John Goddard (cricketer)

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John Goddard
JDC Goddard.jpg
John Goddard in 1950
Personal information
Born(1919-04-21)21 April 1919
St Michael, Barbados
Died26 August 1987(1987-08-26) (aged 68)
London, England
BowlingRight-arm medium
Right-arm off-break
International information
National side
Test debut(cap  56)21 January 1948 v  England
Last Test24 August 1957 v  England
Domestic team information
1936/37 - 1957/58 Barbados
Career statistics
Competition Tests First-class
Runs scored8593,769
Batting average 30.6733.35
Top score83* 218*
Balls bowled2,93110,295
Wickets 33146
Bowling average 31.8126.33
5 wickets in innings 14
10 wickets in match00
Best bowling5/315/20
Catches/stumpings 22/094/0
Source: CricInfo, 30 May 2019

John Douglas Claude Goddard OBE (21 April 1919 – 26 August 1987) was a cricketer who captained the West Indies in 22 of his 27 Tests between 1948 and 1957.


Early life and career

Goddard was born in Fontabelle, Saint Michael, Barbados, into a family that controlled one of the leading trading companies in Barbados. [1] He was a younger brother of the writer, lecturer and mystic Neville Goddard. He attended The Lodge School in Barbados, where he excelled at cricket, soccer and athletics. [2]

He played for Barbados from 1936–37 to 1957–58. A middle-order batsman, he scored five first-class centuries in his career, all for Barbados in the period from 1942–43 to 1946–47, when in 12 matches he made 1219 runs at an average of 67.72. His highest score was 218 not out, against Trinidad in 1943–44, when he and Frank Worrell added 502 in 404 minutes in an unbroken partnership for the fourth wicket. [3] He captained Barbados from 1946–47 until his retirement.

Test career to 1950

He made his Test debut in the West Indies' first series after the Second World War, when England toured in 1947–48. Goddard played in all four Tests, taking over the captaincy in the Third and Fourth Tests. His medium-paced off-spin bowling was more successful than his batting (he ran through the England top order in the Third Test to take 5 for 31, [4] and in the series took 11 wickets at 26.09 and made 122 runs at 24.40) but it was in captaincy that he excelled. The first two Tests had been drawn, but under Goddard West Indies won the last two easily. After the Third Test, Wisden announced that West Indies had "discovered a really efficient captain"; [5] after the Fourth Test it spoke of his "inspiring leadership" and called him "a great captain". [6]

He led the West Indies in 1948–49 on their first tour of India, winning the five match series 1–0. Wisden noted: "The West Indian team found great inspiration in the leadership of Goddard, whose sound judgment and circumspection were attributes that counted so much for the success of the tour. A talented player and expert tactician, he commanded the respect of his men and so got the best out of them." [7] He made 190 runs at 47.50 and took 9 wickets at 39.00 in the series.

The 1950 tour of England was a triumph for the West Indies. In their three previous tours of England they had never won a Test match – this time they won the series 3–1. Wisden commented: "A heavy responsibility falls on any touring captain, and Goddard with his strong personality showed ability to control his men both on and off the field. All of them had the utmost faith in him ... there can be no question that the flourishing state of cricket in the Caribbean to-day is partly due to his shrewdness and leadership." [8] Goddard made only 106 runs at 26.50 batting at number eight, and bowled only 74.4 overs in the four Tests, taking 6 wickets at 20.33.

At this stage Goddard had captained West Indies in 11 Tests, winning six and losing only one.

Test career after 1950

Goddard was awarded the OBE in 1951. [9]

The tour of Australia in 1951–52, however, resulted in a 4–1 win to Australia, and the 1–0 victory in the two-Test series that followed in New Zealand was insufficient compensation. Goddard made 182 runs at 26.00 and took 5 wickets at 32.20 in the six Tests he played (he stood down for the Fifth Test, allowing Jeff Stollmeyer to captain the side – to a 202-run defeat).

By this time his captaincy was beginning to arouse dissent. As Australia inched towards a one-wicket victory in the Fourth Test in Melbourne, Goddard argued on the field with Stollmeyer and Gerry Gomez about who should bowl, and Sonny Ramadhin, who had bowled 39 overs and taken 3 wickets, got fed up and walked off the field. [10] After the tour, Stollmeyer, who had been Goddard's vice-captain in India, England, Australia and New Zealand, said that Goddard had received too much credit for the success of the 1950 tour, and that the other senior players of the side had received too little. His comments led to long-standing animosities and divisions in the West Indian camp. [11] Later, when Goddard was picked to captain the team in the tour of England in 1957, Stollmeyer quit first-class cricket for good.

Goddard did not play in the home series against India in 1952–53, England in 1953–54, or Australia in 1954–55, when Stollmeyer was the captain for most of the time. He returned to the side as player-manager of the team to New Zealand in 1955–56, when Denis Atkinson was captain and Stollmeyer did not tour. Playing in the first three Tests of the four-match series, Goddard scored 147 runs for once out, including his highest Test score of 83 not out in the Second Test at Christchurch, when he added 143 for the seventh wicket with Atkinson after West Indies had been 169 for 6. [12] West Indies won all three Tests, then lost the Fourth, in which Goddard did not play.

The 1957 tour to England resulted in a 3–0 defeat in the five-match series. Goddard himself made only 112 runs at 16.00 and took 2 wickets at 64.00. His resolute defence helped the team draw the First and Third Tests. In the Third, West Indies followed on 247 runs behind and were 194 for 6 when Goddard came to the wicket, and he made 61 in 215 minutes in a partnership of 154 with Collie Smith that left England too little time to score the winning runs. [13]

His final tally from 22 Tests as captain was eight wins, seven losses and seven draws.

Apart from his captaincy and his batting and bowling, he was also a fine fielder close to the wicket, "notably at silly mid-off". [14]

Goddard died in London in 1987 while visiting for the celebrations of the bicentenary of the MCC. [15]

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  1. Gideon Haigh, The Summer Game, ABC Books, Sydney, 2006, p. 43.
  2. Keith A. P. Sandiford, Cricket Nurseries of Colonial Barbados, University of West Indies Press, Kingston, 1998, p. 51.
  3. Barbados v Trinidad 1943–44
  4. West Indies v England, Georgetown 1947–48
  5. Wisden 1949, p. 754
  6. Wisden 1949, pp. 758–59.
  7. R. W. Thick, "West Indies in India", Wisden 1949, pp. 795–96.
  8. Norman Preston, "West Indies in England, 1950", Wisden 1951, p. 208.
  9. Sandiford, p. 52.
  10. Alan McGilvray, The Game is Not the Same, ABC Books, Sydney, 1985, p. 130.
  11. Cricinfo story 'Will Chanderpaul go the Goddard way?'
  12. New Zealand v West Indies, Christchurch 1955–56
  13. England v West Indies, Nottingham 1957
  14. Christopher Martin-Jenkins, The Complete Who's Who of Test Cricketers, Rigby, Adelaide, 1983, p. 339.
  15. Wisden 1988, p. 1204.
Preceded by
Gerry Gomez
West Indies Test cricket captains
Succeeded by
Jeffrey Stollmeyer
Preceded by
Denis Atkinson
West Indies Test cricket captains
Succeeded by
Gerry Alexander