Interview with Desmond Haynes

Former West Indian opening batsman, Desmond Haynes brought his long and distinguished first-class career to an end playing for Western Province against Natal at Newlands, Cape Town on 7-10 March 1997.

Haynes was interviewed on the IRC channel #cricket during the third day's play on March 9, where he was assisted by CricInfo's Ros Brodie and Sarah Chesterfield.

Ros: Ok guys, I have Desmond Haynes with me so go ahead and ask some questions!

Deon: Good Afternoon Mr_Haynes, Welcome on #cricket. Question : Vivian Richards, your captain on many occasions and the West Indies has rather strong views on the situation in South Africa, particularly the racial aspect. How do you feel about all of this ??


Have you experience any incidents, such as other WI crickets Franklyn Stephenson, and what do you think/feel about this ?

Haynes: Deon: well I've never had any problems with any racial experiences such as what Franklyn experienced. There is no doubt that obviously there's racism not only here in SA but throughout the world, in places like Aus, Eng, and so forth, but I was lucky not to encounter and racism.

Haynes: About Viv... I personally find it difficult to answer a question concerning Viv's personal comments.

Sajjid: Mr Haynes ...I'm wondering how you compare this Indian team (and captain) with its predecessors that you played against ?

Haynes: sajjid: I don't think this Inbdian team is very strong. They're rebuilding, but knowing the indian cricketer's they've got very strong willpower, and they'll be one big fighting unit.

rogan: Desmond: how frustrating was it being forced to sit out the Aus v WI series in 94/5 as WI struggled with finding a good opening pair. Do you regret that your Test career seems to have ended in such a way?

Haynes: rogan: well yes it was very frustrating. At the time of the Aus WI series in 1994 I was experiencing a lot of problems innfighting to play against the WICBC, and also fighting to save my mum's life from cancer. Unfortunately my mum died the same year. And then I was unable to play against Aus, and that was very frustrating.

Sajjid: Mr. Haynes: How do you rank Tendulkar and Lara ? If you HAD to pick one who would it be and why?

Haynes: I think they are both very good players. Obviously I might be a bit biased towards Lara becuase I've seen a lot more of him, but they are both fantastic cricketers, two young people rated among the best in the world.

Deon: Mr_Haynes : There is speculation that this is going to be your last first class match ever ?? Is this true ??

Haynes: If I get offered a big contract somewhere I can easily come out of retirement :-) But seriously, I am now retired.

Modem: Mr Haynes whom do you think is the best opening bowler currently?

Haynes: Ambrose I think

Ros: One from me... who is the best fast bowler u faced?

Haynes: There are so many, I would think you'd have to talk about Hadlee, Dennis Lillee, and you must take into consideration that I've played against some of the WI people as well: Michael Holding, Malcolm Marshall, Andy Roberts, so i've played against a lot of them.

Deon: If retiring is on your agenda - will you follow conutryman Conrad Huntes steps and take up coaching ??

Haynes: I would love to if the opportunity presents itself.

Dom: desmond: did you see the result of the first test being a true representation of the difference between Australia and South Africa and can you see the result being reversed in either of the final two tests?

Haynes: Dom: on Aus and SA, I think it's all gonna depend on the nature of the wickets that the SA'ns prepare. I dont think they'll ever beat Aus on a turner..

bdread: Hi Desmond: I am a West Indian (Jamaican). What do you think of the current West Indian openers, and what do you think about the frequent changes at the opening slot?

Haynes: I believe that the openers are gonna take some time before they can establish themselves as a Gordon and mjyself. But I believe you should give them some time and employ me to work with them :-) (laughs)

rogan: Desmond: You recently missed the tour game against Australia. Was it your choice to miss that game? Or did the RSA board ask you to rest too? :-) Surely you would have liked one last go at the Aussies?

Haynes: Because the Aus spinners would be very very hard to handle on a turner, they asked me not to play to give some of the young payers the opportunity to play against the tourists

Sajjid: Mr.Haynes: Your prediction on the ongoing test-match (Ind-Wi) and the scoreline for the series?

Haynes: I think WI should beat India in the series. This test.. will be very difficult to get a result out of it

Deon: Mr_Haynes : Not too many cricketers, apart from Ian Botham, are critical of the ICC's role in modern day cricket - Do you think more should be done to promote and foster better developement of cricket in underprivileged countries such as the WI, Kenya etc ??

Haynes: I think we need to cut down on the international program a bit, esp. in the one-day games, and use the present Test cricketers who are on contract by their country to do coaching in development areas in their own country.

Haynes: No-one will buy my book now because I'm telling you everything I'm gonna put it in!

Neera: Haynes: who do think is the current best all-rounder?

Haynes: umm.. I'd say the Waughs....

Sajjid: Mr. Haynes : any comment on India's Dalmiya 's bid for ICC chief and the subsequent imbroglio/fiasco?

Haynes: no comment

bdread: West Indian fielding seems to have declined recently (from the level it was when you Viv, Clive etc played), what do you think ithe problem is and how can this be corrected?

Haynes: I believe that we need to be involved in a lot more fielding exercises and ensure that all cricket grounds are in good condition to do certain fielding exercises.

Deon: Mr_Haynes : Seeing that you have a Test Best Bowling Figures of 1-2 .. dont you think that Western Province have "under-utilised" you ?? *grin*

Haynes: Deon:
Haynes: (looking at his player page on CI)
Haynes: no, I dont think so at all (laughs). I would be very sore.. bowling is v hard work!

Dom: desmond: what are your opinions of the current english team and how do you think they will fair in the upcoming series' against australia and the west indies?

Haynes: I don't know what they're gonna do.. it all depends on the county season coming up. If they're looking for opening batsmen they can get me out of retirement :-)

Sajjid: Thank you Mr. Haynes ..was a pleasure chatting with you ..I will let it be known that you have provided great pleasure to us cricket fans thru your spectacular batting ...

Rick: Who do you think should captain the West Indies once Courtney Walsh retires?

Haynes: Brian Lara. He is the right man for the job.

bdread: Are your current plans to return to the WI, have you and the board reconciled?

Haynes: It's still with the lawyers at the moment. I dont plan to reuturn.. I still have one more year with Sussex.

Deon: Mr_Haynes : The West Indies Cricket Board seem to be seriously entertaining the thought of hosting the Cricket World Cup after the South African Experience, much has been said that the Windies lack the infrastructure etc to host the WC. What do you think about this ??

Haynes: Deon: if we do get the WC it would be good because then we would put the infrastructure into place. But I'd like to see the WC every two years, because it would give other countries the opporunity to host it and improve their financial situation...

bdread: Do you think Brian is ready for captaincy? Recently when asked, Holding was very very emphatic in saying no.

Haynes: I think Lara is ready. At the end of the day, you need someone to lead from the front, and also I figure that Brian is getting to an age where he has a child now, starting to get a lot of responsibility and he also needs the responsibility as captain. He has a very good cricket brain from what I saw in my couple of years of contact with him, and I believe he'll do a fantastic job. What people must understand is that we dont know it all as a 24/5 year-old, and with the right mgmt team in place, you'll learn from your mistakes.

Donald: Haynes: of the bowlers playing fc cricket only in South Africa (ie. non-test players) who has troubled you the most?

Haynes: difficult question. Not many.. The ones I like: Hayward from EP, could be a future SA player. And who of those have the potential to make it at international level? The guy from Boland, Telemachus... Ntini... and Kidwell from Tvl.

Donald: no spinners?

Haynes: I was impressed by Dean MacHelm playing this game here. He's not a youngster, also Henderson from Boland. And Crookes.

Deon: Mr_Haynes : Do you think cricket developement in SA is actually progressing - from what you have seen that is ?

Haynes: I haven't had a chance to see much. I think when you have a B-side, you must look to having some of the players from your academy involved in your B-side regularly

Donald: Haynes: is Eugene Moleon (young WP B pace bowler) ready for A section cricket yet? he has not received much exposure, but from limited reports he sounds promising

Haynes: I still think he needs another year, but he looked very impressive this season.

bdread: If you were to make the decisions. What would they be to move WI cricket back to its rightful place of dominance :-)

Haynes: it's gonna take time. Even though u need to put programs similar to those here in SA, where you start encouraging everyone, tellin the youngsters the money they can make as a cricketer, it's still gonna be difficult. We are in a rebuilding period, it's gonna take a few years before we become a dominant force again, but looking at the international teams around the world, it's gonna be very difficult for one nation to be as dominant as the WI was.

bdread: What is your most memorable cricket experience?

Haynes: Making a hundred at Lords 1980. It's a place I always wanted to play cricket, the mecca of cricket.

vishal: Who was the best opener of your time? (aside from you that is :-))

Haynes: I'd say Sunil Gavaskar

bdread: Who was the best bat of your period?

Ros: Desi wants to know how many people represented the WI in Test cricket. Can anyone find that for us?

Haynes: Also... how many people have played Test cricket for England

rogan: As of 1993 it was 201. 1993 wisden this is

Rick: 210 in wisden 96

rogan: England 556 same source. Must be round 700 by now :-)

Haynes: bdread: best batsman of my period was Viv Richards.. by far... He had something... He had a sway of greatness in his walk.

Donald: Haynes: you and Gordon Greenidge were quite successful, is there anyone else you particularly enjoyed opening the batting with?

Haynes: no! (laughs)

Donald: haha

Haynes: Donald: there was a guy from Middlesex.. Mike Roseberry...

ormbr: Hi Desi, I'm calling from Barbados. How are you man? SO ARE YOU PLAYING ANY MORE CRICKET IN THE ENGLISH SEASON ormbr: How do you compare Viv with lara?

Haynes: I think Viv was a better player than Lara, but its very hard to compare.

dip: Have you ever played against the fast bowler Maynard? He played for Mosely in the Birmingham League in England

Haynes: Maynard's nickname is pitbull, he's my friend. I sponsored him to England a few years ago. He went to Eng on the Desmond Haynes scholarship. I think he's a very good bowler

Haynes: Next?

ormbr: Do you believe that your premature departure from WI cricket is the cause of the continuing difficulty we are having in finding a steady opening pair?

Haynes: I'm not God am I!?!

ormbr: I'm asking your opinion

Haynes: ormbr: I was kidding.... it's gonna take some time to get a steady opening pair. As we said before, WI are in a rebuilding process.

dip: Do you know Anybody from Worcester CCC

Haynes: dip: yes

Haynes: Next? :-)

dip: I have benn coached by Damian Dolleveria The father of Basil dolleveria

Haynes: dip: I know Damian very well.. he's got the best sound system you'll ever find in a motor car in England!

ormbr: What is the status of your legal case against the WI board?

Haynes: ormbr: no comment on that

bdread: What are your next goals?

Haynes: Being a succesful coach, and winning something for Sussex in the next 2 years.

dip: Hi haynes Neera: Haynes: what do u think abt Taylor's recent poor form??...Should he be dropped?

Haynes: Neera: I don't think he should be dropped. He's done a fantastic job for Aus.. he's a very good leader and he's gonna come good.

ormbr: Do you have a desire to return home and do some coaching?

Haynes: It's very difficult for me to say that because I still have another year on my contract at Sussex. If something on a temporary basis comes up, I'll have to look at it.

ormbr: We certainly miss you back here in Barbados.

bdread: Do you think we should have a cricket hall of fame?

Haynes: bdread: in the Carribean? Yes

bdread: We'd certainly put you there :-)

ormbr: Do you believe that a cricket acedemy will help WI cricket?

Haynes: Yeah. Are there plans for a cricket academy in Antigua?

ormbr: and in St Kitts. Won't it stifle our natural ability?

Haynes: ormbr: I don't believe it would stifle our natural ability, no.

bdread: Did you modify your aggresive style of batting when you first came up and why?

Haynes: because I realised that I was the no 2 opening batsman and not the no. 1... If there was someone to be left out it obviously would not be Greenidge because he was the no. 1 opener in the WI and some people thought in the world.

ormbr: How did you manage to become such a competent player of spin bowling?..bearing in mind that you initially had such difficulty with it?

Haynes: Took hours of practicing in the nets, and also playing in England and playing on different types of surfaces.

rishab: Hi Desi, The last Aus-WI series had some incidents involving allegations of sledging from both sides. In your playing days, did you encounter sledging and against which countries ?

Haynes: Australia! (laughs)

rishab: okay, thanks *smile*

bdread: As an opening bat... What do you think of recent changes in the rules about short pitched bowling? Do you think this was done to neuter WI bowlers?

Haynes: I personally don't like it. I think a guy should be allowed to bowl as many short pitched nalls as he likes, but it should be up to the umpire to decide whether it is intimidatory or done to stop the batsman from scoring, because to know that you're gonna get short-pitched balls, it requires a lot of character. To know that the ball could be at your head or down at your knees, if only two are allowed and they are gone, then you know you need to be able to focus on the ball at all times and look for whatever the bowler can bowl at you.

ormbr: Do you believe that Lara should have been made captain against the Indians?

Haynes: ormbr: it would have been a good thing to start your Test career as captain at home. But Courtney has done such a fantastic job in Aus, probably why Lara has been put on hold.

bdread: There is short tour by Sri Lanka next so he could still be at home. Have you seen any of the upcoming prospects in the Caribbean?

Haynes: no... I havent been in the Caribbean for 2 years. I'm going there in two weeks time!

ormbr: Why did Aus sledgiing not have much effect against the WI under Lloyd and Richards captaincy?

Haynes: I guess we were used to it by then!

bdread: Have you heard about Leon Garrick? (19 yr old opening prospect in Ja)

Haynes: bdread: no, I haven't

short-leg: Who do you rate as among the best opening batsmen today ?

Haynes: Gary Kirsten, Mike Atherton...

igloo: It appears under Pat Rousseau's plan for WI cricket, there will be fewer Caribbean cricketers playing professionally in England. Any comments?

Haynes: I'm not too sure how that's gonna work. I think that at some stage some of the youngsters need to play in England for the experience of playing in those conditions. But it would be good for making our local cricket in the Caribbean more competitive if they played there less.

ormbr: what's your opinion on Sherwin Campbell?

Haynes: I think he can play. He'll come good.

bdread: Do you think WI should start using a spinner?

Haynes: bdread: if thre's one good enough. There's this boy Rawl? Lewis. I thought he was useful when I faced him

vishal: Do you think ODIs are eliminating the possibility of more "Gavaskars"?

Haynes: vishal: I don't think so

vishal: I think the spate of low scoring tests and the increase in the ODI schedule is not a coincidence

Haynes: vishal: you got a point there

igloo: Are there any outstanding young wicketkeeper/batsmen set to take over Dujon's role?

Haynes: igloo: as I said, I havent been to the Caribean for two years... I'll tell you in a month after I've been back there :-)

bdread: Any favorite non cricket hobbies?

Haynes: I wouldnt say that golf is a hobby.. it's a serious business for me... 9 handicap, but I'm working on it! Hoping to play on the seniors tour in another 9/10 years (laughs)

Natasha: Desmond : What is your opinion on sledging - it has been a contentious issue during the SA-Ind Series ?

Haynes: Natasha: I don't think it's a good thing, especially if it gets personal... but you need to talk amongst yourselves about your plans about how you're gonna get the batter out... loudly! :-)

Sunny: how old is desmond haynes?

Haynes: Sunny: 41 going on 20

ormbr: On Campbell again....Don't you think he has to greatly improve his footwork?

Haynes: I think the WI has Malcolm and Lloydie there, and I'm sure they'll be trying everything possible to improve Campbell's batting.

Haynes says that WP have been doing so well while he's been here that he wants to hang around a bit longer :-)

Haynes: here on irc that is

Natasha: Desmond, How does your family (wife + children) deal with the fact that you are away from home for so long ?

Haynes: They don't mind...

Natasha: Why did'nt you bring them over to South Africa during your playing career here ?

Haynes: Natasha: I did bring them over here

Natasha: but not to stay surely ?

Haynes says he has to design some batting gloves

Haynes: Gotta find some material that can absorb more of the impact. Obviously Gunn and Moore has the best batting gloves on the market at the moment :-)

igloo: no advertising allowed:)

igloo: Name three batsmen and bowlers who impressed you most in your career...

Haynes: igloo: Viv Richards, Sunil Gavaskar, Ian Chappell. Bowlers: Marshall, Hadlee, and Lillee.

bdread: pretty tough company :-)

Natasha: Desmond, What music do you like ?? ** smile ** sorry for the obscure question :)

Haynes: Natasha: country and western... Charlie Pride.. Dolly Parton.... Obviously reggae, soul.. Teddy Pendergrass

Natasha: Desmond, *wink* thats erm .. quite kewl .. but Country and Western ??

Natasha: Desmond, Arrested Developement ?

igloo: Desmond: WI-South Africa relationships have been so strained over the years. Can you tell me how you experienced the good and bad points of South Africa?

Haynes: I've had similar experiences in most of the countries that I've played cricket, really

rishab: Desi, any particular team against which you felt like giving that something extra ?

Haynes: rishab: in Test cricket, you always want to do well, no matter who you're playing against.

Haynes: Why is Jimmy ADams not playing this Test??

vishal: to preserve his average against India

Haynes: (as Desi launches into another dicussion with Omar Henry as to how to stop bowlers from bowling no-balls)

Ros: Haynes had to go

Ros: WP gotta go field soon

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Date-stamped : 28 Feb1999 - 11:25