George Headley

At 60.83, George Headley holds the third highest Test batting average behind Sir Donald Bradman and Graeme Pollock.

b. May 30, 1909, d. November 30, 1983 – Panama
Played cricket for West Indies

Compact and beautifully balanced

Born in Panama in 1909 Headley was taken by his mother to her birth place of Jamaica for an English education. He immediately embraced the game and at 20 made his debut for the West Indies against England in the first Test match played in the Caribbean and scored 176. He announced his genius with 703 runs at 87.87 in the four Tests and he never failed in four series against England and one with Australia in the decade from 1929.

The first black captain of the West Indies and the first West Indian to score a Test century in England, in 1939 he scored a century in each innings at Lord's. Compact and beautifully balanced he was predominantly a back foot player and had an unlimited range of strokes which he placed precisely. He was alternately known as the 'Black Bradman' and 'Atlas', for he carried the West Indies' batting upon his broad shoulders. His rate of scoring Test centuries was second only to Bradman.

'For the decade (during the 1930s), Headley was the first West Indian picked everywhere, the other ten players were almost an irrelevance.' Gideon Haigh
'He was very proud of the West Indies and the West Indies should be proud of him because he put them on the map.' David Frith

The Stats

  • Tests
  • 22
  • Batting Stats
  • Aggregate: 2,190
  • Highest Score: 270*
  • Centuries: 10
  • Average: 60.83

The West Indies have thrown up a disproportionate number of superb cricketers given its size and modest population. George Headley is arguably the best batsman and was certainly its greatest pre-Second World War West Indian player. In an era when his team-mates frequently crumbled Headley maintained West Indian pride with skilled and resolute performances.

Did you know?

George Headley only played in 22 Tests, but was top scorer for his Team on 15 occasions. Of all players with 2,000 or more runs, Headley holds the record. In 37.5% of his innings he was top scorer (better even than Bradman with 29 out of 80).

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