As a life-long fan of West Indian cricket there are many of players who brought joy to us that we know very little about. Most let their cricket do all the talking, so few wrote memoirs.
Larry Gomes – who played in the 1970s and 1980s – is certainly one such player.
I saw Larry play for the West Indies and regionally for Trinidad and Tobago in Shell Shield where he played with his brother Sheldon. Many of us thought Sheldon would go on to be a West Indies player after he smashed a double century for Trinidad & Tobago away to Jamaica.
Larry was Mr Reliable whenever the West Indian top order had fell away cheaply.
Larry was recently interviewed on the excellent Mason and Guest radio show (Voice of Barbados). What was stunning about the interview for me was this was the first time I had ever heard Larry Gomes speak!
So what did I learn about Larry in the interview:
- At school Larry was a very good sprinter and defeated 2 compatriots who ran for Trinidad & Tobago at the 1976 Olympics.
- Larry was initially an aggressive and attacking batsman in club cricket and had to adapt his game to an anchoring role when he started playing for Trinidad.
- Never hit a six in his career.
- Two of the fastest bowlers he faced were Wayne Daniel and Michael Holding.
- He had agreed a mega contract in New York with Ali Bacher to join the West Indies rebel tour. Said the contract would have set him up for life and the deal included a racehorse. His wife was pregnant at the time and he was not keen on his child being born in apartheid South Africa.
- Believes he was the only West Indian to negotiate an actual contract with Bacher as most of the players who went to South Africa did not have cast-iron agreements.
- While playing for West Indies Larry lived in Toronto, Canada where he still resides.
- Would frustrate Australian teams with his easy going approach when they realised sledging didn’t rattle him. Scored 6 of his 9 test hundreds against the Aussies.
- Said his best test hundred was 123 against India in Trinidad when he came to the crease with the West Indies struggling at 1 run for 3 wickets.
- His favourite ground in the West Indies was Sabina Park, Jamaica and internationally, Adelaide Oval in Australia.
- Gordon Greenidge (214 n.o.) felt he robbed Larry (92 n.o.) of making a hundred in 1984 at Lords. [I too was angry at Gordon at the time]
Interview starts 01:06:20 in the clip below.
April 28th – http://vob929.com/masonandguest/
[Other guests included Jeffrey Dujon, journalists Oral Tracey (Jamaica) & Basil Butcher Jr (Guyana) discuss the Chris Gayle outburst and all-rounder Hayley Matthews.]