Monday, June 25, 2012

The Knight from Barbados: Former West Indian Cricketer Wes Hall.

"Remember Wes, if you ball a no-ball, you'll never be able to go back to Barbados!"

Those were the words of West Indies cricket captain Frank Worrell, who was also originally from Barbados, before Wes Hall balled what was to be the last ball of the epic tied test cricket match against Australia. With two balls to be balled, Australia had one run to get with one wicket in hand. Hall made sure he did not ball a no-ball and the match ended with a run out.

Born in Barbados on September 12, 1937, Wesley Winfield Hall is almost 75 years old. He was one of only 9 people chosen to be created Knight Bachelor by Queen Elizabeth II in the Queen's Birthday Honours on her diamond jubilee year.

At his prime, in late 1950s and early 1960s, many a batsman must have trembled when Wes Hall ran up to ball at them. At 6'2, he was quite a giant. Despite using a long run up, Hall was known for his stamina. Once in a test match against England at Lord's, he balled unchanged from one end for 200 minutes.

Beginning his career in a tour of India and Pakistan in the 1958-59 series, Wes Hall became the first West Indian bowler to take a test cricket hat-trick at the third test with Pakistan. He and fellow Barbadian bowler Charlie Griffith created havoc in many test matches with their pace bowling until mid 1960s. Eventually, his age caught up with him and his performance level suffered. He retired from test cricket in 1969 and from first class cricket in 1971.

Known to be a good humoured man, Hall was a very popular cricketer during his playing years. After retirement, he engaged in social activities and in the 1980s he got involved in Barbadian politics. Appointed to the Senate, he was elected to the House of Assembly from the Democratic Labour Party (DLP). The DLP won the election and formed a government and Wesley Hall was appointed Minister of Tourism and Sports in 1987. Wes Hall was reelected to the Assembly in 1991. He is credited with developing the sports tourism of Barbados while serving as the Minister of Tourism and Sport. For his achievements, Hall was endowed with the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Caribbean Tourism Organization.

For two years from 2001, Wes Hall was the Chairman of the West Indies Cricket Board and in that capacity was instrumental in attracting the 2007 World Cup to West Indies.

Wes Hall is also ordained a minister in the Pentecostal church. With his knighthood, he will be known as Reverend Sir Wesley Hall.

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