Alvin Kallicharran was one of the pivots of the West Indian batting line-up through the 1970s. In an international career from 1971-72 to 1980-81, the diminutive Guyanese left-hander scored 4399 runs at 44.43 in 66 Tests, besides 826 runs at 34.41 in 31 ODIs. He also enjoyed a distinguished domestic career, with most of his first-class and List A matches coming for Guyana at home and Warwickshire on the county circuit.
The 1984 season was Kallicharran’s 14th in succession for Warwickshire (he would go on to represent the county till 1990). Though he was out of favour for the West Indies, he kept performing well in domestic cricket; he also played for Transvaal in South Africa from 1981-82 to 1983-84. A particularly impressive county season in 1982 earned him the honour of being named as one of the five Wisden Cricketers of the Year.
In the 1984 NatWest Trophy (the limited-overs knockout competition), Warwickshire were drawn against minor county Oxfordshire at Edgbaston in the first round on 4th July. They were captained by Bob Willis, who was in the final lap of his illustrious career and would announce his retirement from all cricket a few days later. Also in the Warwickshire XI were Dennis Amiss, Chris Old, Gladstone Small and Norman Gifford.
David Smith and Robin Dyer opened for Warwickshire after Willis called correctly. Smith was joined by Kallicharran at 33/1, and the pair added 197 for the second wicket before the former was out for 101. The hapless Oxfordshire bowlers bore the brunt of Kallicharran’s blade for the best part of the innings, as he put on a further 58 for the third wicket with Amiss and 78 for the fifth wicket with David’s brother Paul Smith (41*).
Kallicharran was fifth out at 371 for an astounding 206. Unfortunately, the number of balls faced and boundaries hit by him are not known. This was only the third instance of a batsman scoring a double century in List A cricket, after Graeme Pollock’s 222* for Eastern Province against Border at East London in 1974-75 (a record until 2002) and Alan Barrow’s 202* for Natal against an African XI at Durban in 1975-76.
The previous highest List A score in England was Graham Gooch’s 198* for Essex against Sussex at Hove in 1982. The previous highest for Warwickshire was Kallicharran’s own 141* against Somerset in 1982. His 206 remains the highest List A score for the Bears, with Nick Knight and Sam Hain having been the only others to have crossed 150. It was also the only List A double hundred by a West Indian batsman until 2014-15.
Warwickshire’s final total read a mammoth 392/6 (still their highest) from 60 overs, with two Oxfordshire bowlers suffering the ignominy of conceding over 100 runs. This created a new record for the highest List A total, going past the previous mark of 378/5 set by Transvaal against Griqualand West at Kimberley in 1977-78, and remained the record until 1990, when Worcestershire scored 404/3 against Devon at Worcester.
Willis struck with the score at zero, before Mike Nurton (45) and Geoffrey Ford (62) shared a second-wicket stand of 102. Kallicharran was far from done though. He bowled off-spin occasionally during his career, which brought him 84 first-class wickets and 42 List A wickets. As if being at the receiving end of his batting was not enough, Oxfordshire soon fell prey to his most productive bowling performance as well.
Kallicharran jolted the Oxfordshire middle and lower order, returning figures of 6/32 from 12 overs. Oxfordshire managed to bat out their overs but could only manage 165/8. In the second round, Warwickshire won by 103 runs against Shropshire, before riding on Kallicharran’s 101 to beat Surrey by 110 runs in the quarterfinal. A six-wicket defeat to Kent in the semifinal ended their campaign, even as Kallicharran (86) shined again.
Of the 29 batsmen who have scored a List A double hundred, Kallicharran is the only one to have taken three wickets in the same match, making his 206 and 6/32 the most incredible all-round performance in List A history from a statistical viewpoint. The only other instance of a century and six wickets in a List A match came in 2005, when England’s Paul Collingwood scored 112* and took 6/31 against Bangladesh in an ODI.