Friday, January 13

George Alphonso Headley (1909-1983) Test Cap No:17

Full name George Alphonso Headley
Born May 30, 1909, Colon, Panama
Died November 30, 1983, Meadowbridge, Kingston, Jamaica (aged 74 years 184 days)
Major teams West Indies, Jamaica
Batting style Right-hand bat
Bowling style Legbreak
In a nutshell "The black Bradman", George Headley was unstoppable at every level of the game, making runs with a style and brilliance few have ever matched, and setting the standards for generations of West Indian players to follow.

George Alphonso Headley played 22 Test matches, mostly before the Second World War. Considered one of the best batsmen to play for West Indies and one of the greatest cricketers of all time, Headley also represented Jamaica and played professional club cricket in England. West Indies had a weak cricket team through most of Headley's playing career; as their one world-class player, he carried a heavy responsibility and the side depended on his batting. He batted at number three, scoring 2,190 runs in Tests at an average of 60.83, and 9,921 runs in all first-class matches at an average of 69.86. He was chosen as one of the Wisden Cricketers of the Year in 1933.
Aplogies for the blurred photo of George but TM has found it hard to find anything but a very small photograph of his stance. Note the way the bat faces inwards which means that the hands are further around the back of the bat with the thumbs of their bottom hands facing in the same direction as the face.
© Wisden Cricket Monthly

Headley was born in Panama but raised in Jamaica where he quickly established a cricketing reputation as a batsman. He soon gained his place in the Jamaican cricket team, and narrowly missed selection for the West Indies tour of England in 1928. He made his Test debut in 1930, against England in Barbados, and was instantly successful. Further successes followed in series against Australia and in three more against England, as Headley dominated the West Indian batting of the period. Following his tour of England in 1933, Headley signed as a professional at Haslingden in the Lancashire League, where he played until the outbreak of war in 1939.

The war interrupted Headley's career; although he returned to Tests in 1948 he was hampered by injuries and did not achieve his previous levels of success. Even so, he was chosen as West Indies captain in 1948 against England, the first black player to be appointed to the position, although a combination of injuries and politics meant he only led his team for one Test match. He did not play Tests between 1949 and 1953, but resumed his career in English league cricket, first in Lancashire and later in the Birmingham League. His playing career ended in 1954 on his return to Jamaica, after a public subscription paid his fare from England. After retiring as a player, Headley was employed as a cricket coach by the Jamaican government until 1962. He lived until 1983; his son Ron and his grandson Dean each played Test match cricket, for West Indies and England respectively.

Headley was born in Colón, Panama on 30 May 1909, the son of DeCourcy Headley and Irene Roberts. Neither of Headley's parents was from Panama; his father was from Barbados and his mother from Jamaica, but they had moved to Panama while DeCourcey worked on the construction of the Panama Canal. By the time Headley was five years old the Canal was complete, and the family moved to Cuba in search of further employment. In 1919, concerned by the amount of Spanish being spoken by her son, Headley's mother took him to Jamaica so he could be educated in an English-speaking school.

Francis Ignatius de Caires (1909-1959) Test Cap No:16

Full name Francis Ignatius de Caires
Born May 12, 1909, British Guiana
Died February 2, 1959, British Guiana (aged 49 years 266 days)
Major teams West Indies, British Guiana
Batting style Right-hand bat
Bowling style Right-arm bowler

Frank de Caires was a right-hand middle-order batsman who made 80 and 70 in the first Test played in the Caribbean, when England were the visitors to Barbados in 1929-30. de Caires only played three Tests, though, the last of them in Jamaica in the same series. He toured Australia later that year but didn't play in any of the Tests. Francis Ignatius (Frank) de Caires - A sound right-handed batsman, Frank de Caires was born in Guyana on May 12, 1909 and died there on February 2, 1959, aged 49. His career spanned the years from 1929 to 1938 although in truth, after February 1931 his appearances became more and more sporadic.

Claude Vibart Wight (1902-1969) Test Cap No:15

© Robert Nunes
Full name Claude Vibart Wight
Born July 28, 1902, Georgetown, Demerara, British Guiana
Died October 4, 1969, Kingston, Georgetown, Demerara, Guyana (aged 67 years 68 days)
Major teams West Indies, British Guiana
Batting style Right-hand bat
Bowling style Right-arm bowler

Claude Vibart Wight - A senior relative of at least nine other cricket-playing family members, Vibart Wight was born in Georgetown, British Guiana on July 28, 1902 and died in Kingston, Georgetown, Guyana on October 4, 1969, aged 67. He was a useful middle-order batsman and an occasional bowler whose first-class career spanned the years 1925 to 1938.

Edward Lawson Bartlett (1906-1976) Test Cap No:14

© The Cricketer International
Full name Edward Lawson Bartlett
Born March 10, 1906, Flint Hall, St Michael, Barbados
Died December 21, 1976, Bayville, St Michael, Barbados (aged 70 years 286 days)
Major teams West Indies, Barbados
Batting style Right-hand bat

Edward Lawson Bartlett was a member of the West Indies sides to England in 1928 and Australia in 1930. His record in England, 584 runs with an average of 24.33, looks nothing much, but he was perhaps a trifle unlucky. Early in July he had just run into form with a glorious 109 against Nottinghamshire and one or two more successes then might have given him the confidence which was all he lacked to be a great batsman. Instead he broke a finger, missed several matches and failed to recover his form.His tour to Australia was a failure except for a beautiful innings of 84 out of 114 in the first innings of the first Test and after this tour he dropped out of the West Indies side. A very small man, he was quick on his feet, a powerful driver and a good cutter, whether square or late. Indeed he had strokes all round the wicket and, when he was making runs, his potentialities were obvious. It was sad that he could so seldom do justice to them.

Test debut England v West Indies at The Oval, Aug 11-14, 1928
Last Test Australia v West Indies at Sydney, Feb 27-Mar 4, 1931
First-class span 1923-1939