By Azad Ali
Barbados has declared legendary Barbadian cricketer Sir Garfield Sobers a national hero.
Sir Garfield, who was knighted by Britain's Queen Elizabeth in 1975, was the only sportsman on a list of 10 national heroes announced by the government last week.
Those honored included former Prime Minister Errol Barrow, the father of Barbados' independence.
Sir Garfield, 61, is a former West Indies cricket captain and former world-record bats-man. He was widely regarded as the world's best all-rounder in his heyday.
A hard-hitting, left-handed batsman who could bowl fast, medium and spin and field brilliantly, he played in 93 Tests for the West Indies, scoring 8,032 runs with 26 centuries. He had a batting average of 57.78.
Sir Garfield's record of 365 runs not out in a Test in 1958 at the age of 21 stood unbeaten for 36 years, only to be erased by current West Indies captain Brian Lara in 1994.
Sir Garfield had 235 Test wickets at an average of 34.03 runs.
In a first-class career from 1953 to 1974 he scored 28,315 runs, including 86 centuries and took 1,043 wickets. In 1968, he etched a batting record, striking Glamorgan's Malcolm Nash for six sixes off a six-ball over, which also went down in the record books.
Sir Garfield, who made his debut against England at Kingston in Jamaica in 1954, scored over 500 runs in a Test series on six occasions. He captained the West Indies in 39 Tests between 1965 and 1972.
A versatile sportsman, Sir Garfield represented Barbados in cricket, football (as goalkeeper), table tennis and golf.
Historians say Sir Garfield inspired a host of youngsters to play crickets and have been a role model to thousands of lower income Barbadian boys.