Recap: When West Indian Fast Bowlers Played in the Ranji Trophy

Asked this question at a quizzing forum. Good info, I think, so am sharing this again here:

Q.There were four of them. One was a quiet guy, who had a startling debut to his international career. Another was an apparent madman. The others turned out to be of a more academic vein, and after their cricketing days got over, one became a finance and accounting professional, and the other got into healthcare. What innovative cricketing experiment were the four of them a part of?

Lester King, Roy Gilchrist, Chester Watson, Charlie Stayers. The four West Indians who played in the Ranji Trophy in 1962-63.

The apparent reason to get the West Indian fast bowlers was to improve the Indian batsmen’s ability against genuine quicks. While that purpose was not achieved until recently, the four of them performed well. Lester King (who had previously taken five wickets in the first four overs of his Test debut, opening the bowling) played for Bengal. Roy Gilchrist played for Hyderabad, Chester Watson (who later became an accountant) for Delhi, and Charlie Stayers (the would-be healthcare professional) for Mumbai, for whom he took a six-for (and nine in the match) in that season’s Ranji final. I remember having read an interview of Pankaj Roy many years ago, when he described a heated exchange before the Quarter finals between Hyderabad’s Gilchrist (rather predictably) and Bengal’s King. Both took five-fors in the first innings. The match, though, was decided by Pankaj Roy’s centuries in both innings.


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