On This Day – 22 November

Today’s On This Day takes us back 42 years and again we are in India, at Bangalore.

The great stars of the game always have to debut, you always have to have a first test, but it must be exceedingly rare that two of the all-time greats debuted on the same day. In the 1st Test of their tour of India, the West Indies awarded debuts to Cuthbert Gordon Greenidge and Isaac Vivian Alexander Richards. Their careers would span over 15 years, they would be integral to taking West Indies to the top of the world and keeping them there, and they would provide us with many memories. If a cricketer is ever as iconic as Viv in my watching days (keep your Sachins, Viv defined “aura”) then I can’t wait to see him. Gordon Greenidge seemed to miss out on the plaudits, but anyone who saw his 214 not out at Lord’s on the final day of the match to win a famous victory in 1984 should have no doubt. He was the opener of his generation (along with Gavaskar, I suppose).

Greenidge had the more auspicious Day 1. He made 93 before being run out. His dismissal brought Viv to the crease, who hit a boundary and then got out to Chandrasekhar (who would also get him in the second innings).  Greenidge would make a century in his second innings to help set up a massive win for the West Indies by 267 runs.

Opening the attack, Abid Ali and Solkar were quite unable to harness the pitch’s favours. Moreover, Greenidge who made 93 in his maiden Test innings, was twice let off before he had made 15.

He and Kallicharran, who came together at 38, when Fredericks retired with a sprained ankle, put on 139 in just over even time. Even this partnership was ended with a run out and so it was not until the last hour of the day, when Richards holed out at mid-off, that India’s bowlers at last struck a blow.


22 November saw the introduction of two cricketing legends, two childhood behemoths, two massive influences on my cricket watching. I never got to see either in the flesh (though I did see Gordon at Dublin Airport when he was the coach of Bangladesh). I got to see plenty on TV, either county or international cricket. That day in Bangalore is one of the most significant in cricket lore. Two stars on the ascendant.

As a postscript, also making his debut that day was Hemant Kanitkar for the home team. He would last just two matches, batting at three in his first innings and making 65, he followed it up with three low scores and was never seen at international level again. Poor Hemant died last year. Being an international cricketer should never mean you are a footnote, but I’m not sure I’d mind being a footnote to those two.


9 thoughts on “On This Day – 22 November

  1. Rooto Nov 22, 2016 / 10:28 am

    Thanks for this. I’m a big fan of Cuthbert. Well, I am now. I probably hated every crucial innings when I was a kid!


    • quebecer Nov 23, 2016 / 2:24 am

      My Mum actually came and got me from school (I wasn’t expecting her – she just turned up) and we drove to Lords for that game in 1984 in her mini. As mad an England fan as any kid could be, I watched Greenidge in awe – and loved every majestic minute. It was incredible. There was never any doubt about anything he did that day. Oddly, he seemed to score the clear majority of his runs batting at the Nursery End – presumably because our quicks preferred the Pavilion, and Greenidge preferred our quicks.

      My Mum passed away some years ago and I don’t think I ever thanked her properly. Thanks Mum.


  2. SimonH Nov 22, 2016 / 10:57 am

    Some film (with the usual eccentric editing) of the 3rd Test of that series:

    India won that game on the back of a Viswanath century.

    I saw Viv in the flesh twice. Both times (one-day games at Portsmouth and Hove) he made 20-odd, looked a million dollars and got out. At the time, I was delighted. Now, not so much.


    • Benny Nov 22, 2016 / 7:12 pm

      I saw Viv at Hove in a 3 dayer for Somerset. He scored a century before lunch and went on to a double. He was smacking Jon Snow off a length for six. I was extremely delighted.


  3. alan Nov 22, 2016 / 2:24 pm

    I remember following that series, via newspapers and magazines in those days. I was delighted with Gordon Greenidge’s success and then when Viv made a hundred later in the series. I’d seen them both on tv in one day games and was already an admirer. Greenidge had formed one of the great county opening pairs with Barry Richards but oddly he’d had a fairly quiet season in 1974 before he was picked for this tour. At the same time we were getting stuffed in Australia making painful listening in the early hours. I had high hopes that West Indies would give them a taste of their own medicine the following winter. Sadly it was not to be.
    Enjoying reading these pieces Dmitri. They almost make me feel young again!


  4. man in a barrel Nov 22, 2016 / 2:35 pm

    The openers of my generation included Lawry, Boycott and Edrich. I’d rather have Gavaskar, Greenidge and Barry Richards, and Glenn Turner (once he realised that playing strokes was not forbidden). Richards was like a man among boys in County cricket. Sadly we will never know whether he would have delivered in Tests. Has there ever been a book about the Rest of the World matches? I saw Pollock and Sobers score centuries together at the Oval but Richards never got going during that series. It would be great to read some proper analysis.


    • alan Nov 22, 2016 / 3:53 pm

      I don’t think there was a book about that rest of the world series. Wisden didn’t include one in their book reviews. I had a spell of collecting tour books old and new in the late sixties. It’s fair to say the literary quality is variable!
      Hampshire had an very good opener before Richards and Greenidge in Roy Marshall who was actually West Indian but had qualified by residence, as oversea players had to before 1968. He was more in their mould than the Boycott Edrich one.


      • man in a barrel Nov 22, 2016 / 4:16 pm

        I saw Roy Marshall towards the end of his career – still smashing the ball to all parts. He was a stodgy and cautious captain – in the mould of Cook – but he batted like a pirate – not so much like Cook. There were not too many openers like him in the English game though – Milburn, Bob Barber, Dickie Dodds were about the only ones I can recall.


  5. alan Nov 22, 2016 / 10:35 pm

    No I can’t think of anyone to add to those three. Dodds heyday was before I started following cricket but I certainly remember the other two. Barber had that one great innings in Australia on the 65/66 tour and I was lucky enough to see Colin Milburn get 80 or so against the Aussies at Lords. Such a shame that his career was effectively ended by an accident not long afterwards


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