Desmond Haynes the Cricketer
In Barbados, on the auspicious day of 15th February 1956, the world was blessed with the arrival of Desmond Leo Haynes, the boy who would grow up to be known in the cricketing world as the “Lion of Barbados“.
Desmond Haynes grew up playing cricket with friends around his neighbourhood of Holders Hill. Right from this early age it was evident that Haynes had an eye for the ball. At school he swiftly proved himself at cricket and was soon playing regionally. In the competitive cricket world that exists in Barbados, Haynes was pushed to excel and in 1976, at the young age of just 20 years old, Haynes was playing for Barbados.
But it was in 1978 that Haynes catapulted himself into the cricket annals of time. In February 1978, on his One Day International debut for the West Indies, Haynes took to the field against Australia at Antigua’s Recreation Ground. With nerves of steel and a steady hand, Haynes roared through to a majestic 148 off 136 balls.
Not only did Haynes’ outstanding performance help secure a fine victory for the West Indies but he also beat two separate records – the highest ever score for a One Day International debut, and the highest ever score at the Recreation Ground in a One Day International – in true testament to Haynes, over three decades later, he can tell his friends and family that he still holds both these records today
Desmond Haynes’ phenomenal achievement on his One Day International debut was a mark of signs to come. The “Lion of Barbados” had his claws firmly fixed on the record books and through the 1980’s he partnered alongside another cricket legend, Gordon Greenidge, for the West Indies; this unstoppable partnership secured another record by hitting their way to 6,482 runs with an average of 44.07, including 16 century stands of which four were over 200. Their batting average has only ever been bettered by the Australian duo Justin Langer and Matthew Hayden who achieved 51.07, although they hit 1,211 runs less.
Desmond Haynes’ career is a legacy to cricketing achievement and whilst playing for the West Indies Haynes, helped them to win the World Cup of 1979, and returned to the competition in 1983, 1987 and 1992. In the 25 World Cup matches, Desmond Haynes scored 854 runs at 37.13 with three fifties and one century.
Towards the end of the 1980’s Haynes played for Middlesex in England and continued to be the lion of cricket there. He played 95 first class games for Middlesex, scoring 7,071 runs at an average of 49.1 with a best of 255 (not out) against Sussex. Haynes was awarded his Middlesex cap in 1989 and he played at Lords until 1994.
Desmond Haynes played his last match for the West Indies in a final showdown against England in 1994, in his home country of Barbados. Haynes finally retired in 1997 and when he hung up his bat, Haynes had hit 17 centuries in One Day Internationals, which at the time was another record.
Since his cricket retirement Haynes has continued to keep involved in cricket and share his knowledge and expertise by acting as Chairman of Selectors of the Barbados Cricket Association, President of Carlton Cricket Club, Secretary of the West Indies Players Association and Senator of the National Sports Council; finally taking his current role as a Director of the West Indies Cricket Board.
Despite keeping busy through his cricketing duties, Haynes can still be found relaxing playing golf or at his home at where else, but Holders Hill in Barbados.
You can read more about Desmond Haynes in his biography ‘Lion of Barbados’.
Author: Brett Callaghan