Larry Gomes is a former West Indies cricketer, born on 13th July 1953 in Arima, Trinidad. He was primarily a left-handed middle order batsman for the strong West Indian side of the 1980’s. Even today, Larry is remembered as being the solid but sedate batsman coming into bat at number three amidst the powerful hitters of the side.
Larry Gomes was part of the West Indies Schoolboys team which toured England in 1967. He made his first-class debut for Trinidad in 1972. Soon after his debut, Gomes established himself as one of the key members of a relatively weak Trinidad side in the later part of the 1970’s. From 1973-1975, Gomes was part of the Middlesex team. He could never establish himself for the English county team but it was due to his familiarity with English conditions that he was picked for the West Indies team to tour England in 1976.
Gomes’ Test debut soon became an occasion to forget for him. He made it at the Nottingham test match and was dismissed for a duck on a pitch where Viv Richards made 232. To make matters worse for him, he scored another duck in the next Test match at Lord’s after scoring 11 in the first innings. As a result, he lost his spot. Gomes made his ODI debut against Australia at Castries in 1978 and scored 7. He was then dropped from the ODI team too.
Gomes returned to the West Indies team after several stars departed to play in the World Series cricket. He announced his comeback by making 101 against Australia at Georgetown in 1978. Gomes’ run of form against the Australian bowlers continued to the last match of the series in Kingston, where he scored 115 to rescue his side from 63/5. One of the splendid knocks made by Gomes was against England at Birmingham in 1984. He made 143 and shared a 206-run partnership with Viv Richards to help the West Indies take a huge lead. West Indies won the test match and Larry’s knock set the tone for the series. However, the most important knock of Larry’s career arrived later on in the series at Leeds where he scored an unbeaten 104 after all of Greenidge, Haynes, Richards and Dujon went without scoring much. He put on 82 runs for the 8th wicket with Michael Holding to help his side take the lead. The English could never recover from the knock and ended up losing the Test.
An unknown weapon in Larry Gomes’ armory was his bowling. It is said that Gomes would have bowled a lot more and taken many wickets had he belonged to some other side.
Being in the team with the best fast bowling quartet of the era meant bowling opportunities came quite sparingly for him. Despite of that, Gomes took 41 wickets in ODI’s at an average of 25.48.
Larry Gomes was named as one of the Wisden Cricketers of the Year in 1985. He has a stadium named after him at his native in Trinidad. The stadium was opened on 15th May 2001 and was one of the venues for the FIFA U17 World Cup, hosted later the same year.
Gomes retired from all forms of the game in 1987. He played his last Test match against New Zealand at Christchurch. He scored 8 and 33. After retirement, he served the Trinidad team on a coaching role. He was also the coach of the Canada cricket team during the 1997 ICC Trophy in Malaysia.