Windies' Highest Impact ODI Players

Sir Vivian Richards dominates West Indies' impact charts.

ODI cricket history through Impact Index - part 2. Click here for Part 1

Continuing in our series of pieces on each country's ODI history, we move here towards West Indies. From 1973 to 2012 (before the current series in England), West Indies played 670 matches and won 347 with a win loss ratio of 1.18. Their highest score is 360, lowest 54. They won the World Cup twice, in 1975 and 1979, and finished as runners-up in 1983.

We present three lists - of players, batsmen and bowlers. The minimum qualification to be on these lists is to have played 75 matches. A match is considered in this system only when there is a result, and if the player has bowled or batted, as the case may be.

Here are the highest impact ODI players in West Indies' history:

Quite unsurprisingly, the majority of this list is packed with players who represented West Indies during its golden era of world domination (1973-1994). Also evident is the gap in the quality between the old warhorses and the relatively new flag bearers of West Indian cricket. It is also interesting to note that only 4 players on this list belong to the current playing generation of the West Indian team.

Viv Richards, unsurprisingly, tops this list. He is pretty much the Bradman of ODI cricket - unparalleled in his achievements. On top of that, he is actually also an all-rounder (his Bowling IMPACT also comfortably crosses 1). His tally of 9 SDs (series or tournament-defining performances) is also the fifth highest in the history of ODI cricket. Interestingly, 6 came purely for his batting, 3 as an all-rounder. Moreover, West Indies never lost a series under his captaincy and as a result he is also the second-highest impact captain for West Indies after Clive Lloyd.

The most surprising name on the list for many is that of Carl Hooper's - number 2 here. Being under the shadow of Brian Lara camouflaged his remarkable impact - his all-round consistency (with a very low failure rate of 29%, given the span of 227 matches), those seemingly innocuous off-breaks, his sharp slip fielding (his Fielding IMPACT is the second-highest amongst West Indians) and reasonably decent Captaincy IMPACT - all adding up to a giant - unsung till now.

All the West Indian bowling greats also make this list at quite a high position, namely Michael Holding, Joel Garner, Curtly Ambrose, Courtney Walsh, Malcolm Marshall and Ian Bishop. If the cut-off is reduced to 50 matches, Andy Roberts makes up the missing block of the famed quartet in this chart. 

Jeff Dujon and Ridley Jacobs are the two wicket-keepers who make this list; surprisingly none of them have a Batting IMPACT of even 1. Nevertheless both of them have 1 SD each - not at all a common thing amongst wicket-keepers (except Adam Gilchrist and MS Dhoni).

These are the highest impact ODI batsmen in West Indies' history:

Perhaps the only big surprise here would be the presence of the West Indian opener Sherwin Campbell right at the end of this list - his relative consistency and singular SD getting him through here.

Viv Richards' superiority as a batsman is quite telling from this list, his Batting IMPACT of 3.12 is almost 26% better than the next batsman on this list. Moreover, he has the highest Batting IMPACT amongst all the batsmen in the history of ODI cricket.  Also, his Strike Rate IMPACT of 0.37 is much higher than Chris Gayle's 0.12 (who is known for his big hitting) which just goes on to show the way Richards revolutionised and dominated the ODI format.  

It is also interesting to note that Brian Lara is not the highest impact West Indian ODI batsman after Viv Richards as many expect him to be, even though Lara got more SDs than Greenidge and Haynes.

Ramnaresh Sarwan making this list ahead of Chris Gayle and Shivnarine Chanderpaul can be attributed to his remarkable consistency (2nd-lowest failure rate), ability to bat under pressure (2nd highest Pressure IMPACT) and success in chases (2nd-highest Chasing IMPACT).

It is also interesting to note that out of the 10 batsmen listed here, 4 of them are genuine all-rounders (Batting and Bowling IMPACT over 1) namely, Viv Richards, Clive Lloyd (though he did not bowl that often), Carl Hooper and Chris Gayle.

The stories that unfold on various batting parameters are revealing.

When it comes to Runs Tally IMPACT (proportion of match runs made through career), the highest impact batsmen are Gordon Greenidge, Vivian Richards and Desmond Haynes.

The highest Strike Rate IMPACT batsmen (highest strike rates relative to all the matches in their careers) are Vivian Richards, Clive Lloyd and Ricardo Powell.

The best Pressure IMPACT batsmen (those who absorbed the most pressure that came about due to fall of wickets) are Clive Lloyd, Ramnaresh Sarwan and Vivian Richards.

The batsmen with the highest Partnership Building IMPACT (who built the most partnerships in the middle) are Vivian Richards, Gordon Greenidge and Desmond Haynes.

The best Chasing IMPACT batsmen (who registered the highest impact while chasing a target) are Vivian Richards, Brian Lara and Ramnaresh Sarwan.

The batsmen with the lowest failure rates (a failure is seen in this system as an inability to register an IMPACT of even 1 in a match) are Gordon Greenidge, Ramnaresh Sarwan and Vivian Richards.

Do not miss the small detail of Vivian Richards being on every single one of these lists.

The Highest Impact Batting Performances in West Indies' ODI history:

1. RL Powell - 124 off 93 v India, Singapore, 1999 - Batting IMPACT 9.51

Chasing 255 in 50 overs in the Coca Cola final against India, West Indies collapsed to 67-4 in the 17th over when Ricardo Powell stepped in and played a whirlwind innings to take West Indies single-handedly to the title.  He scored 68% of his runs in boundaries and decimated a comparatively weak Indian bowling attack.

2. IVA Richards - 138 not out off 157 v England, London, 1979 - Batting IMPACT 9.29

At a stage as big as the 1979 World Cup final, Viv Richards stepped in and rose to the occasion magnificently. Coming in when West Indies were under a bit of pressure at 22-1, he looked at ease and gave the West Indian innings a much needed momentum. However, wickets continued to fall around at him and soon the scorecard read 99-4 when he finally found an able ally in the form of Collis King. Both of them attacked the English bowling disdainfully and helped West Indies to a total of 286. In reply, England could muster up only 194 runs which eventually meant a second consecutive world title for West Indies - till now, their last.

3. BC Lara - 153 off 143 v Pakistan, Sharjah, 1993 - Batting IMPACT 7.93

Chasing 285 against Pakistan in this Champions Trophy final encounter, West Indies needed a good start to ensure that their chase was on course. Brian Lara made sure that he not only gave that start as opener but also continued West Indies' surge towards the championship till the very end. His flaying of the Pakistani attack, (which was a bit weakened by the absence of Aaqib Javed and Wasim Akram) saw him smacking 21 boundaries and by the time he was dismissed, West Indies were only 11 runs short of the target.

The above performances are all within the series/tournament context. The highest impact batting performance within a match context in West Indian ODI history is Vivian Richards' unbeaten knock of 189 off 170 against England in Manchester. Coming in to bat at 11-2, Richards scored 70% of his team's total runs. The highest score in the West Indian innings after him was 26. The entire English team in reply couldn't catch up with him and collapsed for 168. Vivian Richards' unbeaten 119 off 133 v England (Scarborough, 1976) and  his unbeaten 153 off 130 v Australia (Melbourne, 1979) are the next highest impact innings within a match context.

These are the highest impact ODI bowlers in West Indies' history:

As expected, the list is made up of as many as 9 West Indian fast bowlers. The usual suspects for the most part, surely. The only all-rounder and the spinner on this list is Carl Hooper, who remarkably has made it to all the three lists.

Joel Garner and Michael Holding unsurprisingly head this list. The failure rates for both (23 and 26 respectively) are very low and show the exceptional level of consistency in their performances. The West Indian dominance in that period can be gauged by the fact that both of them used to bowl in tandem with the new ball. Their career Bowling IMPACT actually puts both of them amongst the four highest impact bowlers in ODI history.

Note: If we were to reduce minimum qualification for this list to 50 matches instead of 75, Andy Roberts (56 matches, 2.96) would be West Indies' highest impact bowler in its ODI history and the 4th highest impact bowler in ODI history.

These are the highest impact players in all bowling parameters.

When it comes to Top/Middle-order Wickets Tally IMPACT (wickets taken from nos. 1-7 in most cases), the highest impact bowlers are Joel Garner, Ian Bishop and Michael Holding.

Lower-order Wickets Tally IMPACT (batsmen nos. 8-11) - highest impact bowlers are Dwayne Bravo, Michael Holding and Ian Bishop.

The highest Economy IMPACT bowlers (lowest economy rates relative to all the matches in their careers) are Joel Garner, Curtly Ambrose and Michael Holding.

The highest impact Partnership-breaking bowlers are Dwayne Bravo, Chris Gayle and (interestingly) Phil Simmons.

The bowlers with the highest Pressure Building IMPACT (taking quick wickets to put opposition under pressure) are Michael Holding, Mervyn Dillon and Ian Bishop.

The bowlers with the lowest failure rate (a failure is seen in this system as an inability to register an IMPACT of even 1 in a match) are Joel Garner, Michael Holding and Curtly Ambrose.

The Highest Impact Bowling Performances in West Indies' ODI history:

Top 3 Bowling Innings (Series/tournament context):

1. J Garner - 5 for 31 in 10 overs v Australia, Melbourne, 1984 - Bowling IMPACT 6.92

In this third final of the Benson and Hedges World Series Cup, Australia were jolted early by the loss of Kepler Wessels and Allan Border and were tottering at 23-2 due to Garner's fiery brand of pace bowling. When he returned for his next spell, Australia had stabilised themselves to a score of 185-5 but the "Big Bird" KOd them again, as Australia collapsed to 212-8 in 50 overs. In reply, West Indies easily chased down the target with six wickets to spare.

2. MA Holding - 5 for 26 in 10 overs v Australia, Sydney, 1985 - Bowling IMPACT 6.68

If it was Garner who won them the World Championship series in 1983-84, Michael Holding made sure the trophy stayed with the West Indians in the 1984-85 series. In a devastating spell of fast bowling he tore open the Australian middle order. When Holding came in to bowl, Australia were 51-1, when he left they were reeling at 89-7. Needless to say West Indies wrapped up the chase with 7 wickets to spare.

3. BD Julien - 4 for 27 in 12 overs v New Zealand, London, 1975 - Bowling IMPACT 5.96

In this 1975 World Cup semi-final encounter, Bernard Julien crashed through the defences of the New Zealand batsmen who were busy adjusting against the speed and bounce of Andy Roberts. Caught unawares, New Zealand collapsed from a comfortable position of 125-4 to 139-7 and eventually could muster up only 158. In reply West Indies finished off the match with five wickets in hand and secured their passage to the final.  

The above performances are all within the series/tournament context. The highest impact bowling performance within a match context in West Indies' ODI history is Colin Croft's 6-15 v England (St Vincent, 1981). Patrick Patterson's 6-29 v India (Nagpur, 1987) and Winston Davis' 7-51(Best bowling figures in ODI at that time) v Australia (Leeds, 1983) are the next highest impact bowling performances in a match context.

So, these are the highest impact players in West Indies' ODI history, seen through Impact Index. Not surprisingly, the "Fire in Babylon" West Indies much more prominent here than those from later teams.

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