Clive Lloyd won the toss and asked India to bat first on a batting paradise Antigua pitch. Windies had already won the test series which was marred by weather more often than not. This test was also no exception as two hours were lost due to bad light and rain. India lost Vengaskar just before the stumps as he fell short by a hundred and was dismissed by Marshall. However, his innings gave India some sort of momentum and at the close of the first day, India was 188 for the loss of four wickets.
Shastri and Kapil began the second day cautiously and the duo put on 156 for the fifth wicket to ensure India poses a huge total against the mighty Windies team. Caribbean bowling lineup of Holding, Marshall, and Roberts had no clue to the murderous batting of Kapil who scored blistering 98 off 97 balls. In the meantime, Ravi Shastri also completed his well-fought century. India eventually piled up 457 runs on the board.
The moment of the match came when Windies started their innings. The opening duo of Haynes and Greenidge added the then-record of 296 for the first wicket. Greenidge, who was going through a lean patch and did not score a century since 1977, was looking in all sorts of different forms. They ended the day at 301/1.
Quite surprisingly, Greenidge did not come out to bat on the next day. It was found out later that he had to visit his ailing daughter. Two days later his daughter died and it was unanimously decided that Greenidge should be declared retired not out. He became first and the only batsman to be declared retired not out.
Life confronts us with unexpected challenges. It’s just like a global recession that drives good companies out of business. Our sole motive should be to be strong in adversity. A person with mental toughness faces all the challenges with utmost ease and composure. He is not shaken by grief and sorrow surrounding him. There is a famous extract from a poem which is quite worthy to be mentioned here:
“My heart is blank,
My joy has disappeared,
Anger has become my companion.
The wait is over with a bitter end.
Oh Lord! why does it have to be me?”
Dealing with such a sudden and major loss in one’s life is incredibly painful. In particular, losing someone you love and care deeply. Greenidge was able to take a little time off work but eventually returned to do at which he was best, to entertain us with his artistic batting, raw power amalgamated with brutal force. His mental strength did not allow pain and grief to hold him back from success. Building mental strength is about working toward goals and living according to values, both of which lead to happiness over the long haul.
“We do not heal the past by dwelling there; we heal the past by living fully in the present” – Marianne Williamson
Few days after the unforgettable incident the master returned to his famous territory and started demolishing bowlers with his mighty presence. While playing for Hampshire in the county match he played some of the most incredible innings. He scored a hundred in both innings of the Liverpool test against Lancashire. Just 25 odd days after losing his daughter he scored 116 in the fourth innings to guide his team to victory against Worcestershire during the summer of 1983.
The world cup was just a couple of months away. Greenidge joined the squad for the mega event. He scored 250 runs at an average of 41.66. Most notable of all was his partnerships with Richards, Haynes, and Gomes at crucial junctions of the match. He continued his county stint and kept on scoring heavily. While playing against Surrey he crafted 83 and 154 respectively in each innings. Who could forget his 68 against Kent when all other batsmen crumbled against Derek Underwood and Graham Johnson. Greenidge completed his 15000 runs in the county while playing against Glamorgan and the focus now shifted to test series in India.
After being humiliated by Indians in the 1983 finale Windies were fired up to defeat India in the test series. The very first test Greenidge played at Kanpur he pulverized Indian bowling lineup to register his then highest score of 194. That innings helped Windies to defeat the Indian cricket team by an innings and 83 runs, a sweet revenge of 1983 world cup final debacle.
In the coming 15 months after the unfortunate incident, he amassed 1320 runs in the 15 tests at an astonishing average of 73.33. The season turned out to best one for him. He smashed five centuries with a top-class 214 in the fourth innings against the likes of Willis and Bottom. This remains the highest fourth inning individual score in a successful run chase. Overall in that phase of his career, he scored five centuries including two double centuries. Undoubtedly, Gordan Greenidge was the most successful West Indian batsman in 1984.
When in full flow he reminded us of great Barry Richards. He did everything by the proverbial book and kept on amassing runs all round the world. He is one of the great openers after Conard Hunte Caribbean has produced, the great Windies batsman of 80’s who at times even nosed out Viv Richards and arguably the hardest hitter of the ball. We all are privileged to witness such a great ambassador of our beautiful game.