There are insufficient words to truly describe the level of gratitude former Barbados and West Indies legend Desmond Haynes feels after being inducted into the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Hall of Fame.
The former West Indies batting great said he received the news about his induction a couple of months ago but was told to keep it private until the final announcement. For Haynes what makes this latest achievement so special is the journey from where he came to now being honoured and recognised by his peers as an ICC Hall of Famer.
“The first thing I asked is how does the selection process go and they were saying it is done by people who have already been inducted. So, I thought that was brilliant to be recognised by people who I would have played with and people who appreciated my contribution. A lot of people felt it was long overdue but everything happens in God’s time,” Haynes told Barbados TODAY.
ICC, the world governing body for cricket, broke the news yesterday that the 65-year-old Haynes and late Trinidad and Tobago and West Indies fast-bowling allrounder Sir Learie Constantine were inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Haynes formed one of the most formidable opening partnerships in world cricket with his dearest friend and fellow Barbadian Sir Gordon Greenidge who is also an ICC Hall of Famer.
A former Barbados captain, Haynes played 116 Tests, had an average of 42.30 and registered 7, 487 runs inclusive of 18 centuries. In One-Day International cricket the stroke-maker amassed 8, 648 runs with 17 centuries in 238 matches.
To reach this level of success Haynes said he could not have done it without the support and guidance from those in his Holder’s Hill, St James community. He also thanked his wife Elen, family, friends and West Indian legends such as Sir Garfield Sobers and the late Sir Everton Weekes and Seymour Nurse for assisting him along the way.
It is that help, guidance and support by so many that Haynes believes he made it as far as he did and went on to become one of the most successful batsmen in world cricket. For that very reason, he noted that he wants to share and impart knowledge and advice to anyone who seeks his help.
“To be recognised by the ICC as one of the Hall of Famers, I think this is a great achievement. Also, I came from a little area in Holder’s Hill that everybody was so good to me and they always knew that I was going to make it.
“I can’t thank them enough for the encouragement that they have given me. For all the times we prepared the pitch and practised at St. John the Baptist which is now the Desmond Haynes Oval. I have a lot of people to thank, my wife Elen who has been behind me, my family and friends. I thank them for their support.
“Even though it is a recognition, I am still determined to help as many people as possible. This is a new area and sometimes you are very sceptical of how you reach out to people to offer your help because sometimes they do not take it as well as you would like. But I am willing to help anybody who seeks advice and who wants me to help them. I got a lot of help and I am quite willing to help as many people as possible,” Haynes explained.
He also touched on the importance of mentorship. “I believe that has made me. If there is one thing I can look back and put my finger on why I became a professional cricketer, a member of the West Indies cricket team and successful it would be because I seek knowledge. I used to go and talk to Sir Everton, I used to talk to Sir Garfield Sobers, I used to talk to Seymour Nurse.
“I used to reach out to all those greats who would have done very well and they were fantastic. Some great advice I got from Sir Everton and I used to really and truly make him miserable because every time I was playing at the Oval and he was giving comments, I used to go and ask him. ‘Did you see anything? Is there anything I can do?’
“I remember going to Sir Garfield Sobers and asking him about how to play cricket in England. We always used to bat like Seymour Nurse. So, I would say just going out there and seeking knowledge. Seeking knowledge from the greats because these guys were so good.”
He added: “It is the West Indian way. Sometimes we are asked to bat like an Englishman, we are asked to bat like an Australian, we are asked to bat like Indians but we can only do it the West Indies way. I would say that seeking advice, going out there talking to the past greats and picking their brains, getting to know how they did it and how they were so successful, to me is the way to go.”
Haynes retired in 1997 after an illustrious career and has joined a distinguished list of 19 other West Indian Hall of Famers. He joined fellow Barbadians Sir Garfield Sobers, Sir Wes Hall, Sir Gordon Greenidge, Joel Garner and the deceased Malcolm Marshall, Sir Clyde Walcott, Sir Frank Worrell and Sir Everton Weekes.
Also, other West Indians such as former outstanding captain Sir Clive Lloyd, Rohan Kanhai, Brian Lara, Sir Viv Richards, Sir Curtly Ambrose, Courtney Walsh, Sir Andy Roberts, George Headley, Lance Gibbs, Michael Holding and Sir Learie Constantine are among the Hall of Famers.
Reminiscing on what was possibly the most defining moment of his cricketing career, Haynes said: “I think being involved with such a great bunch of players in that 1980s set-up, I think that’s it to me. Sometimes I get worried about the young cricketers who grow up in an environment where they are not winning a lot of games.
“When I got into the West Indies team, I think we lost just one series and about two or three games in our whole career which is a fantastic achievement. The defining moment would be to be captained by Sir Clive Lloyd in the 1980s with so many great players. People who went on to be Hall of Famers and also the best cricketers in the world.”