formidable West Indies were bowled out for 159 with part time bowler Mudassar Nazar taking 5 wickets.  Thus he lost his last match as Captain !

Most regular followers of WI fortunes also may not know that there was another Greenidge.   Geoffrey Alan Greenidge was another stylish opener.  He debuted against New Zealand at Georgetown in Apr 1972 – his co-debutants were Alvin Kalicharran and Tony Howard.  Howard played in that test only.  Geoff Greenidge played 2 tests against Kiwis and 3 against Australia, scored 209 runs in all with 50 as highest.  He was a leg spinner too and  continued to play with success for Barbados and, between 1968 and 1975, with mixed fortunes for Sussex. In 1976 he was at the centre of a massive row when the Guyanese government cancelled the Shell Shield match with Barbados because Greenidge had visited Rhodesia with an international side the previous winter. Barbados refused to back down and returned home. He was the last white player to be picked for West Indies.

Interesting !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

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