Former West Indies batsman Andy Ganteaume has died aged 95. The Trinidad and Tobago and West Indies batsman, who played just one Test, passed away peacefully at his home in Santa Margarita on Wednesday.
Ganteaume was West Indies’ oldest living Test cricketer, and the world’s second oldest, behind South Africa’s Lindsay Tuckett.
Ganteaume scored 112 on Test debut against England in 1948, but never played for West Indies again. He had added 173 for the first wicket with George Carew, who had hit a century of his own, in the first innings of that drawn match at the Queen’s Park Oval. Ganteaume did not get a chance to bat in the second innings and therefore became the only player to finish with a batting average of over 100.
Ganteaume, however, had a longer first-class run – 50 first-class matches over 23 seasons making 2785 runs, including five centuries, at 34.81 – playing as often as his work in the Trinidad Civil Service would allow. Having had no formal coaching, he made his first-class debut for Trinidad a few weeks after his 20th birthday in 1941 and, batting at No. 8, stroked 87. In 1957, he toured England with West Indies but did not make the playing XI for any of the Tests.
When Ganteaume turned 95 last month, the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) hailed the landmark by labelling the former player a “stalwart” and a “patriot”, as it cited his contribution to the game.
“He is one of the stalwarts in Trinidad and Tobago and West Indies cricket. We must always remember the contribution of the pioneers and forefathers of our game,” WICB president Dave Cameron said at the time.
“We salute Andy Ganteaume, one of the patriots of our great game. His most memorable performance on the field is his 112 – and that will forever be a famous performance in our history. Andy has also contributed a lot off the field as well, especially with the development of our cricket.”
“He has contributed immensely to the game in the Caribbean as a wonderful player and administrator.” In addition to his one Test, Ganteaume also played 50 first class games, scoring 2785 runs at an average of 34, with five centuries. Following his playing career, he also served as a selector and the West Indies team manager. He was also an avid footballer, representing the Colts FC and Maple FC of Port-of-Spain.
In one respect Andy Ganteaume, a diminutive wicketkeeper-batsman, eclipsed even Don Bradman. Whereas Bradman ended his career with a Test average of 99.94, Gunteaume’s was 112. On his Test debut, against England at Port-of-Spain in 1947-48, he scored 112 and yet he never played for West Indies again. West Indies had a formidable batting line-up around this time – it was the era of Walcott, Worrell, Weekes, Sobers, Kanhai, Rae, Stollmeyer and Gomez – and there were suggestions that he slowed down when nearing his hundred, possibly costing West Indies the chance of victory.
(CMC and espncricinfo)