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Welcome back Greenidge and Haynes

by Tony Cozier /WEEKEND NATION

27 March

FOR the thousands of West Indians at Kensington Oval and in front of their television sets, it will be an occasion to glory in an unforgettable past.

For the 11 Englishmen on the field, their match against the UWI Vice-Chancellor's XI today is strictly preparation for the immediate future of their series of five One-Day Internationals against the West Indies.

The central figures of what has now become an annual fixture against touring teams are Gordon Greenidge, Desmond Haynes and Jeffrey Dujon, whose celebrated careers coincided with the golden era of West Indies cricket in the 1980s.

For 13 years and 89 Tests, Greenidge and Haynes strode out together 148 times to lay the foundation of the innings.

For ten years and 81 Tests, Jeffrey Dujon kept wicket athletically to the formidable quartet of fast bowlers and gathered runs consistently and elegantly.

Between them, they played 536 one-day internationals in which no one has ever scored as many hundreds as Haynes' 17.

Greenidge and Haynes shared four partnerships of over 200, inevitably the West Indies' record of 298 among them, and 12 more in three figures.

None of the other great pairs of Test history shared more than 62 innings together.

It was a phenomenal record for which they will be duly honoured during play, today.

Fittingly, the former annexe to the Three Ws Stand will be officially named the Greenidge and Haynes Stand. They will thus be alongside the structure dedicated to another combination of great Barbadian and West Indian batsmen, the unparalled triumvirate of Frank Worrell, Everton Weekes and Clyde Walcott.

Greenidge is now 46, Haynes 43, Dujon 41.

Still involved in the day-to-day business of cricket as coaches, Greenidge in Bangladesh, Haynes in England, Dujon in Jamaica, they have kept themselves in remarkable physical shape.

The last time Greenidge and Haynes started the West Indies innings together, it was against England and they added 137, even if it was merely in the Masters' final in Sharjah two years ago.

It may be unrealistic to expect a repeat but a final look at what made them so individually outstanding and compatible, will be pleasure enough.

Before the start, they have to sort out one issue that has troubled Haynes for some time.

For all those many beginnings together - for the West Indies in Tests, one-day Internationals and even in the Masters Greenidge always took the first ball. Now, Haynes has stated strongly and publicly, it should finally be his turn.

Greenidge has not openly responded to the plea. Their last stand together could well be with them both rooted in the same crease.

There is contact with the present.

Brian Lara, the present West Indies captain who started his Test career under Haynes' leadership in Pakistan in 1991, is also skippering the Vice-Chancellor's team that includes Franklyn Rose and Mervyn Dillon, the West Indies Under-19 captain Sylvester Joseph and the Leeward Islands all-rounder Carl Tuckett.

There are three overseas guests - Philip deFreitas, the former England all-rounder who was born in Dominica, the young black South African all-rounder Victor Mpitsang and Bangladesh's best batsmen, Mohammed Sanwar Hossain.

They should provide a good workout for England's specially selected One-Day team that is led by Adam Hollioake, following the resignation of appointed captain Michael Atherton.

Source: The Barbados Nation
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Date-stamped : 27 Mar1998 - 22:30