For years they partnered to create a legendary and formidable duo driving terror and trepidation into batsmen across the world, now his nation has seen it fit to knight Charlie Griffith placing him on the same pedestal as Sir Wesley Hall.
Charles Cristopher Griffith was anointed a Knight of St. Andrew in the British tradition to which this former United Kingdom colony still subscribes and bestowed the title ‘Sir Charles’ as his homeland of Barbados celebrated the island’s 51th anniversary as an independent nation last week Thursday.
The honour was been long in coming as Sir Charles’ reign of terror on the cricket pitch had been in collusion with Wes Hall who received his anointing as Knight Bachelor in 2012, earning him the title ‘Sir Wesley.’
For the nine years spanning 1960 to 1969 the now Sir Charles bowled in 28 Test matches, yielding 2,683 runs, taking 94 wickets at an average of 28.54.
But mere statistics do not tell the story.
Griffith’s first game was at the fifth and final Test of the 1959-60 series against England, at Queen’s Park Oval, Port-of-Spain, where he shared the new ball with Wes Hall.
That marked the beginning of a career in which he paired with Hall to wreak devastation on batsmen in a manner that brought pride to the West Indies populace, most of who were still under the yoke of colonialism and needed something or someone to look to and assert for themselves a place in this world.
“We were like brothers,” Griffith has said of his years with Hall. “We roomed together and spent a lot of time discussing how to get different batsmen out. We learned by asking questions.”
The Griffith and Hall Stand at Kensington Oval today stands in testament to the friendship and partnership in devastation that the two inflicted for the West Indies.
Known for his devilish bouncer and deadly yorker, Griffith sent one of his missiles into the head of Indian batsman Nari Contractor during a home match at Kensington Oval in 1962.
Contractor had to be rushed to hospital where he underwent life-saving surgery.
Griffith reportedly later said he felt like quitting the game after seeing the damage to Contractor whom he visited in a Barbados hospital.
Through the encouragement of friends and fans he persisted with the game and the following year recorded his most successful Test series on a tour of England.
The power-house Griffith captured 32 Test scalps at an average of 16.21 runs.
After leaving cricket and managing a lumber firm until his retirement, Griffith is now a business consultant
“In recognition of his contribution in the area of sport, with special reference to cricket, entrepreneurship, leadership and business development,” read the citation for the honour bestowed on this Caribbean legend.
Born on Dec. 14, he becomes 79 years old Thursday, and this knighthood would certainly add to the celebration for a man who made West Indians stand as tall as his six feet three inches frame.
And, while formerly known as a terror to batsmen, as of Nov. 30 that would be Sir Charles for you.