Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here

Home > Features > Moments in history >

Junior Murray: One of West Indies’ wicketkeepers who tried to fill the void left by Jeffrey Dujon

Junior Murray © Getty Images
Junior Murray © Getty Images

 

Junior Murray, born on January 20, 1968 came through Caribbean cricket stables during their terminal decline. He had his share of bright moments, but eventually faded away from the scene. Bharath Ramaraj has more.

 

Ever since the retirement of legendary Jeffrey Dujon, West Indies have struggled to unearth a fine stumper-cum batsman. In the 1990s, Junior Murray from the tiny Island of Grenada was one of those who tried to fill the gaping hole left behind by Dujon, albeit with not much success. He showed flashes of brilliance with the bat and that odd fine catch behind the stumps won him praise, but was too inconsistent. His wicketkeeping was gawky on most occasions and eventually, was jettisoned from the team.

 

All those years ago in 1987-88, when Barbados still had the likes of Joel Garner, Malcolm Marshall and Virbert Greene playing for them, Murray made his debut and played couple of games for Windward Islands in the Red Stripe Cup against their formidable foes. It was baptism by fire for the wicketkeeper against a quality side, and unmistakably, he struggled to come to grips against Barbados.

 

In fact, until the 1991-92 season, he was lampooned as one of those also ‘ran in’s the domestic circuit. But during that season, he engineered a remarkable turnaround by raking up runs and averaging close to 48 for Windward Islands. There were still question marks lingering over his wicketkeeping though.

 

Actually, his fine season with the bat helped Murray to be picked up for the series against Australia, Down Under in 1992-93. After David Williams‘s rather indifferent form in the first two Tests of the series, Murray made his debut at Sydney Cricket Ground in the third Test (SCG). Other than being witness to the Prince of Trinidad, Brian Lara‘s sublime batsmanship, he didn’t have much to do in a high-scoring game.

 

It was during the see-saw battle at Adelaide in the fourth Test that Murray scored runs in adversity. His knock of 49 in the first innings on a deteriorating track is hardly mentioned, but those runs proved to be worth its weight in gold in a low scoring thriller.

 

Junior Murray played for the Windies in the 90s, majorly because of lack of competition © Getty Images
Junior Murray played for the Windies in the 90s, majorly because of lack of competition © Getty Images

However, Murray reached noteworthy crusts only in 1994-95 when West Indies toured India and New Zealand, respectively. His rousing charge against India’s spin troika in a losing cause at Mumbai in the first Test of the series in 1994 is one to remember. Next up on the cards, his one and only century at Basin Reserve, Wellington against New Zealand, when he clambered a hapless pace attack gave hope that at least West Indies might have found a decent batsman. He was still prone to making too many errors behind the stumps. But with Courtney Browne and Williams around, he was always going to struggle to cling onto his place. In the series against Australia in 1995, Glenn McGrath took a liking to bowling to Murray. The wicketkeeper-batsman poked and prodded outside his off-stump, and it was a sorry sight to watch Murray going down to giving nice and easy catching practice to slip fielders.

 

Browne replaced him for the final Test match of that series at Kingston, Jamaica. Even on the subsequent tour of England, both Murray and Browne were fighting for the wicketkeeper’s slot. With just one fifty to his name since that century in New Zealand in 1995, Murray’s days as West Indies‘ No 1 wicketkeeper seemed to be numbered. Finally, South Africa‘s battery of pacers exposed his lack of technique to the hilt in 1998-99 and he was dropped. It shocked everyone when he was recalled from the wilderness for the Test match against India at Port of Spain, Trinidad in 2002. But that turned out to be the last time he wore the white flannels for West Indies.

 

On a few occasions in One-Day Internationals (ODIs), he did make a name for himself with the willow in hand. One of his better knocks came while batting at top of the order against the famed Pakistan attack made up of Waqar Younis, Wasim Akram, Saqlain Mushtaq and Mushtaq Ahmed at Adelaide in 1996. His calculated pyrotechnics helped West Indies to crush Pakistan in that game.

 

It can be argued that Junior Murray played for West Indies in the 1990s, mainly due to a lack of confluence of talent coming through the Caribbean system. But Murray can be proud of the fact that he did play international cricket and that is something most of us can only dream of.

 

(Bharath Ramaraj, an MBA in marketing, eats, drinks and sleeps cricket. He has played at school and college-level, and now channelises his passion for the game by writing about it)

Indian T20 League 2014

Apr 24, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Sharjah

Indian T20 League 2014

Apr 25, 2014 (16:00 IST)   at Dubai

Indian T20 League 2014

Apr 25, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Dubai

Indian T20 League 2014

Apr 26, 2014 (16:00 IST)   at Abu Dhabi

Indian T20 League 2014

Apr 26, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Abu Dhabi

More

Indian T20 League 2014

Apr 23, 2014  at Dubai

Chennai Super Kings won by 7 runs

Indian T20 League 2014

Apr 22, 2014  at Sharjah

Kings XI Punjab won by 72 runs

Indian T20 League 2014

Apr 21, 2014  at Abu Dhabi

Chennai Super Kings won by 93 runs

Indian T20 League 2014

Apr 20, 2014  at Sharjah

Kings XI Punjab won by 7 wkts

Indian T20 League 2014

Apr 19, 2014  at Dubai

Delhi Daredevils won by 4 wkts

Photos

CSK vs DD, IPL 2014 Match 8 at Abu Dhabi

Videos

IPL: Tanmay Mishra talks shows the contents of his kit

IPL 2013: Chris Gayle’s monumental 175 against Pune Warriors India

Who else but Shakespeare on the World Book and Copyright Day?

IPL 2013: Shane Watson’s scintillating century against Chennai Super Kings goes in vain

John Small — The first man to use a straight bat

IPL 2014: Dwayne Bravo’s absence a major blow for Chennai Super Kings

Chennai Super Kings Delhi Daredevils Glenn Maxwell India IPL IPL 7 IPL 2014 Kings XI Punjab KXIP vs SRH KXIP vs SRH 2014 MS Dhoni Rajasthan Royals RR vs CSK 2014 Sanju Samson Sunrisers Hyderabad

IPL 2014 set to break all records

Saleem Malik hits out at PCB for not reviewing his life ban

IPL 2014: Ravindra Jadeja says he enjoys bowling after Chennai’s win over Rajasthan

David Miller believes three consecutive wins in IPL 2014 ‘phenomenal’ for Kings XI Punjab

Ravindra Jadeja’s all-round show helps Chennai Super Kings trump Rajasthan Royals by 7 runs in IPL 2014 tie

Sachin Tendulkar: Why he remains my favourite cricketer

Sachin Tendulkar: How he made me fall in love with cricket

Sachin Tendulkar: The child, the father, but sexy? Not quite

Meg Lanning, Arran Brindle and other women cricketers who have led at a younger age than ther male counterparts

IPL 2013: Chris Gayle’s monumental 175 against Pune Warriors India

Fan of the Day

Suraj Gowda

Suraj Gowda

622 Posts | 7 Fans

Video Highlights: Virat Kohli's 77 during India vs Sri Lanka ICC World T20 2014 final at Dhaka

Google Street View now lets users go back in time

Amazon takes on Flipkart, offers self service registration to sellers

Bahrain expels envoy of Shiite Ayatollah Sistani

Sachin Tendulkar: How he made me fall in love with cricket

Now an ICU in your home — at a much cheaper cost!

Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) vs Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), Live Cricket Score, IPL 2014: Match 11 at Sharjah

Is Cameron Diaz planning holiday for Gwyneth Paltrow?

BJP trying to take political mileage out of disaster: Rawat

Also on cricketcountry.com