Cricketers pick their favourites

'The quicker you bowled, the harder he hit'

Part seven: Ian Chappell on the best centuries he has watched. This time: Roy Fredericks' blitzkrieg in Perth (00:00)

Producer: Ranjit Shinde

August 28, 2012


Roy Fredericks, 169 v Australia, Perth

'The quicker you bowled, the harder he hit'

August 28, 2012

Roy Fredericks scores a century at Lord's, England v West Indies, Lords, 2nd Test, 22 June, 1976
Fredericks: went on the rampage in Perth, 1975 Hulton/Archive / © Getty Images

Roy Fredericks
169 v Australia, Perth, 1975

West Indies came to Australia in 1975-76. It was the beginnings of the team that went on to dominate the world for, I don't know, 15 years or so. Fortunately for Australia, I don't think they realised how good they were at that point - though they realised not long afterwards. West Indies lost the series 5-1, and that's not a fair comparison of the ability of the two teams.

They came to Perth 1-0 down, after losing badly in Brisbane. Australia got a pretty decent total in Perth, 356 or something like that [329], so we were thinking, we've got a bit of a chance in this game. But we weren't thinking that for long. Roy Fredericks played one of the most unbelievable innings I have ever seen.

I remember talking to Roy early on. He made his debut in Australia in 1968-69. I think it was in the Caribbean in 1972-73, we were sitting around having a drink afterwards, and Roy said to me, "Ian, hundreds don't bother me. I like to get a nice little quick 40. That's what I really enjoy." I wish he had stuck to his words that day, because he got 169 off 145 balls.

We are talking of a Test match, not a one-day game here. He got out and I think West Indies were only about 250 when he got out. It was quite amazing.

The other thing that will always stay in my mind till the day I die… I was at first slip, Greg [Chappell] was at second slip. He was captaining the side. And Roy smashed another one for four, and there was smattering of applause, and I thought, "What's that all about?" I looked over at the board, and I saw 200. I thought, "Jesus, that's come up quick." I looked at the bottom right-hand corner of the WACA scoreboard, where the number of overs are, and it was the 20th over. Okay, they were eight-ball overs, but here we are, in a Test match, and they have scored at ten runs per over. I just said to Greg, "Have you had a look at the number of overs?" And he said, "Mate, I'm not going to. It's all right for you, you're not the captain."

It was an amazing knock. Roy Fredericks, through sort of backward point to about cover, through that area, he used to just delight in smashing balls through that area.

I remember he got hundred in each innings, playing for Guyana, his provincial team, in 1972-73. It's like a bowling green there, the Bourda ground, it's not very big, it's sort of rectangular. I remember I had two third men at one stage for Roy Fredericks. And he still kept hitting fours every other ball. In the end I thought, "I'm wasting one fielder down there", so I tried to put him somewhere else.

Roy Fredericks in that area on the off side, he was amazing. He also had that very flamboyant wrist cock, but that day it just didn't matter where you bowled, Freddo smashed it. He is one of those rare players, I think the quicker they came, the better he liked it. He just loved pace bowling - wasn't such a great player of the spin bowling. But boy, the quicker you bowled, the harder he hit them, and that day in Perth he hit them hard regularly.

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