Monday, November 14, 2011

The Profound Meaning Of Larry Gomes To The Game

Ask any cricket fans about Larry Gomes, and more than likely you will be greeted by blank stares. Or if you did get a response, it would be something about his Affro hairstyle, rather than anything to do with his immense cricketing acumen and meaning.

You can understand this by the fact that his career ended near on 25 years ago. Then the West Indian Team that he played in is widely regards as arguably the best Test Team ever. Aptly given the moniker of the Calypso Kings in honour of some of the best players in the games history. Indeed, not only some the best, but without doubt the most charismatic in the showmen they were, and the unparalleled memories that they gave.

Revolutionary in so many ways with most pointing to their feared 4 man pace battery as definition of the term. Which indeed has great validity, but so does their style of batting that was so attack minded ending the glut of draws that were so associated with those days of Test cricket. Instead replacing it with wins a plenty, and inspiration for those that followed in the form that run rates were seen as the key in winning cricket.

The birth of attack minded Test Cricket with the only desire of winning-bah humbug to any thoughts of a draw!

Fans of the game point to the masterful Steve Waugh led Australian's for this advent in the game, but it was consummated 20 odd years earlier through the blazing bats from the Caribbean.

In the success of this, one will logically wax lyrically about the likes of the Master Blaster Viv Richards, Gordon Greenidge, Desmond Haynes, Lawrence Rowe, Clive Lloyd and indeed a whole constellation of other batting stars.

Logically so too, for they were the architects of so many acts of sublime devastation, but lost amongst this is the one that provided such foundation for the 'house of horrors' this cavalier batting line up was for bowling units

In the somewhat nondescript batting style of Larry Gomes as described in this manner

He brought a quiet efficiency, elegance and a seemingly tranquil presence when all around him were far from it.

Words that so tell of the balance that he gave through his style of play, that so assisted in the success. This because of the top order defensive rock he was that was such a perfect foil for the stroke players to be supported by, and duly excel around.

Even in the mental sense with the frustration he provided to the bowlers, for he was like a tick in ones ear that you couldn't scratch out. That bowlers exerted such physical and mental energy on trying to usurp him. Then with how frayed and frazzled he made them, it meant an easier time for his partner, and the ones who followed to be literal shredding machines.

Then in the rare times they failed, Gomes was still there to nudge and noodle respectability with his penchant for long innings that were fuelled by his Zen like mind at the crease.

Priceless value in the Windies era of domination, and a blueprint for the Teams that mimicked the Windies style of play after in attacking winning cricket.

Think of the great Aussies, and sure revel in the maulers such as Hayden, Ponting and Gilchrist, but don't under estimate a Gomes clone in Justin Langer.

The great Indian side symbolised by the Wall Rahul Dravid, South Africa with Jacques Kallis, and even in the recent rise of England. What has been so behind their remarkable ascent?

One right handed version of the great Trinidadian in Jonathan Trott, and in fact two with Alistair Cook opening......

It makes you shake your head in an age so obsessed with run rate as the means for success, but not having an understanding of a defence minded batsmans integral role in creating this blueprint for success.

So embodied by the balance to the Test Team for Pakistan that Azhar Ali has provided in comparison to the humiliation heaped on the Australian Team with its defensive rock in Simon Katich removed from its line up.

Balance provided for Pakistan, and chaos and dysfunction instigated for Australia.

Makes this senile old Irishman wonder why the brains trusts of the respected cricketing Nations cannot see the meaning in the Larry Gomes type batsmen.

As so shown in the success or failure of Teams in the history and present of the game.

PS- And yes I am so very very jealous of his hair!


  1. I agree that there should be a batsman who can graft to be a perfect foil for the attacking batsmen. I saw Larry gomes in the 1983 WC final video. Got to know some info about him from your article; thanks Mr. Tim! :D

  2. "Makes this senile old Irishman wonder why the brains trusts of the respected cricketing Nations cannot see the meaning in the Larry Gomes type batsmen."


    Bcz, they dont have the 'senile old Irishman's brains, knowledge or wisdom!