Bridgetown, Barbados, December 28 - (www.bcacricket.org) - Outstanding former Barbados and West Indies opening batsman Gordon Greenidge has been knighted in the Queen’s New Year's Honours List.
Greenidge, 68, has been conferred with a Knight Commander of the Order of Saint Michael and Saint George (KCMG) for his exceptional contribution to cricket and the development of sports.
And president of the Barbados Cricket Association (BCA) Conde Riley has been made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for his significant contribution in the field of sports and in particular cricket administration.
“It’s very nice to be recognized in that honour and to that degree. I hope I can live up to the expectations,” said Sir Gordon, who was also a former Barbados and West Indies captain.
“I don’t think it is going to change me none. I am going to be me regardless. I just hope that I can use it in some meaningful way to help develop and promote Barbados as a nation.”
In an international career between 1974 and 1991, Greenidge played 108 Tests and amassed 7558 runs with 19 centuries, at an average of 44.72. He played in 128 ODIs, scoring 5134 runs containing 11 hundreds (ave: 45.03).
With another Barbadian great, Desmond Haynes, Sir Gordon formed what was by a distance the most enduring and prolific opening partnership of them all, with 16 century stands, four of them in excess of 200. And they were just the hors d'oeuvres.
Brooding and massively destructive, the power of Greenidge's strokeplay on any given day appeared to bear a direct relationship to the degree that he limped when running between the wickets. In such a mood he didn't run much anyway and his brutal unbeaten 214 at Lord's in 1984, to set up a nine-wicket win after England had had the temerity to declare, is considered one of the great innings.
Greenidge, who also represented Hampshire in the English County Championship, was a superb technician, who learned solid defensive techniques on the pudding pitches of his childhood in England and then allied them to an uninhibited Caribbean heritage. Attacking was in his genes. Never in the game has there been a more withering and dismissive square-cut, nor a more willing and able hooker and puller, but he drove mightily too on both sides of the wicket.
Greenidge scored two double centuries against England in the 1984 summer Test series. This series was dubbed the "Blackwash” because West Indies won by a margin of 5–0. After the 214 not out in the second innings of the second Test at Lord's as West Indies chased 342 for victory - it remains the highest run chase at Lord’s - he slammed 223 in the fourth Test at Old Trafford.
Sir Gordon became the first player in One Day International (ODI) history to score a century in his 100th ODI when he made 102 not out against Pakistan in 1988. In that game he achieved that milestone as captain, with his century eventually going in vain as West Indies lost that match.
Coaching is also in Sir Gordon’s blood and he became coach of the Bangladeshi national team in 1997. He was also a member of the West Indies selection panel.
Sir Gordon, who was previously honoured with an MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire), is now the eighth Barbadian cricketer, who also played for West Indies, to be knighted.
The others were Sir Frank Worrell, National Hero The Right Excellent Sir Garfield Sobers, Sir Clyde Walcott, Sir Everton Weekes, Sir Conrad Hunte, Sir Wesley Hall and Sir Charles Griffith.
Riley is a retired investment banker and former local club cricketer, who was first elected to the BCA Board of Management 23 years ago. He has been the president since July 2017 and is also a director of Cricket West Indies.
He said he was honoured to receive the accolade, while regretting that his mother, Iris Riley, was not alive to witness it.
“I am humbled, honoured and if there is one regret, it is that I recall that when I became a member of the Barbados Cricket Association back in 1996 my Mum called me and she said to me, ‘I want to speak to you before you go home’ and my mother who was a primary school teacher told me, ‘I don’t want you to be there just for show, I want you to work hard’.
“She passed away in 2012 but I know she is probably smiling now because I would have carried out her instructions because I’ve worked hard,” Riley said.