Former West Indies batting opening batsman Desmond Haynes reckons batsmen like Chris Gayle and Kieron Pollard are in no way inferior to the big hitters of his generation like Clive Lloyd, Viv Richards and Collis King
Desmond Haynes still wears that gold chain which says Live, Love, Laugh. And he does justice to it not only in life, but while talking about West Indies cricket. He lives in the present and hails the contemporary stars; he loves the way interest levels are on the rise due to T20 cricket; and laughs heartily when asked if he still wears that chain and follows it up by saying, "it’s a great philosophy."
Chris Gayle. Pic/Getty Images
Haynes (59) is now Ambassador for the Barbados Tridents in the Limacol Caribbean Premier League (cpl) which kicks off next month. Haynes is involved in selection, coaching batsmen and mentoring the Kieron Pollard-led team’s young players.
Talking of Pollard, one of the biggest hitters in the game today, Haynes indicated that the Trinidadian and Chris Gayle hit it harder and higher than some of his teammates in the 1970s and 1980s. "We had players like Collis King Clive Lloyd and Viv Richards back in those days. I remember Viv hitting some massive sixes when I played with him. Collis hit some big ones as well, but when one considers those sixes to what is happening now, I think we need to give credit to these guys," he said, adding that the present-day bat sizes shouldn’t come in the way of admiration for the current generation of big hitters.
According to Haynes, the CPL has had a beneficial influence on the game: "It has helped Caribbean cricket as crowds have started to come in. Everybody is interested in T20. It started years ago with the Stanford League. The youngsters in the Caribbean are very keen on the shorter version of the game," he said. He was quick to bust the myth about kids opting for basketball and baseball. "That’s not true. There are a lot of youngsters playing cricket here. In fact, a lot of youngsters are playing the game here more than ever. They have the opportunity to play T20 cricket in the Caribbean, and they have a chance to make a living out of playing cricket.
"This is huge in the Caribbean.
"They can see the benefits of being cricketers with Chris Gayle, Kieron Pollard and Dwayne Smith making a good living from the sport and that is very encouraging for the youngsters," said Haynes.