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The West Indies side has been blessed down the years with keepers who could bat, and bat well
July 6, 2010
Ever since Karl Nunes, the captain of the team, walked out to bat at No. 4 at Lord's in West Indies' first Test in 1928, their man behind the stumps has usually been not only a wicketkeeper but also a batsman.
On that June day, Nunes scored 37, the team's second-highest score of the innings, and ever since, up until recent times, West Indies wicketkeepers, some of whom have batted up the order, have always contributed to the team's total.
In fact, Errol Hunte, who batted at No. 11 in both innings of his first Test match, moved up to No. 2 in the order in his second Test and chalked up the team's top score of 58 in the first innings and 30 in the second. In 1933, Ivan Barrow, opening the innings, scored West Indies' first century (105 at Old Trafford) in England - a few minutes before George Headley, who went on to score 169 at No. 3. Clyde Walcott, the wicketkeeper who opened the innings in his debut Test in 1948, scored two centuries and two fifties in India in 1948-49 while batting at Nos. 4 and 3, and a memorable 168 not out at Lord's in 1950 to lead West Indies to their first victory in England.
The run-scoring record of West Indies wicketkeepers is underlined by the performances of Clairmonte Depeiaza, who made 122 in his world-record seventh-wicket partnership of 348 with Denis Atkinson against Australia in 1955; Gerry Alexander, who made 60 and 5, 5 and 72, 0 and 108, 63 not out and 87 not out, and 11 and 73 against Australia in 1960-61 with a table-topping average of 60.50, and Jeffrey Dujon with a career tally of 3322 runs with five centuries at 31.94.
It is not surprising that having been weaned on a diet of fast bowling, almost all West Indies wicketkeepers were brilliant against fast bowling.
We'll be publishing an all-time West Indies XI based on readers' votes to go with our jury's XI. To pick your wicketkeeper 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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