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One of the most feared opening combinations and three other aggressive opening batsmen make up this enviable list
June 14, 2010
In the early days of West Indies cricket, good opening batsmen were few and far between. In fact, as it was in the middle order, in those days there was one and only one man.
His name was Clifford Roach, he was a Trinidadian, he was a right-hander, and apart from scoring West Indies' first half-century, in their second Test - 50 at Old Trafford in 1928 - he ended up scoring six half-centuries in 16 Test matches, including the first century and the first double-century by a West Indian.
However, after the watershed series of 1950, when the West Indies won away from home for the first time with a 3-1 victory over England, things changed immensely, to the point where the pioneer is not numbered among the top West Indies openers off all time.
In that memorable series of 1950, West Indies produced a pair of openers: the stylish and attractive Jeffrey Stollmeyer and the solid, defensive left-hander Allan Rae. Unfortunately, however, like Roach neither one was considered good enough to make it to this list.
And although it is not as rich as those who batted in the middle order, what a list it is.
Starting with Conrad Hunte, the line-up from which the greatest pair of West Indies openers of all time will be selected includes undoubtedly the best opening partnership in the history of West Indies cricket, and also undoubtedly one of the best in the history of Test cricket: "Greenidge and Haynes" is almost synonymous with facing the new ball.
Individually all five contenders were master batsmen; four of them leading the way: one in the late 1960s, when West Indies were arguably the best in the world, and three others between 1976 and 1995, when the team were champions of the world.
We'll be publishing an all-time West Indies XI based on readers' votes to go with our jury's XI. To pick your openers click here
Former sports editor of the Jamaica Gleaner and the Daily News, Tony Becca has covered West Indies cricket for 30 yearsFeeds: Tony Becca
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