Barbados, as the locals would say is 166 miles long and one smile wide, a gem in the Caribbean Sea. It is renowned for its stunning beaches, vibrant culture and extraordinary contribution to the cricket world.

The ongoing T20 World Cup final will be hosted here on June 29.

This small island nation has produced many cricketing talents whose names are etched in the annals of the sport`s history. An all-time XI of Barbadian cricket greats paints a vivid picture of the island`s rich cricketing heritage.

Desmond Haynes and Gordon Greenidge

Opening the innings for this illustrious team would be Gordon Greenidge and Desmond Haynes, one of the most successful opening pairs in cricket history. Greenidge, known for his aggressive yet classical batting style, and Haynes, famous for his consistency and technique, formed a partnership that laid the foundation for many West Indies victories. Their exploits on the field brought pride not just to Barbados but to the entire Caribbean. Indian cricket teams have been at the receiving end of their onslaught on many occasions.

Sir Frank Worrell, Sir Everton Weekes and Sir Clyde Walcott (right) on the 1957 tour of England

Next in the batting order is Sir Everton Weekes, a member of West Indies cricket`s legendary Three Ws alongside Sir Frank Worrel and Sir Clyde Walcott. Weekes was celebrated for his remarkable ability to score runs elegantly and efficiently. His record of five consecutive Test centuries is testament to his prowess.

Walcott was a force to be reckoned with. His powerful batting and reliable wicketkeeping skills made him an invaluable asset to the team. But his contribution extended beyond personal achievements; he played a pivotal role in establishing the West Indies as a dominant force in world cricket, a legacy that continues to this day for the islands.

Worrell, the first full-time black captain of the West Indies cricket, was a charismatic leader and a brilliant batsman. His captaincy inspired his teammates and united the Caribbean nations, fostering a sense of pride and unity. Worrell`s leadership was instrumental in transforming the West Indies into world champions.

At the heart of this team stands the legendary Sir Garfield Sobers, the greatest all-rounder in the history of cricket. Sobers`s versatility was unmatched. He could bat, bowl, and field with extraordinary skill. His monumental 365 not out against Pakistan in 1958 remained a record for the highest individual score in Test cricket for over three decades. Sobers`s ability to single-handedly change the course of a match made him a cricketing icon, a player whose name is synonymous with greatness. I once spoke with Greg Chappell and he told me, “Sobers could hit any ball anywhere on the ground at will. He had that unique ability.”

Sir Garfield Sobers. Pics/Getty Images

Seymour Nurse, known for his stylish and aggressive batting, adds further depth to this formidable line-up. Nurse`s performances were often marked by flair and elegance, making him a crowd favourite.

Malcolm Marshall

The bowling attack of this Barbadian XI is nothing short of fearsome. Malcolm Marshall, Joel Garner, Wes Hall, and Charlie Griffith form a quartet that would strike fear into the hearts of any batsman. Marshall`s ability to generate pace and swing with his signature angular run-up and his strategic insights made him one of the greatest fast bowlers ever. With his towering height and pinpoint accuracy, Garner was virtually unplayable on his day.

Joel Garner

Pace-like-Fire Hall`s athleticism was a sight to behold, while Griffith`s fiery spells added another dimension to the attack. Their run-up to the wicket itself was quite mesmerising.

Who would be my spinner alongside Sir Garry on a turning pitch, a pundit would rightly ask. I’d say Sir Frank and he would be handy with some left-arm spin.

Seymour Nurse 

This team aptly represents the rich cricketing tradition of Barbados, an island that, despite its small size, has produced more all-time batsmen and bowlers than any region anywhere in the sporting world.

The cricket grounds of Barbados, from the iconic Kensington Oval to the grassroots clubs scattered across the island, have nurtured talent that has left an indelible mark on the sport. The legacy of these 11 players is a source of immense pride for Barbadians. Their stories are interwoven with the history and culture of Barbados, reflecting the island`s enduring passion for cricket.

Dr Nilesh Mehta is a Chicago-based Indian surgeon