By Neto Baptiste
“I was wondering why they took so long,” was the response of West Indies and international batting legend Sir Vivian Richards, when asked about the induction of former opening batsman and teammate Desmond Haynes into the International Cricket Council (ICC) Hall of Fame.
The Barbadian, on Sunday, was inducted in cricket’s Hall of Fame alongside another West Indies legend in Sir Learie Constantine.
Speaking on the Good Morning Jojo Sports Show at the time, Sir Viv said Haynes possessed all the qualities of a player who was more than deserving of the latest accolade.
“When I heard the news I was pretty much elated and I was wondering why it took so long really, but at the end of the day it was pretty much welcoming and not just maybe for himself but having captained the individual and played with him on numerous occasions, he’s just a magnificent team person and I am very happy for him,” he said.
Sir Viv added that Haynes came along at a time when West Indies cricket was at its peak which meant he would have had to have been a tremendous talent to not only break into the squad, but to do as well as he did.
The Antiguan said Haynes played his part in not only ensuring the team was successful but also ensured that the bond between players who were gathering from all parts of the Caribbean remained intact.
“People will always say all kinds of things about you didn’t get along with this or you didn’t get along with that person, but with that unit we had, we came from all different islands and, to be fair, when we realised the potential in the team all that little stuff was put aside and you may feel it but when we went out there it wasn’t if you’re from Barbados, Guyana or Antigua and Barbuda, or anything like that, it was we’re representing the people of the region,” he said.
Haynes amassed 7,487 runs at an average of 42 in Tests spanning his 16-year career. He scored 18 centuries to be seventh on the all-time West Indies list of run-scorers.
The batsman was just as destructive in ODIs, scoring 8,648 runs at an average of 41, with 17 centuries to be fourth on the all-time ODI list of Windies run-scorers.
Haynes made his West Indies debut a week after his 22nd birthday, and celebrated with a magnificent 148 against Australia in an ODI in Antigua.
He made his Test debut on that same tour, hitting fifties in his first three innings before scoring his maiden Test hundred against New Zealand two years later.