Desmond Haynes (left) said that Gordon Greenidge would have made a dangerous opener in T20s © Getty Images
Desmond Haynes formed a great opening partnership with Gordon Greenidge when West Indies were at the pinnacle of world cricket. Haynes believes that he would have enjoyed Twenty20 (T20) cricket, and that Greenidge would have been fantastic at it. Nishad Pai Vaidya caught up with Haynes on the sidelines of the Caribbean Premier League (CPL), where he is a mentor with the Barbados Tridents.
Desmond Haynes is one of the greatest opening batsmen in the history of the game. In partnership with Gordon Greenidge, he formed a lethal combination at the top and was an integral part of Clive Lloyd’s world beating West Indies team. He is currently the mentor of the Barbados Tridents at the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) 2014. Barbados Tridents prepare to face Guyana Amazon Warriors in the final of the CPL 2014.
In an exclusive chat with CricketCountry, Haynes talks about T20 cricket, its impact, his foundation and a lot more.
CricketCountry (CC): What has been your experience at CPL as a mentor? What has that role brought about for you?
Desmond Haynes (DH): It has been a great experience. My role as mentor is to ensure that I assist in any way possible and to discuss how to play the shortest version of the game. I didn’t play T20 cricket, but have been very successful as a one-day cricketer. I know what it is to play the short version of the game and believe that the guys are learning from my experience and used it to the best of their abilities. You’ve got this Barbados Tridents side with some young Barbadians, who would have heard of me and know my role, and you have the internationals as well. So far we have had a very good relationship and that is also because of some good work by our coach here, Robin Singh.
CC: What has been the secret to Barbados Tridents’ consistency through the CPL 2014?
DH: Last year, when I was coach, we started by winning four or five games, but we didn’t do very well moving towards the end. But this year, we have been more consistent at the back-end of the tournament. I think it is because of Kieron Pollard’s captaincy as well. He is one guy who would try a lot of things on the ground. He has shown great leadership and hopefully, I would like to see him being the captain of the West Indies at some stage.
CC: We hear that you have started a foundation. What do you wish to do through that?
DH: It is the Desmond Haynes Foundation and the aim is to raise enough money to help two young players finish their college or university education. They would obviously have a little bit of a cricketing background and one hopes, if they are successful, they come back and make a contribution to the foundation in years to come. My aim is to make sure I raise enough money through any appearances etc. I am trying to find people who can donate funds to the foundation so that we can get two young Barbadians with a cricketing background to go and finish their education.
CC: Would you have been keen to play the T20 format? How would you have adjusted to this game?
DH: Oh, certainly! I did have the opportunity of playing a few games in England (10 and 30-over encounters for Lashings XI), though one or two were rained out. The way I used to play, I believe I would have been a handful in T20 cricket. If you can play the shorter version of the game and you open the batting, it is a lot easier. In T20 cricket, batting early on gives you more opportunities than batting in the later part of the line-up.
CC: When one-day cricket came about, did you find it difficult to adapt to the shorter version?
DH: No, it was never difficult for us. We came at a time when one-day cricket was played during a Test series. For example, when we toured Australia, we used to play one Test match and then two fifty-over games followed by a Test match and so forth. It was a situation where if you were smart enough, you should be able to adapt.
CC: What about T20 cricket and its impact?
DH: Yes, you have to give credit to the guys who play the modern game. The likes of Pollard, Chris Gayle and the other great T20 players, you’ve got to give them credit as they’ve played it very well. The other impact I see in modern cricket is the fielding has improved. That was because of T20 version. It has helped improve the game overall in some aspects.
CC: How much of an impact has limited-over cricket had on opening the batting in Test cricket? In recent times, you’ve had attacking openers like Matthew Hayden and Virender Sehwag to name a few.
DH: Yes it is how you adapt. I don’t think T20 cricket would have interfered with anybody with the way how they play Tests. This is because in Tests for example if you have the ball moving around, you have more time to be patient (to get in). But, now if you have a Test match where you have to chase 300 odd, there is a possibility that the teams would get it given the way they play T20 cricket these days.
CC: You formed a great opening partnership with Gordon Greenidge. How would you have seen the pair of you don that role in T20 cricket?
DH: I think Gordon Greenidge would have been a fantastic T20 cricketer. Imagine, you got Gordon and myself opening the batting and then Viv (Sir Viv Richards) coming at No 3 — that would be a good batting line-up. I think we would have adapted properly. And then Clive Lloyd to come. Batting in the first few overs, you can play some good cricket shots. I think West Indies would have been a very good side.
(Nishad Pai Vaidya is a Correspondent with CricketCountry and anchor for the site’s YouTube Channel. His Twitter handle is @nishad_44)