In almost a century and a half of Test cricket at Lord’s, only one man has scored a hundred for both home and away teams and had their name inscribed in the Honours Boards in both dressing rooms.
That the man is Gordon Greenidge should perhaps be no great surprise. While Greenidge was born in Barbados and played 108 Test Matches for West Indies, his cricket career really began with Hampshire. Greenidge moved to Reading at the age of 14 and was spotted by Hampshire while playing for Berkshire Bantams. He made his debut for Hampshire Second XI aged 16 in 1967 and three years later stepped up to the first team, making his debut against a Sussex team which included fellow Barbadian (but no relation) Geoff Greenidge.
By 1974, he had become one of Hampshire’s most consistent batsmen and had formed a brilliant opening partnership with South African Barry Richards. That year he made his best innings yet, 273 not out against the touring Pakistanis, an innings he confessed to playing with a blinding hangover. He was 23 years-old and had now made more than 1,000 first-class runs in four consecutive seasons. He had ten first-class centuries under his belt. He was eligible to play for England. But having now played the last two seasons of Shell Shield cricket for Barbados during the English winter, he accepted an invitation to tour India with the West Indies Test side, scoring 93 and 107 on debut in Bangalore. Even without the benefit of hindsight, it would be hard not to agree with the wisdom of his decision.
By 1987, Greenidge had been at the pinnacle of world cricket for over a decade. He had formed an opening partnership with Desmond Haynes that was spoken of in the same breath as Jack Hobbs and Herbert Sutcliffe. MCC’s five-day Bicentenary Match at Lord’s that August would have been a poorer affair without him. Playing for MCC against the Rest of the World, Greenidge made 52 in the first innings, then in the second with his team looking for quick runs to set up a declaration, he scored 122 in five hours, striking 12 fours and two sixes and sharing a partnership of 135 with Graham Gooch. His innings set the match up for what should have been a dramatic final day, if only the rain hadn’t intervened.
When the Honours Boards were installed in the Pavilion dressing rooms at Lord’s in 1992 some eyebrows were raised at the inclusion of the Bicentenary Match, which was not an official Test. But it was played out over five days between many of the finest players in the world; Greenidge made his runs against an attack comprising Imran Khan, Courtney Walsh, Kapil Dev, Abdul Qadir and Roger Harper. It is somewhat fitting that a man who had to choose between the home and away dressing rooms should end up with his name inscribed in both.