Learie Constantine was West Indies one of the best all-rounder of his time
Learie Constantine was West Indies one of the best all-rounder of his time

Born September 21, 1901, Learie Nicholas Constantine can be considered as the most respected West Indies player of his time. Constantine made his Test debut in June, 1928 against England at Lord’s. He picked up 4 for 84 in the first innings. Constantine left us on July 1, 1971 at an age of 69 years and 283 days. Constantine has played 18 Tests and scored 635 runs at an average of 19.24 and taking 58 wickets. His Test figures do not do justice to the talent he possessed and with the intensity that he played the game. He has only four half-centuries in Tests. Though, it is to be noted that these statistics are from West Indies cricket’s early days.

However, his First-Class figures were more impressive that the Tests. Constantine has 4,475 runs from 119 games and taking 439 wickets. He was the grandson of a slave, his grandfather’s name is Lebrun Samuel Constantine. The West Indies player has the record of being first ever cricketer from his country to hit a hundred on English soil. His brothers Elias and Oswald also played cricket. However Elias played 21 First-Class games, the matches Oswald played were not given First-Class status.

Constantine has been described as an all-rounder who could bowl with a great deal of pace. Not only he performed with the bat, but was one of the best outfield fielders of his time throwing himself at the ball. He also became the first Nelson batsman to score over 1,000 runs in a single season. He was also named as High Commissioner in 1961 and knighted the next year. Eight years later he was made the first peer.

Constantine shares his birthday with two more West Indian greats— Curtly Ambrose and Chris Gayle.