Rohan Bholalall Kanhai
December 26, 1935, Port Mourant, Berbice, British Guiana
Right hand bat
Right arm medium
Throughout Rohan Kanhai's career, whether at county or Test level, he was in the midst of great players, and it speaks volumes for his own ability that he sparkled as brightly as the gems around him. Consider some of the illustrious names in the West Indies side in the 22-year-old's first Test in 1957 against England at Edgbaston: Sonny Ramadhin, Clyde Walcott, Everton Weekes, Garfield Sobers and Frank Worrell. Ten years later he was playing with Charlie Griffith, Wes Hall and Lance Gibbs. At the end of his Test career he was lining up with Roy Fredericks, Alvin Kallicharran, Clive Lloyd, Vanburn Holder and Andy Roberts. And during his time in England with Warwickshire he was at the heart of an excellent batting line-up: John Jameson, Dennis Amiss, Kallicharran and MJK Smith formed the top five batsman with Kanhai.
For Warwickshire Kanhai scored 1,000 runs in a season on ten occasions, his most prolific year being 1970 when he hit 1,894 at an average of 57.39. He also hit 1,000 runs in a season once in Australia and once while touring India and Pakistan. His highest score for Warwickshire was 253 against Nottinghamshire in 1968 at Trent Bridge. Kanhai and Jameson created a first-class world record with an unbroken stand of 465 for the second wicket for Warwickshire against Gloucestershire at Edgbaston in 1974; Jameson made 240 and Kanhai 213.
Born at Port Mourant on British Guyana, Kanhai played for the country from 1954-55 until 1973-74. In his early days he was a wicketkeeper as well as a pugnacious middle-order batsman; indeed, in his first three Tests he kept wicket before Franz Alexander took over behind the stumps. Kanhai deputised as keeper on several other occasions.
But it was his batting which West Indies came to rely on for more than 16 years. He didn't score a century until his 13th Test but it was worth waiting for; he smashed 256 runs off the Indian attack at Calcutta. There were centuries too for Sobers and Basil Butcher as West Indies crushed their hosts by an innings and 336 runs. Kanhai followed this with 99 in the next Test as West Indies went on to win the series 3-0. Another double century followed on the same overseas tour, this time in Lahore as West Indies beat Pakistan by an innings. In all he hit 15 Test centuries, averaging 47.53 in Test matches.
Kanhai was appointed captain of the West Indies for the home series against Australia in 1972-73. West Indies lost the five-Test series 2-0 but he retained the captaincy for the tour to England the following summer. This time he enjoyed success, winning the three-Test series 2-0, although the following winter he only managed to draw the five-Test home series against England 1-1. Unhappy with his own form, he retired from Test cricket after that series.
One-day cricket was in its infancy as Kanhai's career drew to a close,
and he only played in seven ODIs. However, he went out on a high, appearing in the first World Cup Final at Lord's in 1975 against Australia. He scored 55 in putting on a vital 149 with Clive Lloyd for the fourth wicket after West Indies had been struggling at 50 for 3. The West Indies went on to win by 17 runs.
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