By Keith Holder
Former Barbados and West Indies wicketkeeper/batsman David Murray, who died suddenly last Friday at the age of 72, was unquestionably held in high esteem as a gloveman.
The son of the late, great Barbados and West Indies batsman Sir Everton Weekes, Murray played 19 Test matches between 1978 and 1982. He scored 601 runs including three half-centuries at an average of 21.46 and had 62 victims (57 catches and five stumpings). His highest score was 84 against India at the Wankhede Stadium in Bombay (now Mumbai) in 1978.
Affectionately called “Tuff”, Murray also appeared in 10 One-Day Internationals between 1973 and 1981, taking 16 catches.
In 114 first-class matches after starting his career in 1971 in the Shell Shield Championship, Murray amassed 4503 runs (Ave: 30.84) with seven hundreds and 19 half-centuries. He boasted of 323 dismissals (293 catches and 30 stumpings). His highest score was 206 not out for West Indies against East Zone at Jamshedpur on the 1978/79 tour to India.
Murray played in 49 List A matches, scoring 627 runs (Ave: 24.11) with four half-centuries, and accounted for 71 dismissals (68 catches and three stumpings).
Revered former Barbados and West Indies fast bowler Joel Garner said Murray was the best wicketkeeper he played with and also spoke glowingly of his excellent knowledge of the game.
“David was the best wicketkeeper I played with while representing Barbados and West Indies,” said Garner, who also played in the English County Championship for Somerset and South Australia in the Sheffield Shield.
“In my time I rated two wicketkeepers, David Murray and Derek Taylor, the Somerset player, simply because they never had to dive. Their glove-work and footwork were always together.
“David was an excellent wicketkeeper, who was always in a good position to take the ball. You never had to worry about if he was going to catch it because he was always there. He detected early which direction the ball was going.
“He was also a good batsman. I remember him batting in the Test series against Pakistan when we toured in 1980-81 and (leg-spinner) Abdul Qadir was bowling on a turning pitch and when he bowled the googly, David would pick it and hit him through midwicket and mid-on.
“And in assessing an opposing batsman, David also picked up weaknesses and would get the bowlers to exploit them,” Garner said.
Murray was also a member of the West Indies team on the rebel tour of South Africa in 1983.
His son, Ricky Hoyte, played for Barbados and West Indies ‘A’ as a wicketkeeper/batsman, as well.
Born May 29, 1950, Murray was educated at the now defunct Modern High School. As a teenager, he represented Penrod in the Barbados Cricket League competition.
He also turned out for Texaco in the Intermediate division of the Barbados Cricket Association (BCA) before playing for long-standing top division rivals Empire and Spartan.
The diminutive Murray represented the Barbados Youth team in the Benson & Hedges Tournament in Trinidad in 1969, and was one of four Barbadians – the others were Winslow Ashby, William Bourne and Richard Straker – who were in the first ever West Indies Youth team to tour England in 1970.
Murray also played in the popular Barbados Masters Tournament.
He maintained a keen interest in the game and shared his views with players, administrators and fans.
In an era when Barbados dominated the Shell Shield Championship, Murray played in seven of the island’s champion teams – 1972, 1974, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980 and 1982. Those teams (with matches in brackets):
1972 – David Holford (captain), Keith Boyce, Robin Bynoe, Nolan Clarke, Geoffrey Greenidge, Vanburn Holder, Tony Howard, Peter Lashley, Hallam Moseley, Seymour Nurse (four), Darnley Boxill, David Murray (two).
Points: Barbados 38 (three wins), Guyana 26, Jamaica 18, Trinidad & Tobago 16, Combined Islands 14.
1974 – David Holford (captain), Gordon Greenidge, Vanburn Holder, Collis King, Peter Lashley, David Murray, Albert Padmore (four), Gregory Armstrong, Nolan Clarke, Geoffrey Greenidge (three) Keith Boyce, Tony Howard, Garfield Sobers (2), Stephen Hinkson (one).
Points: Barbados 32 (two wins), Trinidad & Tobago 26, Jamaica 24, Guyana 20, Combined Islands 14.
1977 – David Holford (captain), Stephen Farmer, Joel Garner, Gordon Greenidge, Vanburn Holder, Collis King, David Murray, Albert Padmore (four), Nolan Clarke, Desmond Haynes, Emmerson Trotman (three), Wayne Daniel, Joseph Newton, Ricky Skeete (one).
Points: Barbados 36 (three wins), Combined Islands 24, Trinidad & Tobago 24, Jamaica 6, Guyana 0.
1978 – Vanburn Holder (captain), Sylvester Clarke, Teddy Foster, Alvin Greenidge, Desmond Haynes, Lawrence Maxwell, David Murray, Ricky Skeete, Richard Straker (four), Gregory Armstrong, Emmerson Trotman (three), Malcolm Marshall, Leslie Reifer (one).
Points: Barbados 24 (one win), Combined Islands 18, Jamaica 18, Trinidad & Tobago 16, Guyana 12.
1979 – David Holford, Lawrence Maxwell (captains) (two matches each), Sylvester Clarke, Alvin Greenidge, Nigel Johnson, Malcolm Marshall, Thelston Payne (four), Clyde Beckles, Richard Straker (three), Teddy Foster, Joel Garner, Desmond Haynes, David Murray (two), Hartley Alleyne, Hubert “Ellis” Brathwaite, Wayne Daniel, Gordon Greenidge, Collis King, Albert Padmore (one).
Points: Barbados 30 (two wins), Trinidad & Tobago 24, Combined Islands 20, Jamaica 10, Guyana 0.
1980 – Albert Padmore (captain), Sylvester Clarke, Desmond Haynes, Collis King, Malcolm Marshall, Thelston Payne (four), Wayne Daniel, Alvin Greenidge, Emmerson Trotman (three), Carlisle Best, Teddy Foster, Joel Garner, David Murray, Ricky Skeete (two), George Reifer (one).
Points: Barbados 102 (four wins), Combined Islands 68, Trinidad & Tobago 64, Guyana 41, Jamaica 28.
1982 – Albert Padmore (captain), Alvin Greenidge, Desmond Haynes, Collis King, Ezra Moseley (five), Sylvester Clarke, Joel Garner, Gordon Greenidge, David Murray, Leslie Reifer, Franklyn Stephenson, Emmerson Trotman (three), Carlisle Best, Wayne Daniel, Ricky Skeete (two), George Linton, Thelston Payne, George Reifer (one).
Points: Barbados 57 (three wins), Windward Islands 52, Jamaica 36, Guyana 25, Leeward Islands 24, Trinidad & Tobago 20.
Keith Holder is a veteran, award-winning freelance sports journalist, who has been covering local, regional and International cricket since 1980 as a writer and commentator. He has compiled statistics on the Barbados Cricket Association (BCA) Division 1 (rebranded Elite in 2012) Championship for four decades and provides statistics and stories for the BCA website (www.barbadoscricket.org). Email: [email protected]