Gordon Greenidge September 15, 2012

'I had the perfect start to my Test career'

Interview by Jack Wilson
Gordon Greenidge remembers the man who had a huge influence on his life, and also his very attacking batting partner

First cricket bat
When I was very young I had a massive bat made by Stuart Surridge. It had been soaked and soaked in linseed oil for years and it was very heavy. I wasn't the biggest as a young lad, and when I went out to bat I could hardly lift the bloody thing.

First idol
There have been lots of people that I've admired but there's only one person I'd call an idol. That man was John Arlott, and I'm proud to say that he was hugely influential in my life. He was a massive reason I signed for Hampshire and I had a huge amount of respect for him. He was a great man in and out of cricket. I'm lucky that my idol was also my friend.

First century
(Laughs) I've hit a few! I can honestly say I can't remember my first one. It probably came in a youth team cricket with that big Stuart Surridge bat. I've always enjoyed batting ever since I started playing.

First Test match
I was 23 at the time and we were playing against India in Bangalore. A lot was made of the fact that we wouldn't win because India had a quality spin attack and that the pitches would turn yards. It was almost as if the excuses were being made before we'd even played them. We won the game, which was nice, and I scored a second-innings century, which put the icing on the cake. It was the perfect start to my Test career.

First time I batted with Desmond Haynes
When he first came into the team he was a young man who liked to attack everything. He went out there and played his shots and looked like he wanted to hit every ball out the park. I remember on his West Indies debut he got to 50 very quickly and I was impressed when I saw him there. After that he learned to calm it down and he was a dream to bat with. We didn't do too badly together after all, did we?

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Alex on September 19, 2012, 0:01 GMT

    Sehwag at his prime better than CG but now a days sehwag becoming Shaid afridi.. HIT or MISS on everything

  • Dummy4 on September 17, 2012, 23:40 GMT

    He was destructive aggressiveness personified and when he hit it (hard) it stayed hit. After he had retired from the first class game the last time I saw him play was for Lashings CC an invitational XI for ex-test match players and in that match he hit one of the longest and highest straight sixes I've ever seen..at the age of 56!!! He deserves his place amongst the finest ever in his position as 92 first class centuries suggests. There may be current openers with better averages but he is right up there with the best - his overall record more than stacks up against the contemporaries of his time but his defining innings has to be the murderous and brutal 214 * at Lords in 1984.. another knock I was privileged to see. It was and has to remain arguably the greatest individual fourth innings effort by ANY batsman to win ANY game as some of his 29 fours that day were among IMO the most savage and powerful boundaries ever hit.

  • Dummy4 on September 17, 2012, 18:36 GMT

    Sehwag Vs Greenidge? Don't make me laugh. If you saw both of them live, up close & personal as the saying goes, and you know even a little about batsmanship, you will plump for CG, the consummate professional. Sehwag's a swashbuckler who more often than not, gifts his wicket. CG never did that. Sehwag plays a lot more cricket and against more mediocre teams than CG and will wind up surpassing CG's 108 Tests soon. As such, has lots more opportunities to gorge himself on second-rate bowling. CG's average of 44+ would be worth 55-60 today. Sehwag's 50+ should be close to 60 by now, but it's not for the reason stated previously. CG was a great player of spin; Sehwag wants to knock the cover off the ball from ball one. Similar attacking styles, but CG possessed a far better defensive technique. Your complete Test batsman. For me it's CG hands down, no question in my mind. BTW, WI 4-prong of yesteryear would've relish bowling at Sehwag who doesn't like it in the shoulder area.

  • Dummy4 on September 17, 2012, 16:02 GMT

    did anyone remember him hitting kapil dev for 30 runs in an over in sharjah in the80's. i think 3 x4 followed by 3x6. also forget about the onelegged history that's reserved for him only. these guys today get injured without even playing so there is no comparison there.

  • Chetan on September 17, 2012, 15:07 GMT

    Greenidge Vs Sehwag is bad comparison for multiple reasons - 1. They played in different era's. Yes Greenidge maintained a higher average over 108 tests but his tests were spread over a longer period, allowing him to recover / rectify any gaps in his batting Vs Sehwag who plays more regularly, allowing bowlers to exploit those gaps. 2. Greenidge played his local games against the likes of Marshall, Garner, Holding .... for him, facing Lillee, Thompson, Imran & Willis would have been at par, most others would have been a step downwards. Sehwag plays Praveen Kumar / Zaheer Khan in his local games & then, has to play Dale Steyn & Morne Morkel in tests...see the difference between practice & tests ? 3. Greenidge played in an era where all cricketers were free - Sehwag plays when showing your bat to an umpire to indicate that you played the ball can have you penalised for dissent, but hitting an opponent with a Cricket bat OR abusing the umpires by snatching the ball from them is OK

  • Kush on September 17, 2012, 12:46 GMT

    People like Greenidge were what made the WI such a legendary team. Even if you factor out Viv Richards, batsmen like Greenidge, Lloyd and Kallicharan were outstanding who could turn a Test match off their own bat - matchwinners !! And then you had very fine batsmen in Gomes and Haynes who could hold their own in such company.

  • David on September 17, 2012, 12:19 GMT

    I enjoyed this article and found myself agreeing with most of the comments. But I think it's a bit foolish to say that Greenidge was much, much better than someone like Virender Sehwag. Sehwag has gone a little off the boil in the past year, but before then made big runs against terrific bowlers in testing conditions and with the pressure on. Even if batting is easier in the 2000s than 1980s, Sehwag averages 50 to Greenidge's 44. And Greenidge never had to face the likes of Marshall, Garner, Holding, Roberts, Croft, Ambrose etc etc!!

  • Harsh on September 17, 2012, 7:57 GMT

    In the 1980's arguably at times Gordon Greenidge even nosed out Viv Richards.In 1984 he was arguably the best batsman in the world when he scored 2 match-winning double centuries in Engalnd.At his best reminded you of Barry Richards.Amongst the top 10 one day International batsman of all time and arguably amongst the top 6 test match opening batsman of all.He combined solid technique with a penchant for tearing the heart out of bowling attacks.No west Indian batsman arguably ever hit the ball harder.Greenidge literally tore the top of the cricket ball.A certainty in the top 100 cricketers of all and i would place him in the 3rd all time cricket 11 of all time.

  • Dummy4 on September 17, 2012, 5:52 GMT

    Next to the late Conrad Hunte, CG Greenidge is my favorite WI opener. He was your classic professional cricketer who used to take excellent care of his gear and carried himself in similar fashion. He did everything by the proverbial book and seldom veered off course. It was after a day's play against India at Kensington Oval in '83 when he came out to knock up. I was standing nearby and asked if he wanted me to bowl a few at him until his bowler arrived. He replied in the negative and that was that for me. Guess he thought my leggies would put him out of form! He was a savage batsman and superb slip. The square cut and hook were his signature shots. He drove well too.Excellent player of spin. Legend has it then that if he came out to open walking with a limp, bowlers should beware. Greenidge's opening partnerships with fellow Bajan Des Haynes were usually a sight to behold, probably the best of all time.

  • Dummy4 on September 17, 2012, 5:41 GMT

    As a 10 year old I watched his double hundred at Lords to humiliate England; his approach to that innings encapsulated the West Indian attitude towards Test cricket. It was an absolute privilege to be able to see him play in the years that followed.

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