West Indies-Australia series awards named after Tied Test legends

Colin Croft

November 22, 2000

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In a wonderful gesture to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the first tied Test, played at the Gabba in the 1960/61 West Indies tour of Australia, the Australian Cricket Board has honored four of the living legends of that spectacular game by naming trophies after them. These trophies, named for Sir Garfield Sobers, Alan Davidson, Joe Solomon and Norman O'Neill, will be presented for outstanding performances in the 2000/2001 Ansett Australia Test Series between Australia and the West Indies.

The outstanding batsman, bowler and fieldsman, and the player that produces the outstanding individual performance, will each receive a trophy named for these four of the champions from that game, which opened the 1960/61 series.

A three-man panel, chaired by former Australian captain, Richie Benaud, Australian captain of in 1960/61, and including eminent cricket journalists Mike Coward of Australia and Tony Cozier of the West Indies, will judge the winners.

The trophy for "Batsman of the series" is named after left-handed all-rounder Sir Garfield Sobers. Sir Gary scored a superb 132 in that Brisbane Test of 1960/61, a substantial part of his 430 runs in that series.

Alan Davidson has given his name to the trophy for "Bowler of the series." The left-arm pace bowler from New South Wales had match figures of 11-222 in that first tied Test, and finished the series with 33 wickets, the highest individual aggregate of wickets for either side.

The player judged to be the "Fielder of the series" will be awarded the Joe Solomon Trophy, aptly named after the man who confirmed the tie, and took his name into cricketing folklore, by directly hitting the only stump he could see, when returning the ball from the square-leg boundary, thus effecting the run-out of tail-ender Ian Meckiff.

Norman O'Neill will be the name on the trophy awarded for "The outstanding individual performance of the series." O'Neill made Australia's only century in the 1960/61 series, a brilliant 181 in that tied Test. That score remained the highest score made by any player of the two sides that Australian summer.

Australian Cricket Board Chairman Dennis Rogers announced the awards, the brainchild of the West Indies Cricket Board, at the Mincom Tied Test Reunion Dinner in Brisbane on Tuesday night, 21 November 2000.

Said Mr. Rogers:

"This is a fantastic idea that captures the spirit of the tied Test, and the entire 1960/61 series, one of the best ever played. We are grateful to the West Indies Cricket Board for their thoughtfulness in this regard."

"The fact that the trophies are named after four such outstanding cricketers is a fitting tribute to their superb skills that helped to make the tied Test and the 1960/61 series so memorable."

Said Alan Davidson:

"This is the greatest honor I have ever received in the game and (it) makes me feel very proud, especially when I recall the camaraderie of the time and what the tied Test and the series did for cricket overall."

"People forget that although I took 11 wickets in the game, and scored 44 and 80, Wes Hall scored 50 and 18 and took 9 wickets himself. So, I feel that the award is a joint one for both teams. Also, one of my closest friends since then has been Wes Hall."

Said Sir Garfield:

It is wonderful to have a trophy named after me, and it is a great idea of the West Indies Cricket Board and the Australian Cricket Board to do this. I appreciate it tremendously."

Said Joe Solomon:

"I am very excited to have this trophy named after me, especially for fielding, which is now such a very important part of the game. Hopefully, the direct hits in this present series will come from West Indians!"

The judging panel will convene at the end of the Ansett Australia Test series. The first Test starts on Thursday 23 November 2000 at the Wooloongabba (otherwise known as "The Gabba").

The current series begins with the Australians looking for an 11th consecutive Test match win, which would equal the world record of successive victories. That record is held by the West Indies 1984 team, captained then by Clive Lloyd.

The 1960/61 Test series between Australia and the West Indies ended in a 2-1 victory for Australia. That series, though, led to the creation of the (Sir) Frank Worrell Trophy, named after the captain of the West Indies cricket team of 1960/61. That trophy is still the symbol of supremacy between the two teams to this day.

Australia currently holds the (Sir) Frank Worrell Trophy, having won it in the Caribbean in 1994/5 with a 2-1 series win, retaining it in 1996/7 at home in Australia with a 3-2 victory, then hanging on for a drawn series, 2-2, in the Caribbean in 1998/9.

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