Hubert Lawrence, Gleaner Writer
From a sporting perspective, Jamaica's 50th anniversary had almost everything.
There was pomp and ceremony and an upsurge of patriotism. Black, green and gold was everywhere. Surprisingly, there haven't been any calls for Jamaica to break away from the West Indies.
Those calls were prevalent a few years ago and you might have expected Jamaican cricket separatists to be making their case with energy born of the zest for Independence. Apparently, they don't have enough of a foothold to fight tradition. The timing couldn't be worse. The recent victory in the World T20 Cup would muzzle any anti-West Indies dissident.
It hasn't stopped me from wondering who would make an all-Jamaica Test team ... and who wouldn't. Given that nearly 70 Jamaicans have played Test cricket, it's bound to give the selectors nightmares.
A look at the numbers and the history of the West Indies makes it a little easier. The left-handed pair of Chris Gayle and Allan Rae go to the wicket first, Chris armed with two Test triple centuries. His partner played only 15 Test matches, but earned the reputation of being dependable, with a 46.18 Test average.
George 'Atlas' Headley bats one down with his 60.83 Test average and topscore of 270. The man born in Panama is one of cricket's finest batsmen of all time.
If we can briefly forgive Lawrence 'Yagga' Rowe his South African transgression for this flight of fancy, he bats at number four.
Lest you think of him as a two-hit wonder because of his 214 on Test debut against New Zealand in 1974 and his 302 against England in Barbados in 1974, note that his average is a respectable 43.55.
Like Headley and Gayle, the cerebral Jimmy Adams is a former West Indies captain. His 41.29 average and a Test double century put him in the line-up to buttress a strong position or to steady the ship.
Marlon Samuels is still playing, but already has a Test average of just under 35.
Some say that Jackie Hendriks was a better wicketkeeper than Jeff Dujon, but I'll pick Dujon off his 267 dismissals and his ability with the bat. Dujon outbats the elder statesman 31.94 to 18.62. Don't forget that former West Indies captain Gerry Alexander was a wicketkeeper too.
The bowlers pick themselves. Michael Holding and former skipper Courtney Walsh have nearly 800 Test wickets between them. Holding was a fast bowling assassin in the all-conquering side of the '80s, while Walsh has more Test wickets than any West Indian.
Patrick Patterson took 93 Test wickets, but Roy Gilchrist is my third pacer with his 57 because of his superior economy rate, 2.82 to 3.57 for 'Patto'.
Alf Valentine spun his way to 137 wickets and provides the variety to our attack. Gayle and Samuels are part-time bowlers and could help out.
Some excellent players are on the all-time sidelines.
Did the selectors err in omitting West Indies captain Alexander, Maurice Foster, Hendriks, Wavell Hinds, Brendan Nash, Patter-son, Collie Smith and spinner Nehemiah Perry?
For the time being, here's the HL all-time Jamaica cricket team: Gayle, Rae, Headley, Rowe, Adams, Samuels, Dujon, Holding, Valentine, Gilchrist and Walsh. Doesn't look right? That's what you get when a track fan picks a cricket team.
strong barbados team
We'll never know for sure, but our all-time team would have formidable regional opposition. Barbados would be brilliant. The Bajans have Sir Gary Sobers, the three Ws - Sir Frank Worrell, Sir Clyde Walcott and Sir Everton Weekes; Gordon Greenidge and Des Haynes, Conrad Hunte, Seymour Nurse, Charlie Griffith, Wes Hall, Malcolm Marshall and Joel Garner. It's a dream team.
This three-match series would be played at Lords for the UK-based Windies fans who roared their approval during the 1984 'Black-wash' series, at Queen's Park Oval and at Sabina Park.
How would the Atlas and Chris fare against Hall, Griffiths, Marshall and the Big Bird? Would 'Val' bamboozle the Bajan middle order? What about the battle between Sir Gary and the 3Ws and 'Cuddy', 'Mikey', 'Gillie' and 'Val'? Would Sir Frank out-captain Headley? The Barbadians have an edge but in sport, you never really know.
Hubert Lawrence has covered sports since 1987.