The past, present and the future came together, spanning Barbados’ 50 years of Independence that saw excellent cricket performances, when young current outstanding cricketers, and those from as far back as 1966, were Wednesday honoured at a Barbados Cricket Association (BCA) awards ceremony.
West Indies Vice Captain Kraigg Brathwaite and batting all-rounder Roston Chase, representing Barbados’ today, shared the limelight with members of the 1966 team, Sir Garfield Sobers, Charlie Griffith, Arthur Bethell, Rawle Brancker, Robin Bynoe, Peter Lashley, David Holford, David Allan, Richard Edwards, Seymour Nurse, Sir Conrad Hunte, Tony White and Tony Howard when the BCA held a special Christmas function at Kensington Oval in the Presidential Suite this afternoon.
Addressing those in attendance, which included members of the current Barbados Pride franchise home on Christmas holiday, Barbados Cricket Association Chief Executive Officer Noel Lynch said in keeping with this years’ theme A Celebration of Cricketing Excellence, that it was important to recognize and bring the 1966 generation of former greats together with this crop of current cricketers that continues to excel and make Barbados cricket extremely proud.
“First time the four-day regional tournament was sponsored by Shell Guyana Limited was in 1966 and the team led by Sir Garfield Sobers won three of the four matches that they played, the other match was rained out. Sir Garfield led a team of gentlemen who performed excellently on and off the field and these men were the epitome of cricketing excellence and therefore we thought it important to bring them together with the existing Barbados Pride team who are also doing us very proud in the regional series,” said Lynch to a resounding round of applause.
Meanwhile Chairman of the Cricket Franchise of Barbados Conde’ Riley concurred with Lynch saying this current Barbados team have emulated the 1966 squad in many ways. He reminded all present the West Indies team that just concluded a tour of Zimbabwe, had nine Barbadian players similarly to the 1966 unit which also had nine Barbadian players representing West Indies.
In his capacity as head of the Barbados franchise, Riley said, “Members of this young Barbados team are not being selected on the team because they are Barbadians but because they are exceptional young players and over the past three years their performances have been good.”
Speaking of notable performances, he mentioned Chase’s record-breaking performance. In only his second Test against India played at Sabina Park, he scored an unbeaten 137 runs in his second innings of that match and claimed an impressive five wickets for 121 runs with his off-spin. The 24-year-old became the fourth West Indian after Denis Atkinson, O’Neil “Collie” Smith and Sobers to take a five-wicket haul and score a century in the same Test match.
Speaking with local media, Chase said he was humbled to finally wear West Indies colours this year and moving forward into 2017 he intends to put his best foot forward as always.
Meanwhile Kraigg Brathwaite, captain of the Barbados regional four-day squad, also had a fantastic year, achieving an unprecedented feat when he became the first opener and the second player, joining the incomparable Sobers, to finish unbeaten in both innings of a Test. Brathwaite achieved his place in the record books with scores of 142 and 60 in a winning cause for West Indies, in the third and final Test game against Pakistan at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium, October 30 to November 3.
Like Chase, Brathwaite said his aim is to do a lot better next year, saying he is happy about the various acknowledgments he has received in his cricket career thus far.
“It is all about performance for me, I just don’t want to just sit back and relax, I just want to keep pushing and aiming high,” the talented right handed opener said.