23rd February 2014
Wagging the Tail – lower order contributions
Last Wednesday, the morning after this week’s Mason & Guests show, I got a call from Steven Leslie, Manager of the CCC. We’d both been on the show the previous evening:
DO: “I recognise that voice! What can I do for you, Steven?”
SL: “Hi, David. I heard you do that brief piece last night marking Keith Arthurton’s birthday. We’re making a presentation for him on Sunday. Can we use that piece as a citation?”
DO: “Of course you may. But it was very brief. Would you like me to flesh it out for you? When do you need it for?”
SL: “Yes please! If you don’t mind. Ideally we need it for tomorrow when we leave for Antigua.”
DO: “I’ll get it to you today.”
And here it is:
“Friday, February 21st is the 49th birthday of Keith Arthurton, who was only the 3rd Test cricketer from Nevis, after Elquemedo Willett and Derick Parry.
“For the West Indies, Keith scored 1,382 runs at over 30 in his 33 Tests, including 2 centuries: 157 not out v Australia in Brisbane in 1992 against an attack of Craig McDermott, Bruce Reid, Merv Hughes & Greg Matthews; and 126 v England at Sabina Park in 1994, off Devon Malcolm, Andy Caddick, Alan Igglesden and Chris Lewis – an innings described at the time as both ‘brutal’ and ‘majestic’ – and which rescued West Indies from 23-3 in a stand of 144 with Brian Lara.
“Keith also took a notable test scalp – dismissing Australia’s Greg Blewett in Jamaica in 1995.
“Keith played over a hundred one-day internationals for the West Indies, scoring just under 2,000 runs & picking up 42 very useful wickets with his slow-left armers.
“This was all in addition to his outstanding fielding in the covers.
“Keith scored over a thousand 1st-class runs in 1995, on West Indies’ tour of England – scoring 3 centuries & averaging 56.68. And when in the Test Matches the BBC’s radio commentator, Henry Blofeld kept mispronouncing Keith’s surname as ‘Atherton’, Tony Cozier responded in kind by referring to England’s captain as ‘Michael Arthurton’.
“At his best, Keith’s bat was as broad as his smile – and on one occasion too broad! Playing for a WI Board XI v the Australian Tourists at the Kensington Oval in 1991, Australia’s Dean Jones challenged the legitimacy of Keith’s bat which looked just TOO wide. When it was measured, it was indeed found to be remarkably a quarter of an inch too broad. Both sides laughed off the incident.
“Keith’s last game was in 2000, the Red Stripe Bowl Final that year – and he left the game with over 10,000 top-class runs to his credit; a 1st-class average above 45, with 19 centuries, including a highest score of 200 not out for the MCC against a Pakistani touring side who’s attack included Shoaib Akhtar & Azhar Mahmood; he took over a hundred top-class wickets, and took in excess of a hundred catches – and who knows how many run outs from the covers.
“Thank you, Keith Arthurton.
“And happy birthday!”