All-time XI: West Indies July 26, 2010

Eighties stars dominate West Indies all-time XI

Cricinfo staff

Five players from the all-star West Indies sides of the 80s have made it to Cricinfo's West Indies all-time Test XI: Gordon Greenidge, Viv Richards, Curtly Ambrose, Michael Holding and Malcolm Marshall.

Viv Richards was the one unanimous pick from that era. Garry Sobers, considered the world's greatest allrounder, and George Headley, nicknamed the black Bradman, were the other two to get all 10 votes.

Like in the Pakistan all-time XI, there are no current players in the XI, a reflection of the sorry state of two teams that were once world-class.

Greenidge was picked by nine jurors to open the innings, but his partner Desmond Haynes, with whom he made a record 16 century stands missed out; the other opener's spot went to Conrad Hunte, who opened in all of his 44 Tests for West Indies and scored over 3000 runs. Other prominent omissions were the three Ws and Andy Roberts.

Brian Lara made it to the middle order with six votes, while the gloves were given to Jackie Hendriks. Though Jeff Dujon and Clyde Walcott were the better batsmen, Hendriks got the nod over them because of his remarkable skills behind the wicket, including to spinners. And with a middle order that boasts Headley, Richards, Lara and Sobers, the XI can afford to have a pure keeper in the ranks.

The most debated-on position among the readers was that of the spinner: whether West Indies, with its fast-bowling pack, needed one. The jury thought they did, and all but one picked Lance Gibbs, the first spin bowler to take 300 Test wickets, over Sonny Ramadhin and Alf Valentine.

That left three fast-bowling spots, which went to Malcolm Marshall (nine votes), and to Michael Holding and Curtly Ambrose (six votes each).

Barbados, traditionally the powerhouse of Caribbean cricket, accounts for four players in the XI, followed by Jamaica with three.

We invited our readers to pick their XI, and their middle-order, fast-bowling, spinner and allrounder picks matched the jury's. Sobers got close to a unanimous vote for the allrounder's spot, while Gibbs got over 80%. A majority of readers picked the Greenidge-Haynes pair to open the innings, and over 77% voted for Dujon to keep wicket.

The jury included former Test player Jimmy Adams, journalists Tony Becca, Fazeer Mohammed and Garth Wattley, radio commentator Joseph Perreira, cricket historian Hilary Beckles, sports psychologist Rudi Webster, writers Ian McDonald and Frank Birbalsingh and former West Indies media manager Imran Khan.

More about the XI here

The XI: Gordon Greenidge, Conrad Hunte, George Headley, Vivian Richards, Brian Lara, Garry Sobers, Jackie Hendriks, Malcolm Marshall, Michael Holding, Curtly Ambrose, Lance Gibbs.

Readers' XI: Gordon Greenidge, Desmond Haynes, George Headley, Viv Richards, Brian Lara, Garry Sobers, Jeff Dujon, Malcolm Marshall, Michael Holding, Curtly Ambrose, Lance Gibbs.


Openers: Conrad Hunte, Roy Fredericks, Gordon Greenidge, Desmond Haynes, Chris Gayle.

Middle order: George Headley, Everton Weekes, Clyde Walcott, Frank Worrell, Rohan Kanhai, Seymour Nurse, Clive Lloyd, Lawrence Rowe, Alvin Kallicharran, Viv Richards, Richie Richardson, Brian Lara, Shivnarine Chanderpaul.

Allrounders: Learie Constantine, Garry Sobers, Gerry Gomez, Collie Smith.

Wicketkeepers: Clyde Walcott, Jackie Hendriks, Deryck Murray, Jeffrey Dujon.

Fast bowlers: Wes Hall, Charlie Griffith, Andy Roberts, Michael Holding, Colin Croft, Joel Garner, Malcolm Marshall, Courtney Walsh, Curtly Ambrose, Ian Bishop.

Spinners: Alf Valentine, Sonny Ramadhin, Lance Gibbs.