By I KhanYoung West Indies opening batsman and Sagicor High Performance Centre graduate Kieran Powell has joined the company of some of the most illustrious and legendary names in West Indies cricket. With his scores of 117 and 110 against Bangladesh, Powell became the 9th West Indian to have scored a century in each innings of a Test match.
The other eight are George Headley, Sir Everton Weekes, Sir Clyde Walcott, Sir Garfield Sobers, Rohan Kanhai, Lawrence Rowe, Gordon Greenidge and Brian Lara.
Is this feat the clearest indication yet that Powell has virtually ascribed for himself iconic status in West Indies cricket by the time his playing days are over? From the achievements of those who have gone before him, it would appear that he has done himself no harm. While Powell shies away from publicly discussing his personal goals, there can be little doubt that he prefers to let his willow speak on his behalf. And spoken it has.
Those who have followed his career from the junior level will know that he is not unaccustomed to scoring hundreds and indeed big hundreds. At the very tender age of 9, Powell scored a century against Anguilla in the longstanding Government of St Kitts and Nevis Under 13 Competition. Then on his First Class debut in 2008 against the Combined Campuses and Colleges he announced himself with 85 and 99. That match could have been playing on his mind as Powell showed intent on not getting out before the triple figure mark against the Bangladeshis.
After an impressive start to his career, will he be able to continue to chart his way upward in the annals of West Indies Cricket history?
When the Nevisian left hander reached the century landmark in the second innings of the First Test in Dhaka, it was the 11th occasion a West Indian achieved the feat, as Headley and Walcott had, twice recorded centuries in both innings of a Test.
Headley scored 114 and 112 against England at Bourda, in Guyana in 1930 in just his 3rd Test then, nine years later in his 17th Test did the double again (106 + 107) at the home of cricket – Lord’s.
Walcott had a bumper run fest of a series in 1955 in the Caribbean when he achieved 126 and 110 against Australia in Port of Spain in April then added 155 and 110 in June at Sabina Park in Kingston, Jamaica.
The second W of the famed triumvirate – Weekes – seven years earlier in Calcutta amassed 162 and 101 against the Indians as part of his world record five centuries in a row.
While Powell is the first player from Leeward Islands to have achieved the feat, there have been four Barbadians – Weekes, Walcott, Sobers and Greenidge. The others consist of two Jamaicans (Headley and Rowe), a Guyanese (Kanhai) and a Trinidadian (Lara).
Greenidge could have topped the list as he came close to doing it on a total of four other occasions while Lara narrowly missed out twice.
In his debut Test, Greenidge made 107 and 93 against the Indians in Bangalore then in 1977 he made 100 and 82 against the Pakistanis at Sabina. In that same series he fell agonizingly for 91 and 96 at Bourda and three years later in New Zealand he again had double nineties – 91 and 97.
Lara made 91 and 122 against Australia in his hometown in 2003 and the following year made 115 and 86 against the South Africans at Capetown.
Rowe leads the pack in terms of those who scored twin centuries earliest in their career. He marked his arrival on the international stage with his 214 and 100*. Headley is next on the list, having scored the double in his 3rd Test. They are followed by Weekes (7th Test), Greenidge (10th Test) and Powell (12th Test).
Powell, at 22 years old, is the third youngest West Indian to have accomplished the twin centuries as Headley and Sobers recorded their tons at 21 years of age.
Powell’s centuries come 11 years after Lara’s masterful performances in Colombo in 2001 which followed a 25 year drought for the Windies in this department.
Powell’s partner at the crease in the first innings, veteran Guyanese legend Shivnarine Chanderpaul, came close twice. In 2004 he scored 128* and 97* at Lord’s, then this year, returned to the same hallowed ground to fall painfully close for 97* and 91.
List of West Indies Players who scored centuries in each innings of a Test
George Headley: 1930 v England, Georgetown (114 + 112); 1939 v England, Lord’s (106 + 107)
Sir Everton Weekes: 1948 v India, Calcutta (162 + 101)
Sir Clyde Walcott: 1955 v Australia, Port of Spain (126 +110); 1955 v Australia, Kingston (155 + 110)
Sir Garfield Sobers – 1958 v Pakistan, Georgetown (125 + 109)
Rohan Kanhai – 1961 v Australia, Adelaide (117 + 115)
Lawrence Rowe – 1972 v New Zealand, Kingston (214 + 100*)
Gordon Greenidge – 1976 v England, Manchester (134 + 101)
Brian Lara – 2001 v Sri Lanka, Colombo (221 + 130)
Kieran Powell – 2012 v Bangladesh, Dhaka (117 + 110)
Kieran Powell Fact File
1990: Born, March 6
2006: Regional debut for Nevis in Stanford Twenty20
2008: Member of the West Indies Under 19 squad for World Cup in Malaysia
2008: First class debut v CCC in Nevis
2009: ODI debut v Bangladesh in St Kitts
2009: Joined first batch of West Indies Sagicor HPC
2011: Test debut v India in Dominica
2011: Graduated from West Indies Sagicor HPC in Barbados
2012: Scored first Test century v New Zealand in Antigua
2012: Becomes 9th West Indies to score a century in each innings of a Test
Interesting Kieran Powell facts
– On his First Class debut Powell scored 85 and 99
– Opened the batting with England player Craig Keiswetter when the two were at Millfield School in the UK
– As a 16 year old in 2006, hit his first ball in the Stanford Twenty20 Tournament for an imperious six
– Older brother Alan played for Leeward Islands Under 15 and Under 19