Wesley Hall's hat-trick against Pakistan in 1959 stamped his class
CRICKET: 'Don't toss young players to the one-day game. I have seen
many youngsters suffer'. These words of wisdom were spoken by one of the
greatest fast bowlers of all time Wesley Hall. Born September 12, 1937,
he is 71 years and 323 days old.
Wesley Hall - a hat-trick against Pakistan at Lahore in 1959.
He said that the batsmen are often confused about what they have to
achieve. Even the professionals are not always able to sort out their
priorities" the big man said.
Asked what he thought of the present mix of limited-overs cricket and
Test cricket? Hall said, "It is easy to be dismissive of the limited-overs
stuff but it is clear that it has a role to play in the financing of the
One cannot lose sight of that. But I am sure that the players would
prefer to play the longer game anytime. That is the true test. Today,
however, the one-day matches are vital for the professionals.
They bring in the money. That, however, does not mean the
administration should go overboard. Countries like India and Australia
have gone for one-day cricket - that is a legacy from Kerry Packer,"
Speaking about India, Hall said that India's performances have
suffered because of an overdose of limited-over cricket.
The Indian batsmen play too quickly in Test matches. The batsmen are
often confused about what they have to try to achieve. Even the
professionals are not always able to sort out their priorities out.
Wesley Hall was a Minister in the Government of Barbados. He was in
charge of tourism and sports. It was not easy to match the image of the
politician with that of the cricketer that Wesley Winfield Hall was. He
was the rebel who wanted to bowl as quick as lightning. He was the man
who wanted to enjoy the good things of life.
Hall was also a great fighter and has bowled his heart out in Test
series. He did so against Australia and England under the captaincy of
Frank Worrell, bowling over after over, never giving the batsmen a
chance of taking full control.
Hall's success handed him a contract in Sheffield Shield cricket in
Australia. He won the hearts of all cricket fans there and he has been
doing just that all over the world. We have had Hall - the Entertainer
whether he is bowling, batting or fielding.
It is however in batting that he is the real 'character'. The bat is
like a "Toothpick" in his hand and he plays the ball with little concern
- over style and technique.
But Hall is shrewd as well. He can put his head down and get behind
when necessary. Several times he has come to the rescue of the West
Indians, disguising his intension of staying at the wicket by clowning.
Before the opponents are aware. he has collected his runs and helped to
swell the total.
Then against Pakistan Wesley Hall had a memorable series in the 1959
encounters. One particular venue he will have happy memories is the Test
played at Lahore where he had a hat-trick. The Pakistan batsmen who were
in his hat-trick ring were: Mushtaq Mohammad, Fazal Mohammad and
Altogether Hall played in 48 Tests, had 66 innings with 14 not outs,
scored 818 runs, and in his bowling got him 192 wickets for an average
There was also a memorable series for Hall where India lost all five
Tests in a Caribbean misadventure against Frank Worrell and his
The destroyers were a terrible trio who were to spearhead numerous
West Indian triumphs in the sixties - Wesley Hall 27 wickets at 15.74,
Lance Gibbs 24 wickets at 20.41 and Garfield Sobers 23 wickets at 20.58.
Started as 'keeper'
For a decade Wes Hall terrified batsmen the world over. Muscular and
tall (6ft 2ins) with a classical action, Hall presented a fearsome
sight. A long, lithe approach ended with a fast and well-aimed delivery.
He started his cricket career as a wicketkeeper-batsman but converted to
a bowler when the regular opener for his club side failed to turn up. He
took the new ball, six wickets, and never looked back.
He toured England in 1957 with only one first-class game to his name,
but he struggled for form and with his run-up and looked unimpressive.
Called into the side to tour India and Pakistan in 1958-59, he took 46
wickets in eight Tests, and he was a regular thereafter.
Tearaway thundering in at 85mph has caused panic among the batsmen.
In addition to being fast, Hall has accuracy as well, the technique
which he learned to perfection after a somewhat disappointing debut in
the Tests against England in 1957. On that tour he sacrificed length and
direction for sheer pace - and paid the penalty. From then on he
concentrated on accuracy, together with speed and succeeded much to the
dismay of all batsmen.
He also got a vicious bumper which he got to spring on the
When Hall played at the Colombo Oval, he thrilled the crowd with his
bowling and his happy approach to batting - the approach that has given
him many runs. Hall did not go flat out when he played in Sri Lanka
(Ceylon as we were then called), but when Michael Tissera was heading
for his century, he sent down a couple of fliers which Tissera countered
Then Hall - The Sportsman sent down a friendly ball which Tissera
dispatched to the boundary to reach his well deserved century.
In Ceylon (Sri Lanka) he scored 44 runs in 40 minutes with his
approach, hitting across the ball and getting away with it.
In the classic tied Test in 1961 at Brisbane he took 9 for 203, and
bowled the last over with six runs were needed for victory with three
wickets left. He took one wicket, dropped a crucial catch, and there
were two run-outs.
Against India in 1961-62 he grabbed 27 wickets at 15.74 and in 1963,
partnered by Charlie Griffith, he blasted England into defeat. At
Lord's, in another epic finish, he bowled unchanged for three-and-a-half
hours and took 4 for 93 (as well as breaking Colin Cowdrey's arm). In
1964-65 his 16 wickets were instrumental in guiding West Indies to their
first series win over Australia, but by the time he toured England in
1966 the signs were there that he was on the wane.
He retired, along with his partner Griffith, at the end of the tour
of Australia and New Zealand in 1968-69. An immensely popular man, he
played two seasons for Queensland and the bulk of his career with
Barbados (although that amounted to 13 matches in 15 seasons) with a few
appearances for Trinidad in his twilight years. In retirement he became
an ordained minister as well as a Minister of Tourism and Sports in the
Barbados government. He also managed West Indies touring sides and in
2001 took over as president of the West Indies Board.