Another record for cricket superstar Lara
December 9, 2005

Another record for cricket superstar Lara

by Earl W. Robinson

At the outbreak of the second world war in 1939 England (243) Australia (172) and South Africa (90) were the forerunners in Test match cricket. West Indies (22), New Zealand (14) and India (7) were the other three nations of six to compete at the highest level. A total of 274 Tests were contested by the time Adolf Hitler (Germany) sent his challenge across Europe. It was the second time such world event suspended play.

At that juncture Walter ‘Wally’ Hammond (England) at age 36 held the record for the most Test runs. In 77 Tests he had totalled 6883 runs. He had broken the world-record held by Sir Jack Hobbs (England) (5410) on the first day of the first Test at Lord’s against New Zealand in 1937.{{more}}

Ironically, Hammond was the last batsman to be dismissed before the war began. He had made 138 against West Indies at the Oval.

Likely he and the cricketing fraternity did not know they would have to wait 6 years and 219 days before Test cricket resumed.

This hiatus did nothing for cricket. George Headley, West Indies most conspicuous and prolific batsman was only 30 when this occurred.

In only 35 innings he scored 2135 runs at 66.71 per innings. His performance had shown the world that there was enormous cricketing talent in this region.

By the time West Indies restarted playing Headley was 38 years of age. Overall he appeared in 22 Tests. He managed only 55 more runs in 3 Tests in the post-war period and was 44 years and 236 days when retirement came. Is it true that life is what you make it?

Since the war six batsmen have received the accolade for recording the most Test runs. Namely, (Lord) Colin Cowdrey (England), deceased, (Sir) Garfield Sobers (WI), Geoffrey Boycott (England), Sunil Gavaskar (India), Allan Border (Australia) and Brian Lara (WI).

Hammond extended his aggregate of runs to 7249 by time he retired at age 43 in 1947. Only 366 were added to his tally in 8 Tests in this period.

Once again it was an English player to replace Hammond at the top of the list. Cowdrey’s score of 28 in the first test at Brisbane against Australia in 1970-71 was enough to make him numero uno.

However, his reign was short-lived (1970-72). New Zealand’s first tour of the Caribbean in 1972 always stands out in my mind. Simply, their tour match against Windwards at Arnos Vale was a historic occasion. It was the first first-class match ever played in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

In West Indies second innings of the third Test at Kensington Oval, Sobers surpassed Cowdrey’s 7459 runs. Sobers held this record until December 1981.

This match has held major significance to Vincentians as well. Michael Findlay top-scored with 44 out of a first innings all-out total of 133.

Sobers carried the mark to 8032 runs at his retirement in 1974. Seven years later Boycott passed this figure in the third Test of the 1981-82 against India. During the course of his first innings 105 at Delhi, the technocrat, in his 107th Tester wrote his name in this section of the record books. The Yorkshire man played one more Test in 1982 and left the scene with a total of 8114 runs.

A new world record was set when Gavaskar reached 83 on his way to 90 in the first innings of the 3rd Test against West Indies at Ahmedabad in 1983.

Four years later the ‘Real Master’ was the first batsman to reach the milestone of 10,000 runs. Yet again Ahmedabad was the venue, Pakistan the opponent.

His retirement co-incided with the fifth and final Test of that series, by then his figures read 106 Tests, 10122 runs and 34 centuries. The last two figures were world records.

Australia versus New Zealand series of 1993 in New Zealand was the next for the title to change hands. Border overtook Gavaskar’s runs in the only innings Australia batted in the first Test at Christchurch.

The next year 1994, to be precise, March 29 Border announced his retirement after a record-breaking career of 156 matches, The Milo OECS Junior Tennis Championships will serve off in St. Vincent and the Grenadines at the National Tennis Centre, Villa from December 12.

Participating Teams include Grenada, Dominica, Antigua, St. Lucia and host St. Vincent and The Grenadines. The tournament will see top juniors, Shane Huggins, Fidel Providence, Lerissa Morris, Roxanne Russell, Daryl Mcleish, Fabrice George, Michelle Gunmunro, Daniella Cupid and others in action.

MILO has been a major sponsor of local tennis for the past 25 years. This is the first year they will sponsor the regional Tournament. The opening ceremony will take place at the National Tennis Centre, at 6 p.m. on Monday.